Last week we discussed some guidelines to exercise. The overarching goal is to aim for 3x/week, 10-20 minutes each time. Whether you are already meeting this goal or you have just started to exercise, this week we are going to talk about what it means to start small when it comes to exercise. First, here are three steps guaranteed to help you start and stick with exercising:
- Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. Exercising doesn’t need to be for hours on end, nor does it have to be activities you hate. ANYthing is better than NOthing. In fact, adding in just a little bit of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health. To get the physical results, yes, we will need to push it a bit more. But if you do so, remember:
- Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. Don’t beat yourself up about your body or your fitness level. This will only lead to you feeling unmotivated. Recognize that you have room for improvement and that now is your time to finally meet your goals. While doing so be sure to:
- Check your expectations. You didn’t get here overnight and you’re not going to get to where you want to be overnight either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration and often times will cause you to give up. Instead of focusing on results, focus on consistency. You may first see improvements in your energy levels or your mood before you see a drop in pant size. And that’s okay!
How to Increase Your Activity:
- Start small and build momentum. So whatever you are doing, find ways to increase both your daily activity levels and your exercise amount. But not in huge amounts. In our challenge for this week, we will discuss more what this means.
- Make it automatic. How? With triggers. Triggers are just reminders that start an automatic reaction. Think of it like like when a dog sees you grab their leash- they know it’s time for some activity! So how can you do the same for you? Maybe you make exercise be something you always do right after work. Or you might wake up and go for a walk. To help with this trigger, set up another one- set out your workout clothes in the morning. Think about what will work for your schedule.
- Choose activities you like! If you are miserable for your entire workout, that form of exercise isn’t for you. Don’t choose what you think you should do, but what fits your lifestyle and preferences!
- You can also reward yourself. Not with food (food should never be an award for anything), but with things that reward you for the actual activities. Something small like a hot bath at the end of the week or something bigger like after a month of regular exercise, you get a massage! Trained for and ran a 5k? Maybe it’s new running shoes! Make it go with the activity, not against it.
Week 2 Workout
Workout Link (16:00 workout)
Starting Small: Increasing Activity Challenge
Why It’s Important: There’s always ways to improve, but they don’t always have to be huge improvements. Small steps always lead to BIG changes!
Your Challenge: This is a two-part challenge:
Part 1: Find ways to be more active during the day. This week find ways to get up and move around at least once an hour. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from entrances. At your kids’ sports, go for a walk while they practice. Instead of calling or emailing your coworker, walk over to their office. Walk around your office while you take a phone call. When you are home and watching TV, every commercial break stand up and move.
Part 2: Increase your weekly exercise amount in some way. Whether that is the number of days or the time you are doing it, it doesn’t matter. So if you usually go for a 10 minute walk, go for 12-15 minutes. If you do these walks 3 days a week, try for a fourth one. Take two daily walks with your dog instead of one. Whatever it is- choose one way to increase the activity that fits your schedule.