Do you find yourself coming up with all the excuses in the book when it comes to exercise? You may be ready to get fit, but the first step is overcoming your mental barriers. We’ve got some great exercise motivation to get you moving, plus a six-week plan to really get your fitness off the ground (or the couch…)
Your exercise excuses are only fooling yourself, so here are some comebacks to use against your anti-exercise-alter-ego and (hopefully) inspire you to get fit:
“I just can’t get out of bed”
Get a loud alarm clock that will wake you up suddenly, and put it on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Alternatively, exercise at the end of the day, but it’s a lot easier to get it out of the way first thing before you find too many reasons not to.
“I have bad knees/ankles/something and will just end up injured”
The longer you don’t exercise, the more risk you have of hurting yourself when you do move. Find out how to exercise properly to minimize the risks of hurting yourself and getting sick.
“It’s too hot/cold!”
This excuse works all year round… Wait for it to be ideal and you’ll be waiting forever! Exercise will warm you up when it’s cold, or swimming in summer will cool you down.
“I’ll start tomorrow!”
Have you noticed that tomorrow never comes? You may think you’re just putting it off one day, but you’re really getting better at putting it off forever. Use that same principal when starting your exercise – start small, and a little work each day will allow you to chip away at your long-term fitness goals.
“I’m really tired”
Which is better? Feeling tired because you’re bored/being a sloth, or feeling tired because you’ve worked out? Besides exercising actually boosts your energy levels.
“I have to look after the kids!”
Perfect, take them with you! Go to the park, run around, play with a ball or a frisbie. They’ll enjoy the exercise and you’ll be setting a great example.
Time to set your goals
The first step to setting a goal is to actually identify what you want to achieve. For example, do you want to exercise to get more energy, drop a dress-size or tone your butt? The second step is to break down the goal into achievable chunks.
Another trick is to keep a diary of your sessions. It’s great for your motivation to see how much you’ve put behind you and how many sessions of quality work you have accumulated.
5 more reasons to be inspired to exercise
Still not convinced? Here are the big benefits of a regular exercise routine…
- It improves self-esteem and well being
- It stimulates the digestive system which is essential for the absorption of nutrients and the discretion of wastes
- It improves the condition of the heart, lungs and blood circulation
- It raises the metabolic rate which gives you more energy and aids in weight reduction
- It helps to alleviate depression, stress and fatigue by boosting the production of therapeutic chemicals in the brain
Once you’re mentally in the exercising zone and are committed to your goals, splurge on a good pair of training shoes. It’s important that you have the right gear so you don’t damage your body. Plus, if you’ve forked out some serious cash for new shoes, you’re more likely to put them to good use.
You’ll also need a re-fillable water bottle, as it’s vital to keep hydrated while sweating away fluids.
Start your exercising shecdule gently – just 15 to 20 minutes a day to begin with, three times a week, then start adding extra days on top of this. If you go straight into a full-on schedule, you’re only setting yourself up for injuries and failure. And most importantly, do something that you enjoy, it will make self-discipline and forming a routine so much easier.
The bare bones – 6 week plan
Boredom is one of the big reasons why people give up on exercise so if you don’t like any of the exercises suggested below, substitute them with jogging, boxing, swimming, skipping or rowing. Aim to keep moving consistently for 30-45 minutes to achieve aerobic benefits and always stretch afterwards.
Day 1: Gentle walk for 45 min – stretch for 15 min. This can be a good one to do with a friend and before you know it you’ve been walking and talking for almost an hour.
Day 2: Bike ride for 45 min – stretch for 15 min. Maybe you can bike somewhere that you were going to drive?
Day 3: Alternate power walking for 10 min and climbing stairs for 10 min repeat twice – stretch for 15 min. If you don’t have stairs at home you might be able to find some around town or at a shopping centre (which you could also power walk around). Reward yourself with some window shopping.
Day 1: Walk including hills for 45 min – stretch for 15 min
Day 2: Power walk increasing intensity by pumping arms for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 3: Gentle bike ride for 45 min – stretch for 15 min
Day 1: Bike ride for 45 min – stretch for 15 min
Day 2: Walk on beach 45 min – swim for 15 min – stretch 15 min
Day 3: Alternate power walking for 10 min and climbing stairs for 10 min – repeat twice – stretch for 15 min
Day 1: Power walk increasing intensity by pumping arms for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 2: Roller-blade for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 3: Kick soccer ball around with friends or family for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 1: Alternate power walking for 10 min and climbing stairs for 10 min – repeat twice – stretch for 15 min
Day 2: Walk on beach 45 min – swim for 15 min – stretch 15 min
Day 3: Bike ride or roller-blade for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 1: Bike ride including hills for 45 min – stretch 15 min
Day 2: Alternate power walking for 10 min and climbing stairs for 10 min – repeat twice – stretch for 15 min
Day 3: Kick soccer ball around with friends or family or power-walk for 45 min – stretch 15 min
It’s important to stretch after your exercise routine as it reduces the risk of injury, improves joint mobility, increases flexibility, improves posture and helps you to relax mentally.
The above exercises are all about getting your heart pumping, so try to include some resistance exercises, perhaps on the alternate days. These can be done in front of the TV or just about anywhere:
- Push ups – Start in the pushup position, hands shoulder-distance apart, fingers spread slightly and pointing straight ahead. Focus eyes on the floor. Inhale as you lower and exhale as you push up until your elbows are slightly bent. Work up to completing 3 sets of 10-15 repeats.
- Lunges: With your back straight, step forward with your right foot about one metre, bending your knee until your thigh is virtually parallel to the floor. Don’t lean forward, and keep your knee directly in line with your foot. Push off with your right leg and return to starting point. Repeat 10-15 times, alternating legs, two to three sets of 10-15 each side.
- Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. With stomach muscles tucked in and buttocks contracted, slowly bend knees, lowering buttocks no further than knee height. Keep knees over toes and heels on floor. Work up to completing 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
- Tricep dips: Find a window ledge and rest your butt and hands against it. Straighten your legs in front of you, with your weight on your hands. Dip slowly, lowering your butt and bending your elbows until you feel it in your upper arms, then push up to near straightness. Work up to completing 3 sets of 10-15 reps.