Exercise … to some, it’s one of their favorite parts of the day; to others, it’s like clockwork, they don’t necessarily enjoy it, but they’re in the habit of doing it; to others, it’s a loathsome requirement that they steer clear of entirely. So, as you can see, there are a lot of differing opinions about and feelings toward exercise. Sadly, despite its importance for overall health and wellness, many people do not exercise.
Exercising regularly provides benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health. It can put you in a better mood, help you sleep, give you more energy, improve your complexion and provide many other benefits. Additionally, probably the most popular benefit of exercise is weight loss. Exercise can help you increase muscle mass and decrease your body’s excess fat storage.
Now, most likely you probably already know and agree that exercise is good for you. But, that said, do you exercise? If not, are you able to identify the reason why? Maybe the idea of, or your experience with, exercise thus far has not been very fun. If that’s the case, consider testing out a different form of exercise. Maybe you’ve tried group classes and didn’t like it, but you would love lifting weights on your own or with another person. Or, maybe you’ve always thought of exercise meaning that you have to run or do burpees. Definitely not! A brisk walk outside, a bike ride, tennis, a Zumba class or some time on your favorite machine at the gym works great, too.
The key to long-term exercise is finding something that you like. And, it’s important to start at a reasonable level for you. Don’t kill yourself that first time back at the gym and then not want to go back. No doubt, you will probably be sore, but if you’re getting back to working out for the first time in a while, remember that the fitness level you were at before is probably not where you’re at now, which is okay!
It’s better to start small and increase the difficulty over time, than to start with something to complex and end up giving up early because it was too hard. There are lots of people that get really excited about a new exercise video or routine, but ultimately, they don’t stick with it long-term because they don’t actually enjoy it. So, start with something that challenges you, but is still manageable. Then, as time passes, your endurance, strength and your interest in exercise will likely grow enabling you to crush goals, lift heavier weights and do more challenging workouts. That said, you might be the type of person who can dive into a difficult form of exercise, love it and then do it long-term, but that’s not really the norm.
Additionally, if you’re really looking to make a change and get back into exercising or start for the first time, you may want to consider setting up some sort of accountability. Think about joining a class that you attend regularly and/or find a friend who also wants to workout and keep each other accountable. You don’t actually have to work out together either, although it can be helpful to have someone who expects you to show up at the gym even when you don’t feel like it; this could be a friend who lives across the county or the world that you message with about your progress. Having some accountability can be really nice because the truth is that sometimes it’s hard to get ourselves motivated on our own.
Ultimately, exercise is super important for overall wellness. If you’d like to start enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, find activities that get you moving, you like and you can do for the long run. That could mean going for a half hour walk on your lunch break or after work. Or, it could mean attending a HIIT class. Just remember, exercising doesn’t have to look one certain way; find what you like, or at least what you can stick with, and start seeing the benefits.
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