It goes without saying – healthy eating without exercising is not an effective way to transform your health. Not only is exercise vital for mental well-being, it’s also critical for disease prevention. The risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis and type two diabetes have all been proven to dramatically lower with healthy physical activity levels.
Unfortunately, modern living is driven by technology rather than physical activity. The sedentary nature of life and work for many people means activity-quotas go unmet. The unfortunate reality is that this does not only apply to adults, but children and adolescent’s too with their lifestyles being shockingly couch driven.
People, no matter their age, need to find ways to get moving and incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. As with any lifestyle change, there is no promise of it being easy or enjoyable at first but, with consistency and patience you can learn to love exercise and crave the endorphin rush in no time.
1. Make time to exercise
At the beginning exercise should be scheduled just as a meeting or appointment would be. Each week, block out what physical movement you will do each day and when you will do it. Approach these times as you would an appointment – they are a non-negotiable time slot that must be attended.
2. Do what you enjoy
Hate running? That’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to not enjoy every aspect of exercise. Explore different options, whether that be boxing, barre or biking, to find your bliss. There are countless forms of exercise worth exploring.
If you’re not a fitness fanatic just yet, an intense HIIT workout or an hour-long run probably won’t be enjoyable. Make simple connections between the things you enjoy and who you can work towards consistent movement such as, taking your dog for a walk, kicking a ball around with your children or walking them to school.
Exercising outside is also a great way to find enjoyment. When moving outside you get the added bonus of Vitamin D along with the calming power of the natural environment and its healing properties.
3. Don’t do it alone
Lack the motivation to get started? Try group exercise. Classes are a great way to get motivated and remain accountable. Having someone encouraging and participating alongside you makes it considerably easier to get started and find your feet. Encourage your partner or a friend to begin the exercise journey alongside you.
4. Explore your “why”
Before you put your exercise plans into motion, take some time to explore why you have previously avoided exercise. For people suffering with obesity, no matter the age, it is common to see an avoidance of all forms of exercise and a resistance to doing it at all costs. If you think you and your family are ready to get moving, you need to explore the origins of your previous resistance first.
You’ll also benefit from reminding yourself of why you’re making these changes in the first place. Whether it be for your own health, a promise to a friend, for your partner or your children.
Inspire your children
As a parent you are incredibly influential on your children’s perception of everything – including exercise. By vocalising your negative relationship with exercise, it is natural your children will adopt the same negative perception. Just as they will adopt mirrored perceptions, parents must remember their role model status. It is your job to lead by example and exemplify a healthy, active lifestyle.
Whilst exercise may not be physically or mentally easy straight off the bat, it will be rewarding for your long-term health and can become enjoyable over time. Even better than this, you can encourage your children to transform their life alongside you. With consistency and accountability, you and your family’s journey to loving exercise can be successful.