Are you, like me, not really one for exercise? Or at least, not the exercise, that has you pounding the pavement or pushing weights at the gym?
For many of us, it would be great if we could be slim, fit and energised, without needing to exercise. But it doesn’t work that way. There is good news though.
The good news is this, it doesn't have to be momentous, and it doesn't have to be difficult. You can get the benefit of exercise by introducing simple incremental changes that work for you. The secret is in being consistent with them and increasing the intensity, gradually.
The second bit of good news is that the benefit of exercise extends beyond being slimmer, fitter and more energised. As good as all that is, I have found that when we start to make a change in one area of our lives, it often inspires us to make a change somewhere else too. One gradual change leads to another gradual change, and another, and so on, and so on. With these small incremental changes which build on each other, we can transform our lives, almost effortlessly.
And it can begin with exercise.
If you have read my previous post How to Glow with Energy and Vitality, Effortlessly you’ll have read about the first and best way to increase energy, the one I firmly believe and stand-by. I encourage you to read that blog post too because once you have that one in place, which is free by the way, finding the motivation to exercise becomes easier.
But, back to my original question, what is a girl to do when she doesn't like to exercise?
This is how I discovered what works for me.
I have gone to gym I don't know how many times. I’ve tried it, stopped it, gone back to it. The last time, I kept going for about two years until I finally got bored with it. However, I know how crucial exercise is to my well-being. I knew I had to do something. What is a girl to do?
So, I gave it some thought. What do I like to do? What can I reasonably expect myself to continue to do? How can I change things up? I realised that I needed variety in my exercise routine to avoid becoming bored. I also realised that I like bite sizes of exercise. I am not going to exercise for an hour at a time, three, four or five times a week. It’s just not going to happen. I know that about myself.
I'm also not one to pound the pavement and run a marathon, or even a half marathon, or even a ten kilometer, or a five kilometer. To be honest I've tried running and I’ve done a few five-kilometer races. They are not for me.
This is what I discovered works for me.
Knowing I need variety, I fluctuate between a group of stretching exercises that I can do at home and an outdoor exercise routine. The stretching exercises are amazing for energy and a faster metabolism. They work well for me and I will share about those in a different blog post.
In this post, I want to share with you the outdoor exercises I do when the sun's glorious and shining or, because I live in the wet Pacific Northwest, I will even settle for dry. When the weather is playing along, I find I am inspired to get togged up and go outside for what, I call, ‘my run’.
Now for anyone who is a runner they would laugh at what I call ‘my run’ because it is essentially a little jog with a walk. I jog, walk, jog, walk, jog, up to the track behind my house. The track has a small stadium where I run up the stairs. In total, it's about 20 steps. I do that five times and over the summer I build up to doing it seven times, and then nine times. I find it wonderful.
Next, I go down and I run around the track. And then I walk around the track. And then I jog around the track. I do a blend and I build up because I know that I am not going to run the whole way. When I've gone three times around the track, I skip. I start with 150 skips and build up to 300 skips. Now I love skipping. It makes me think of being a girl, and skipping races, and skipping games in the schoolyard. So, to skip is wonderful for me. I start with 150 skips and a build up to 300.
After skipping, I sprint 80 meters. I run my heart out and it always makes me think of when I was a little kid running the school races. When I sprint, I put myself back in that moment of being a kid and I have the saying, run the race set before you, going through my mind. I find that it keeps me present in the moment as I run those 80 meters. It also inspires me. I know that the race set before me is the rest of my life, and what am I going to make of it?
I end with a jog-walk home. Door-to-door, my exercise routine takes all of 25 minutes.
For so long I saw my exercises as an external must-do, which is why I think I didn't like doing them. But now I use my exercises to motivate and inspire myself. Consequently, I enjoy them more. When the sun's shining I can't wait to get out the door. When the winter rains and the cold come, this exercise routine goes into hibernation and comes out again when the weather improves. In this way the exercises stay fresh and I don’t get bored with them.
What about you? If you are reading this post, I would think it is because you also struggle with exercise in your life. I’ve figured out an exercise routine that works for me. How can you incorporate exercise in your life in a way that works for you and that you enjoy?
Here are some pointers:
First, know yourself. Evaluate what you enjoy and what will realistically work for you. Choose exercises that you will be able to do consistently. Start small and build on it. Little by little. Don’t judge yourself thinking that you aren’t doing enough or being enough. Rather affirm that you are in process and moving incrementally towards your goal.
Really come to enjoy the greater energy you feel, as well as the increased confidence in yourself and in your body, not to mention a faster burning metabolism and improved posture. Know too that you are not simply getting fit, you are setting yourself up for success in other areas of your life as well.
Who doesn’t want all that?