Learn to Love Exercise
To have optimal and lifelong health truly is a marathon, definitely not a sprint. It's so important that we listen to our bodies when creating a workout that we will love. It won't be easy, and may take some self-love and experimenting to find what fits for you.
So, how do you find long term success that takes exercise from something you HAVE TO DO, to something you LOVE DOING?
My journey with this hasn't always been easy. I have never been an athletic person by nature, and have always found getting to the gym so hard. I also haven't had the easiest time finding what style of of fitness my body really responds well to. But, I have found what works for me physically and mentally. It actually helped me get healthier and shed some extra pounds in the meantime.
So here's what helped me:
1) Set Your Intention. (Hint: This is a HUGE factor.)
Usually the main intention that people set when they start working out is weight loss. But, studies have shown that exercise actually benefits the overall quality of our lives. Regular activity reduces the body's inflammation levels as well as the chance of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Studies have also shown it enhances immune response, serves as a mood booster and alleviates depression symptoms. That right there, that is what it definitely does for me. 30 minutes of yoga in the morning, sets my tone to be in my happy place, while I see patients all day. Whether you plan to exercise more for the physical or mental benefits, long-term success starts with your reason. Usually my intention for my workout revolves around feeling good mentally and physically afterwards. Then I ask myself, what form of exercise will help me achieve that for the day? Listen to your intuition!
2) Get Started. Checklists are helpful when it comes to inspiring sustainable change. Make sure you're healthy enough for exercise by scheduling a physical. Choose an activity you actually like doing. Take yoga, train for a race or simply experiment with walking daily. Having a friendly competition with coworkers will also keep you motivated, as will using a journal or device to track progress.
3) Stay Focused. It's easy to fall out of habit when you're overwhelmed. Research shows that when you set that bar WAY TOO HIGH, it can result in reduced motivation. Maybe avoid taking on too much at first - start a gradual process. Set measurable, attainable goals. Start small - try devoting 15 minutes a day to getting your heart rate up. Maybe try 10 minutes of yoga at first. Or maybe spend 15 minutes walking. Remember that maybe two sets of push-ups along with 100 jumping jacks are better than sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Begin with what you know you can handle, and what exercises you respond to. Just know you can do it, and grow from there.