When trying to establish an exercise routine, the most common barrier that people report is not having enough time. Time is the most valuable asset we have and we all wish we could have more of it. Unfortunately, time is not something that we can increase. However, we can try to be more efficient with the time we have.
One barrier that we can change is our attitude towards exercise. The first step is to disassociate any previous ideas that you have about what exercise is. The definition of exercise is any planned activity, undertaken for the purpose of increasing or maintaining health and fitness. This shows us that there is a broad spectrum of what one can do for exercise. We can now think about exercise for what it really is – the ongoing maintenance or improvement of health and physical function. You don’t have to be working towards running a marathon or training to lift twice your body weight, as long as you’re doing something!
Add it to your routine
Something else to consider when discussing exercise, is that routine or habit is key in continuing to get the most out of exercise. In this regard, your routine must be manageable and maintainable. Habituation is the most important factor in any routine. If we set goals that are unattainable, we don’t give ourselves a chance to progress onto more incrementally difficult goals once we are comfortable with maintaining the routine we already have.
The following are exercise ideas that combine general activities of everyday life when increasing or maintain physical strength and fitness.
- Leave the car at home for short trips and walk or ride a bike instead
- Park the car further away from your destination
- Get off the bus or train a stop early
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift
- Play with the kids after school
- Take up physical activities that force you to walk such as golf or walking the kids to and from school
- Start cycling or walking to work or to the shops on the weekend
- Walk to speak to your colleague instead of sending an email or instant message
- Finding it hard to keep exercising? Choose an exercise you enjoy or try walking with a family member or friend