How To Start An Exercise Habit When You Are Really Unfit
You know that you want to start exercising but you just can’t seem to muster up the strength to go from couch to working out or you hate exercising, even just the thought of it and you just keep putting it off. T0day I wanted to share with you some ideas and tips on how to start an exercise habit when you are really unfit and how to make your new habits sustainable.
You see often we think exercise has to look a certain way and when we have this perception it can often lead us down the path of constantly putting it off. My goal instead is to help make this process easier, to help you bring more exercise and movement into your life in a simple way.
First of all, before you even think of exercise or working out, it’s important to bring more movement into your life and the way we start with this is simply walking more. Walking is amazing not only for your physical health but also your mental and emotional health. The ideal aim is to try and build up to 10,000 steps per day as a daily foundation and see if you can think of standing more throughout your day. You see your body responds to the environment it is in day in and day out. So if you spend the majority of your day sitting, it will begin to affect you. This doesn’t mean you have to throw in your desk job, please don’t do that! What it does mean however that you want to think differently about how you spend your day.
How do you spend your hours outside of work?
Is it doing more sitting or are you active?
You see our body thrives off movement, it needs it to be more energized and to help pump oxygen around your body. When we sit, we get stagnant, lethargic and lifeless. Instead, when we move we become energized and alive because our lymphatic systems get pumped, our blood gets moving and oxygen gets delivered to our cells. This doesn’t have to be done with an intense workout to start with, it can all be done with simply moving more in your day.
Ask yourself, how can you move or stand more in your day?
- Maybe its walking to work or part of the way?
- Maybe its walking meetings or walking catch ups with friends verses meeting for coffee.
- Maybe its using a standing desk for parts of your day or doing phone calls standing up.
It all adds up, the simple act of standing burns 50 calories per hour more than sitting, it also helps strengthen our body, keep our core engaged and prevents poor posture.
To get yourself started, be sure to check out my article A Beginners Guide To Starting Exercise, this is a step by step guide designed to get you started in a sustainable and achievable routine.
When you have got this foundational of movement in place and maybe you already do, it is then time to add the layers in to build more wellness into your life.
The next step is resistance training, this is what helps build our muscle strength, keep us toned and also helps to build energy and not to mention improve your bodies ability to burn body fat. It can begin with body weight exercises and in the beginner’s guide I mentioned above I have a great 5 minute routine to get you started with at home. The key with fitness is to make it part of your life, to make it achievable and sustainable. The more it fits into your lifestyle to more likely you are to do it.
So get yourself started with these simple steps and here are some other great reminders to help you along the journey.
1. Build a foundation of movement first
Start by walking more, aim to get 10,000 steps per day and build up to this until its just part of your everyday life and routine.
2. Begin with simple steps
Start with 5 minutes. It could be a 5 minute walk down the road, a short 5 workout like here some stretching or yoga. Or even just committing to taking the stairs at work. Don’t over think it. Think of bringing activity into your day and more movement. Then make that happen each and every day. There will be days when you do more and days when you only do 5 minutes. The key is to just do it. Make the time to make this new habit just happen.
2. Get some comfortable workout gear
You don’t need to go out and spend loads of money, but you do want to be comfortable. So make sure you have the gear to move comfortably in. Then every evening before you go to bed, put that workout gear out so it is super easy to put on first thing in the morning. That way you are half way there.
3. Get some great music
Now that you have got your workout gear on, and you are up into your day. Turn up some great music to get you into the mood. Trigger the brain that its time to exercise. Then get into it!
4. Plan an ideal week
Plan when you are going to exercise, what you are going to do and what time each day you are going to do it. Then block out that time, make the workout happen at the time you have allocated. No excuses. Knowing that you are just doing 5 minutes means you cannot use no time as an excuse.
After each workout, write down what you did. Record it down, write down how you feel. If you walked, how far did you walk? If you did weights, what weights did you lift?? These little things are milestones and moments that are going to keep you going. Take a photo, use it as a tool to inspire you, take your waist measurements. There is nothing like facts to keep you on track. Be measurable and be accountable.
6. Train outside at least once a week
Get outside and train. Fresh air and working outside takes all the benefits of exercise to a whole other level. There is nothing better than working out outside. Get some sunshine on you skin, or some rain on your back. Face the elements at least once a week and feel the benefits of it.
7. Meet a friend for a walk at least once every 2 weeks
There is nothing like accountability. Meet a friend for a walk or to workout. Make appointments with people and instead of catching up over coffee, catch up for a walk instead.
8. Stand more
Our bodies aren’t designed to sit all day! So include more standing into your day, take phone calls standing, talk to people standing. Get your body used to standing more often. You posture, back and energy will thank you for it.
9. Figure out your why
Why do you want to be fitter and healthier? Write it down. When you know your why and you know why you are committing to exercise, you can push through the excuses and mental chatter and JFDI!
Building our fitness up is one part of the wellness equation and in order to create long term wellness I created a simple easy to understand philosophy. Download my free guide to get yourself started and get to know what the Wheel of Wellness is all about.