Repeat after me: Exercise is fun!

Exercise is a bit of a dirty word for many of us. Lots of us have gym memberships we don’t use and feel guilty about, or we know we should exercise but we don’t, or we have intentions of getting out there but we’re so busy it just doesn’t happen.

I get that.

All the above are a problem when the exercise you intend to do isn’t something that fits with your lifestyle or personality. What should be fun and enjoyable becomes a source of guilt and failure, and we end up feeling worse about ourselves than if we just sat on the sofa with a family-sized bag of corn chips.

The answer to exercising regularly begins with being honest with yourself.

If you hate gyms and work long hours, a gym membership probably isn’t going to work for you.

Likewise, if you intend to start swimming but it’s a long way to the pool and it’s always busy, that probably won’t work either.

You need to start with an honest assessment of yourself and your lifestyle. Some good questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I self-conscious about my body and what it is currently capable of? If this is so, maybe stripping down to a swimsuit or wearing tight-fitting workout clothes at a gym isn’t right for you.
  • What can I afford to spend? If your budget is stretched, joining an expensive sport (horse-riding or golfing spring to mind) may not work for you.
  • What free time do I have? If you work from 8 am to 6 pm every day, fitting in a sport might be difficult.
  • Where are my energy levels right now? Despite what you hear, regular exercise will probably tire you out at first, especially if you’re not used to it.
  • Will I actually DO it? The smallest, lightest exercise tat you actually DO is always going to get better results than a full-on exercise you intend to do but never actually do.

SO WHAT THEN?

I think the best exercise you can get are movements like walking, gardening and small weights you can use at home.

A small set of hand weights costs about the same as one weeks’ gym membership. Walking to work (if you’re close enough) or getting off the bus a stop early and walking the est of the way home can actually save you money. Gardening has its own rewards outside of fitness.

In my case, I walk. I leave my office at lunch time and get in a walk, and I sometimes walk to work, which is about half an hour of exercise as well. I walk to our local shops when I just have to buy a few items, and I walk around town when I’m there. I usually grab the car park that is furthest from the door, and take the stairs instead of the elevator, and that gives me extra movement too.

I also do some weight bearing exercise at home with my own set of dumbbells.

Whatever you decide, be realistic ad assess it regularly. If it isn’t working – for whatever reason – try something different.

It doesn’t matter how much you move, as long as you’re moving more.