Exercise and fitness. Even just writing those words makes me tired. Unfortunately, exercise is good for us. We all want to do more of it, the only thing is it sucks.
Now, it must be said, we all have different bodies, with different capabilities, and we have different views of our bodies. Don’t let anyone shame for the body you have. What is written is not meant to shame into exercising. Getting fitter might not be something you want to do or are ready to do. That’s okay. If you do want to get fitter, here are tips on how to do it in a healthy and mindful way.
What we should do is look at exercise as a form of self-care; it’s easy to be critical of our bodies, but why not give it a break, and take care of our body as if it were a lost puppy. After all, our bodies do the hard work of carrying us around all day. In other words, start to look at exercise to feel great, and not just look great.
Okay, you get the idea, but where do you begin when it comes to exercise?
Remember your fitness journey is unique. This means you need to stop comparing yourself to others. No one has lived your life, been through the struggles you have, so you need to overcome them in a way that suits you. This improvement is for you, and you alone.
Start small. To get fitter, you don’t need to start with a massive gym regime and a fancy diet – just start with exercise that is manageable and suits your lifestyle. Just make sure there is change; changing your schedule and routine to take care of your body, time dedicated to nurturing and improving. Just make it a small change to start off with.
Be consistent. Don’t set yourself an insane exercise schedule if it’s going to be impossible to achieve. Start small and build from there. Push yourself to fulfil your planned workout; maybe not every day, but weekly is a good place to start. Consistent exercise, in small amounts, has a bigger impact than you think. Achieving small goals, consistently, will keep you motivated.
Be Patient. If you don’t see results immediately, don’t give up. Getting fit takes ages. It could take six months of consistent effort, or even longer. Hang in there and stick at it – the results will come.
Take a break. Remember there will be days where you don’t feel like it. We are human, after all, not robots. Pushing yourself to be consistent and pushing yourself too hard are two very different things – when you feel your motivation fade, and life gets a little too much, it's not a crime to take a break. You, above anyone, know what you need, so take some time off and nurture your mental health before working on your physical health again.
Get support. Getting fit is tough, and it’s hard to stick to it when you are doing it alone. If you have a friend who wants to get fit, do it together. If you don’t, find ways you can support yourself. Maybe there are online communities who could help, or even a personal trainer.
Be careful. There is such a thing as too much exercise. Fitness can become an addiction. If you still find yourself criticising your body, even if you are fitter, stop and think. There might be a bigger problem that getting fit is not going to solve.
Finally, remember to reward and love yourself. It’s the small victories that count on the journey to self-improvement. You don’t need to do 100 push ups to feel proud of your own progress; fitness is a constant process, there is no end-goal. Celebrate yourself for having the strength to try.