How To Actually Make Exercising A Part of Your Routine
Spring is already here and summer is around the corner, and you know what that means: beach-body shaming As a society, we are inundated with messages about getting “summer ready” and getting a “beach body”- and this pressures a lot of people to start punishing, intensive workout plans and diets.
But what if you didn’t have to get on the hamster wheel of “getting back into shape”? Sounds great, right?
The key is to make movement a consistent part of your life . This doesn’t mean making “working out” a daily, grinding routine. I am sure you have all heard before and have found it extremely difficult to keep up with. The secret? If you can exercise for reasons other than weight loss, you might find it much easier, and more enjoyable, to exercise. It is all about your mindset- you are much better off going on a walk outside 4-5x a week versus taking a challenging workout class only once every few weeks because you dread it.
We have talked on this blog before about mindful and intuitive eating: where after practicing for a while and becoming in tune with your body, you can get to a place where you want to choose healthier options for food. This is because you understand the benefits, instead of forcing yourself to eat salad in order to lose weight. This is a very similar mindset shift with exercise. Changing exercise from something you “have” to do into something you want to do is a lot easier when you exercise for reasons other than weight loss.
A key point to realize is that movement is so much more than a vehicle to negate your calories- it is a stress reducer, a mood regulator, it even helps you sleep better! Consistent movement can also help you achieve lots of other goals– like keeping up with chasing around your toddler, or alleviating back pain from sitting at your desk all day.
Additionally, what makes movement something you can actually stick to is if it is something you enjoy. Exercising does not have to mean running 5 miles, or taking a challenging HIIT class 7 days a week, or lifting heavy weights (even though there is nothing wrong with these things!). It can be anything from dancing in your living room, to gardening, yoga, or going on a walk outside.
When you stop thinking about exercise as purely a method to change the shape of your body, it gives you the freedom and flexibility to do what you enjoy. You can challenge yourself to an hour long spin class if you feel like it, or go on a bike ride with a friend instead. When you enjoy something, you are much more likely to do it often. The next time you find yourself dreading your next workout, think about a type of movement you would like to do instead. This will keep you active all year long.