Think back to a time before the words “fitness”, “exercise”, or “working out” had much meaning for you. I want you to go way back ; maybe 20 or more years even. Being active didn’t have any connotations tied to it, there was no guilt, and there were no Instagram pictures you took of yourself to show the world how active you are. More often than not, you were simply “playing”. And playing wasn’t so bad – after all, no kid dreads having to “go play”. For many of us, our younger years were the most active of our lives – it’s as we grow older, take on more responsibilities, and generally lose touch with what makes us happy, that our activity levels decrease. It’s time to change that. It’s time to strip “exercise” of every connotation that is associated with it and get back to the basics. When you get back to the basics, you’ll find what truly makes you happy, and getting fit, in shape, or whatever you genuinely want for yourself, will become so much easier.
Pick up the dry cleaning, hit the post office, go for a run….
How many of you feel like exercise has become a chore? Does it seem like yet another errand that needs to be checked off a list each day? Drop the kids off at school, go to work, pick up dry cleaning, exercise, make dinner. Sound familiar? The problem is, unlike skipping your appointment at the dry cleaners, skipping exercise can wreak havoc on your mental well-being. We’ve put so much pressure on ourselves these days to be fit, that skipping that daily workout can bring about feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or even depression in some people. And as anyone who has ever tried working out long-term knows, once you skip one day, it becomes all too easy to say to hell with it the following day.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you’re NEVER going to achieve that dream body or become the epitome of health if you’re viewing exercise as a chore or something you HAVE to do each day. It’s just not going to happen. There’s no way to maintain the level of motivation required to make serious change if you’ve got this outlook.
Enough about what you can’t do to help yourself. Let’s talk about what you CAN do to get yourself back on the right track. Like I mentioned above, “exercise” used to simply be about going out and doing something you enjoyed. It’s time to get back to that point. When you’re able to find an active hobby (or even better – hobbies) that you enjoy, it’ll no longer seem like a chore that must be completed. So what’s it going to take to get you back to that happy place where being active was something you looked forward to? Well, I’ve put together a list of some great options that might well suit you fancy. The underlying theme however is, do what works best for your lifestyle and your interests. Don’t ever do force yourself to do workouts you hate just because someone else tells you that’s what you should be doing. When you follow your heart, put in max effort, and stay consistent, your body and health are going to change for the better.
Yoga is something a lot of people get really passionate about. When you’re committing yourself to fifteen different types of training and/or fitness classes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re the kind of person who does better when they put all their efforts into one thing, but isn’t in love with the idea of having to hit the gym every night, consider making yoga you’re form of “play”. There are a variety of different varieties and intensities to ensure you’re getting an all-around awesome workout without having to actually sprint or bench press. If time is a problem, consider investing in some nice surround sound speakers and turn your bedroom, living room, or other space into your own personal yoga studio. With the abundance of full-length yoga classes available on the web, there’s no reason you can’t experience the same thing you’d get at the studio..but at home.
Exercise and learn
Does exercise bore you? Do the minutes on the elliptical seem like hours? If you’re the type who needs more mental stimulation, consider adding a little something to the exercise routine. Learn a foreign language by listening (and practicing) while you’re on the stationary bike. Listen to an audio book and learn something new while you’re rowing. There are almost limitless options to “double-down” on your exercise. If you’re wanting to actively improve yourself in another area, it’s quite possible you’ll find exercise time has become learning time…and skipping the gym means skipping out on learning something new that day.
Get passionate about a “non-fitness” hobby
Getting fit doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pump the weights or subject yourself to hours of cardio. Here’s something you probably didn’t realize – on average gardening burns 167 calories an hour. Garden for 4 hours a week and you’re on pace to burn an additional 10 pounds of unwanted fat over the course of a year! It’s a mistake to think hitting the gym or doing at home workouts is the only way to slim up. There are tons of activities which you may find enjoyable that can contribute to a happier and healthier life.
Keep it diverse
Are you the type who gets bored with the same kind of routine, every day? When you’re workouts get predictable, it’s easy to lose the motivation. Keep things fun by adding some diversity to your life. On ShareItFitness.com we’ve got well over 250 different group fitness classes for you to try. For free. Seriously, one day you could take a kickboxing class, the next a uptempo weight training class, or a pilates class, or yoga class, or core class…..the options are limitless. If you want to try a different workout every day, go for it. The point is, you’re staying active, experiencing new things, and improving yourself.
Get a pet
Specifically, a dog. On average, dog owners are exponentially more active and (surprise) live longer lives than non-dog owners. If you’ve been living a mostly sedentary life up until now, becoming a dog owner will have you moving more than you ever thought possible. Daily walks are just one of the many benefits of owning a dog. Head over to the park and run around with your furry friend – after all, running after something with four legs and a tail is much more enjoyable than running behind some sweaty body on the treadmill in front of you.
Join a league
Want to get more activity in your life and maybe make some new friends in the process? Do a simple Google search for pick-up sports leagues in your area and I’ll almost guarantee you’ll find something that’s up your alley. From flag football to frisbee golf, there are pick up leagues for just about anyone. Try something new and you might just find a new favorite hobby. What do you have to lose? Getting out there doing something you enjoy in the company of other like-minded people? Doesn’t sound so bad to me.
Get Back to the Basics
It’s time to end the cycle of doing things you don’t enjoy just because you’ve been led to believe you HAVE to do them. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and if you’re struggling to stay consistent and/or motivated with your current fitness plan, then you owe it to yourself to change it up.
Forcing yourself to do workouts you don’t enjoy is never going to be a long-term fix. You’ll eventually give it up or go so infrequently you’d be better off not going at all. Make the concerted effort to find what interests you and get passionate about it. When you get passionate about something enjoyable it has a profound effect on your life. You no longer feel as though it’s a chore that needs to be checked off your laundry list each day.
There was a time in your life when being active was fun. It was something you enjoyed doing. Whether you’re 18 or 80, it’s never too late to get back to those basics. Knock down the connotations society has placed upon what it means to be fit and get in shape. There isn’t one cookie-cutter model you must adhere to if you want to improve your body and health. The most fit and healthy among us are the ones who have developed a passion for being active. If that means getting really good at running marathons, being a world-class frisbee golfer, or simply taking the time to build an amazing garden, get passionate about something. It’ll cross over into other areas of your life and help you improve into a better, healthier, and more content human being.