Sometimes taking a short break from exercise is a good thing – such as when we’re injured or sick, or when our bodies are crying out for a rest. The problem for many is that a few days of rest, can easily turn into a few more… which can snowball into weeks, months, or even years of being far too sedentary. Exercise is medicine – it makes us happier and healthier – and it can also prevent, delay, or help manage a whole host of chronic conditions and diseases.
Today I’m sharing tips for those who need a little help getting off the couch or out of their chairs!
- Identify why you stopped. Ask yourself why you stopped exercising. If you can identify what brought this good habit to a standstill, you’ll be better able to anticipate and negotiate future roadblocks – and trust me, there will be roadblocks.
- Set a goal. Actually, set three. A short term goal (i.e. this week I will rally on the tennis court for 20-30 minutes); a medium-term goal (something you will work towards and achieve over the next few weeks or three months); and a long-term goal (something you work towards achieving in three to six months or longer). Choose goals that are realistic and motivating.
- Put exercise on your calendar. Everyone should do this (I do it too!). Schedule time for exercise as you would any important meeting or appointment.
- Ask yourself what you enjoy most about exercise. Some people enjoy group exercise classes because they’re more social (doubles tennis is another great option!), while others enjoy quiet walks or runs outdoors to gather their thoughts or connect with nature. Determine what you enjoy most and factor it into your plan. You might like to ease back into exercise with my 8-Week Walking Program.
- Track your activity. Canadian adults need at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity every week and yet only 15% actually achieve this minimum. Track your activity to know how where you stand. Try these tips to make exercise a habit!
- Enlist a friend or two. Some people find being active with a friend or two helps them to get moving and stay moving. Why not invite some colleagues for a lunchtime walk – or a few friends for a game of doubles tennis on your community courts?
- Know that it won’t always go as planned. Life happens – and sometimes we have to miss a workout or two – or just have some that don’t go as well as we might have hoped. Instead of dwelling on what didn’t happen or go as planned, focus on your next workout, or all that your body enables you to do. I actually build “gratitude” into my regular runs – taking a few seconds or minutes to be mindful and grateful to be able to do all that I do.
I hope my tips are helpful. Share your tips with us @cate_cameron and @TennisCanada.