“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. If you don’t move your body, your body will make you better at not moving. If you move, your body will allow you more movement”Ido Portal
I love this quote. It sums up a fundamental reason why we should be moving our bodies. To protect our bodies from disease and keep them strong and functional so we can be as fit and healthy for as long as possible.
It would be wonderful if we had all been active since childhood, balancing out a good mix of CV, strength and flexibility exercise. This is unrealistic.
For so many of us exercise isn’t a continuous part of our lives. Sometimes we may be motivated to move and throw ourselves into an exercise program (think January NY resolution time). Sometimes we have no motivation and don’t move for months.
This is all perfectly normal. The key things to remember are, it’s never too late to start or restart and that even the smallest amount of movement will have a positive impact.
It is difficult to get back into the swing of moving though, so if you’re inactive, there are some things you can do get moving again. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It won’t help and just fuels any negative connections with exercise.
Here are my five top tips for injecting movement into your life:
1 – Focus on your intrinsic reason for exercise
How does it make you feel? Does it boost your mood? Give you more energy? Help you focus? This is proven to be more motivating and help build consistent exercise into your life than a long term goal such as weight loss or good health. If you want more energy for the day ahead, grab those running shoes and get outdoors.
2 – Find a friend – create sociable exercise
Combine a social experience with exercise! It’s much more enjoyable and keeps you accountable. It’s a win win. If you’re meeting a friend for a coffee make it a takeaway and go for a walk instead.
3 – Find movement you enjoy
If you don’t like the gym don’t go, find an alternative. What do you enjoy, use that as your start point. If you want to be outdoors try running, an outdoor fitness class or even join a sports team.
4 – Reframe exercise
Any movement is exercise it doesn’t have to be formal ‘exercise’
Walking is a great place to start and being as active as possible in your daily life. You’ll have heard it before, but small things like taking the stairs instead of the lift all adds up to have a positive impact on your health. Try and fit movement into your everyday life. If you’re stuck at your desk all day why not take a movement break every hour? Stretch, grab a coffee and re charge.
5 – Start with one step forwards and build on it. It’s so important to have a realistic goal, don’t set yourself up for failure.
Say to yourself ‘This week I will go for one walk or jog’ and build from there! Next week add a yoga class or a family game of badminton.
Creating or rediscovering your fitness mojo.
Pick one of these things and take action NOW. Pick up a phone and arrange to meet a friend for a walk or set a timer on your phone to get up from your desk for a movement snack every 90 minutes.
Remember the quote above. Envision a future where you are older but active, mobile and strong. Where you can be independent, physically active and run after your grandchildren. It really is never too late to start. Remember, every little really does help.
Carole Dowling is the Founder of The Enjoy Movement a personal training and fitness business in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Carole has 10+ years’ experience of working with women, breaking down barriers to exercise that have been created over lifetimes. Her mission is to positively encourage everyone, particularly ‘exercise haters’ to enjoy and embrace moving their bodies for life and to celebrate all the wonderful physical and mental benefits that brings.
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