Does that word make you cringe or excited? Exercise can be perceived as “difficult” or “time-consuming” or “unenjoyable.” What if we challenge these thoughts and give exercise a new definition?
The way our mind perceives things, especially based on past experiences, can create barriers to change for us. The thought “I hate to exercise” closes the door on much more than just traditional physical activity. Instead, let’s say exercise means “to move the body”. This open-ended definition allows for it to feel like a lot more than “going to the gym.”
Why is movement important?
- Improves sleep quality
- Keeps bones and muscles active and strong
- Improves mood and feelings of well-being
- An outlet for stress relief and clearing the mind
- Outdoor activities can increase Vitamin D levels via sunlight!
Let’s break down a few of the common barriers with some examples:
- “If I can’t work out for an hour, I might as well not work out at all”
- All movement, no matter how short or long, is good for your body! Try this” start by walking one time around your block per day, then increase to two times the following week. Use gradual increases to make it feel easier!
- “There’s just not enough time for it with all of my kids' activities, long work hours, any and all other responsibilities, etc.”
- You can walk laps around the soccer field, track, or any other space during the practice. Find another parent to join you and chat!
- Did you watch TV yesterday? Then you have time to exercise! Consider either prioritizing your daily movement over mindless activities like watching TV or playing on your computer. You can also combine the two by watching while you walk on a treadmill or listening while you walk outside.
- “Exercise isn’t fun.”
- Group fitness classes can be very fun! There are all types to try out and it can be a great way to meet new friends. These are also a great way to get into a routine as it usually involves scheduling set days and times that assist with accountability.
- Do something you do find fine and pair it with movement. Enjoy books? Listen to an audiobook while you walk. Like to dance? Put some music on while you clean the house and boogie!
Take a minute to either write down or just simply think of what barriers keep you from exercising.
Jot down a few ways you can add enjoyable "exercise" to your week or ask to talk about it at your next RD visit!