I saw exercise as punishment – something to be endured rather than enjoyed! It took me a while to re-write the story I had told myself about exercise. Despite the rocky start, this story has a happy ending and doesn’t even involve me stepping inside a gym.
Treat Your Health & Wellbeing Journey As a Marathon – Not a Sprint!
I know that there is a shit load of information on the internet, on how you can transform your body and hit the ground running when you are new to exercise, this blog post isn’t one of those quick fixes to getting fit. These are things that worked for me – a woman who was 49 years old and had been sedentary for most of her life and started moving more.
How did I go from working out once a week to 5 to 6 days a week? It wasn’t one big thing; it was several steps over time that contributed to my progress. I hope that you take from this blog post what you think will work for you – and run with it (bad pun intended).
Define your Why?
Why do you want to move more? Define it and write it down, whether it’s in a journal on your phone or on a word document that you print out. I had several whys? I was turning 50 in 2019, and it hit me that if I didn’t start making moves to be more active, it would cause me health and mobility issues down the track.
I wanted to;
- Love my body and shape as it is
- Have more energy
- Be strong of mind and body
- Improve my fitness levels
- Reconnect to my body
Check-in with yourself during your journey to see if your” Why”, is still important and relevant to you. You may find that this changes throughout your journey. I have some new additions for my 2020 “WHY”.
Start where you are!
Once you decide to begin this journey – start – and don’t talk yourself out of it!. I started working out once a week with a personal trainer who came to my house. He was one of the biggest reasons I am still moving today. He was not shouty in your face trainer; he has seen me at my absolute worse and best! He helped reframe my mindset around moving every day. The key to beginning and to keep moving is to find the right people to work alongside with you. Three months later, I began pilates and a month after that Yoga, followed by pool exercises a month later. If I had tried to do all of that at the start of my journey, I probably would have quit not long after.
Not sure where to start? Consider;
- Hiring a trainer for one to one sessions
- Exercising with a friend
- Trying classes over the internet –free and subscription-based
- Signing up for a beginners course in your local community
- Joining a team
Create the time
I was in a position where I could focus on my health and wellbeing in 2019. However, I know that not everyone has that luxury. However, I was the queen of excuses, and it would have been easy to say I didn’t have time to exercise. I scheduled my planned movement into my calendar like any other appointment I would attend.
If you are working full time – look at whether you can find ways to include a workout in your day. Maybe walking to work or parking some distance and walking the rest of the way? Taking the stairs between floors, maybe a workout or a walk during your lunch break or before or after work. Childcare an issue? Can your partner or another family member help out and care for the kids while you move. If you go to a gym – see if they have a creche while you workout or see if you can come to an arrangement with a friend, where you look after each other’s children when working out. If your children are at daycare or school – can you fit in a workout session then?
There will be days where life can trip us up, and we can’t do our regular exercise, If you can’t find the time to attend a class or exercise session – look at other ways to get movement in, such as housework, taking the dog for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the lift, exercising with the kids through play.
There were days I didn’t want to move – and at the start, it happened frequently. I had to dig deep on those days. Over time, this began to change. How did I get through those moments? I did a variety of things from putting my “why” in a visible place where I could see it every day to packing my workout gear the night before so I had no excuse. Finding exercise that I enjoyed doing was also a huge part in showing up. I would also check in with why I was feeling unmotivated, was it fear-based or a negative mindset? I found journaling why I felt like this was useful for me. It helped me process what was going on in my head.
Progress not Perfection
Embracing movement has been more of a long-distance event rather than a sprint for me. In the past, I had approached moving as a short term fix, working with my trainer, I realised that this is for life. There will be workouts where you feel like you are not making progress – Its’s one session you won’t always feel like this.
I have learnt that progress can come in many forms, it’s not about the number on the scale, it is;
- Seeing your body shape change
- Feeling stronger
- Being more flexible
- Having more energy
- An improved mindset
My long term goal was to transition from one to one sessions to classes, which will happen over the next four months in 2020. That to me is the real sign of progress.
What I Know Now
- My body responds better to exercising mid-morning and early afternoon rather than early morning
- Movement is Medicine
- I let go of my negative beliefs around exercise
- Forget about everyone else – focus on your journey!
- I have come a long way since I began – and I love that!
- I have a better relationship with my body
- Small, consistent steps during 2019 steps created long term changes
- My mindset towards exercising has changed
- Moving more has helped me reconnect to my body and made me more present
- I work with some freaking awesome people who I feel have walked alongside me on my journey
- Don’t push yourself or your body when you are feeling unwell
- A mix of exercising at home and attending sessions out of the house worked for me
- You don’t always have to spend a lot of money and get fancy equipment for working out at home
- My health and wellbeing journey is more of a marathon than a sprint
And On That Note
When I began exercising in July 2018, I had no clue that I would still be exercising in 2020. Part of me thought I would start and give up a few months later like I usually did. So what changed? My mindset. This was due to the people who worked alongside me to help me achieve my goals. Along with my desire to rewrite this chapter in my life!
What kind of relationship do you have with your body and exercise?