I hear all too often from friends, family and acquaintances that they wish they had time to exercise.
They wish they had the opportunity to pursue personal fitness goals.
They have started or tried to start but their interest levels wavered, their motivation dropped and other things got in the way. I think this simply highlights that exercising and being active is not high on their priority list.
That is perfectly OK. I'm not here to judge! You have to be true to yourself and accept your decisions for what what they are and not be pressured to pursue fitness goals if you are not ready to give it a go. But that also doesn't mean the opportunity won't present itself again but when it does you need to decide whether you wish to pursue or push it away.
So how can you pursue a fitness goal or really any goal for that matter. Lets focus on one barrier to exercise; time constraints. How can we make more time for exercise?
Every single one of us have the same time in the day, 24 hours, 7 days a week which equals to 168 hours per week. The health guidelines recommend that we do 150-200 minutes of exercise a week. How can you find 2 -3 hours to exercise per week?
Firstly, you need to value exercise as an activity or habit you do or want to enjoy. Too often I think exercise is perceived as a punishment rather than a reward. We would much rather treat ourselves to a chocolate than a 30 minute walk. Why shouldn't we enjoy exercise?
Next you need to understand what you are capable of doing. What level of exercise or activity can you partake in? Think about what you enjoy doing or what you would love to try? Be realistic in your ability to carry out this activity. All too often people will think they need to be able to run a 5km run or do a full hours training session in the beginning. You need to start slow, get the balance of activity right to your ability. It is perfectly OK if you are not great at the activity today, it takes patience, perseverance and consistency.
Finally, what opportunity do you have to exercise? Following on from the capability step we always think that we need to make drastic changes to our schedule to fit exercise in. This is where it becomes a chore, it becomes more challenging to make time for exercise than the exercise itself and our motivation decreases. Rather look for ways you can incorporate physical activity into your day, start to condition your body and mind for exercise, i.e. climbing stairs, walking to work, lunchtime walks.
Embracing and starting exercise is all about making subtle behaviour changes. All too often we will have the "go-hard or go home" attitude but it is to our detriment because we can not sustain it. My best advise is to start slow, understand what behaviour changes you can make and be kind to yourself.
Exercise should be a reward for what the body can do, not punishing it for the cake you ate the night before.