The results are in and they say we’re not getting enough exercise! Even with the knowledge that regular exercise reduces stress, improves sleep, and boosts your health we’re just not moving as much as we should.
It’s the eternal struggle. We all want to be more active, but the pattern I see over and over again is incredible motivation for about a month before an inevitable crash and return back to old routines. What’s not easy, and what we need to do, is build ongoing, long-term habits that become part of your life.
Fortunately, I have the secret formula on how to integrate more exercise into your life: maximising convenience, fun & effectiveness.
How easy is the activity? Does it require a lot of setup or equipment, do you have to pay for a membership? Does it require a lot of travel? Make it as easy as possible for yourself to do the thing, whatever it is!
How enjoyable the exercise in itself? You have to enjoy the activity or you’ll never do it! There has to be some intrinsic motivation to get you moving otherwise it’s just more work.
How strenuous is the exercise you’re actually doing? At the end of the day, I consider this the least important of the three, because I believe it’s more important to build habits and get moving before actually trying to get the most out of each activity.
Now that we have the basic idea, we can explore some actual activities and how we can rate them individually:
Great fun, great exercise but very inconvenient (long travel and waiting for favourable conditions)
Walking in a circle
You can do this anywhere, but it’s mostly boring and not very strenuous
Great exercise, pretty accessible, but could be more interesting
Playing with my dogs
Very fun, very accessible but not very strenuous
At the end of the day, I believe that the best option is to have several different outlets for being active, balancing varying levels of accessibility, fun and convenience. It’s not about pushing yourself as hard as possible, but more about building habits that become part of your lifestyle. You could even work out at work… like this!