When it comes to working out, I will admit that when I get into a routine, I feel great and my body thanks me. But when I get out of said routine, it can be incredibly difficult for me to start back up.
I have never been one to run around perky thrilled about exercise; however, when I do work out, I admittedly feel great. Not to mention, my building has a gym, with a sauna and everything. You would think I would be in the gym regularly but, alas, I am currently in a funk. Today I am going to share with you my honest tips about getting back into an exercise routine.
- Keep your expectations low: Hear me out. I find that if I do not set any expectations (e.g., I am going to lose 10 lbs in a month). The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has advocated for a balance in 24-hour movement stating that adults aged 18 to 64 should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more (CSEP, 2019). That is 30 minutes per weekday. If you keep that as a goal and participate with an open mind, then the benefits will follow.
- Keep your exercise routine accessible and likable: If you like the treadmill the most, do 20 minutes on the treadmill and only 10 minutes of weights. If you like hiking, do it. If you hate lunges *me*, do more squats. You do not need to look like a “Victoria’s Secret” model! It is their job to look like that, and they devote all their time for the runway show – including 2-3 hours per day of exercise. Do what you like the most and keep moving!
- Find a healthy habit and use it as a reward: For me, it is yoga and sitting in the sauna. I reward myself after working out by devoting 15 mindful minutes alone in the sauna (cue my giant bottle of water! Hello Hydration!) and 15 minutes for yoga. My favourite are the videos available in the new Deliciously Ella app!
- Speaking of mindfulness: My gym downstairs has a weak signal, and I honestly thank God for it. Use exercise as half an hour to shut out the world. The e-mails can wait. The calls and texts can wait. Social media does not need to see your #fitspo all the time. I use exercise as an excuse for a quiet time. I play my favourite music; I ignore people, and I give it my all.
- Side note on social media and exercise: back in the day when I was on Instagram I would spend time taking stories of me on the treadmill etc.; however, I would get lazy in between workouts because I would start scrolling. If social media posting motivates you to work out, then be my guest but do pay attention to the time you devote away from exercise to partake in it. You do not want your post slowing down your heart rate and causing you to begin again for the sake of the ‘gram!
- If you do not feel like going to the gym/ exercising, commit to 10 minutes full blast: Somedays I have no interest in going. I am tired; I am busy; I have things to do. During these days, I get my gym clothes on and jump on the treadmill with a 10-minute timer.
- Find ways to fit in exercise throughout your day: During my day job, I find ways to achieve in my daily step count. I take the stairs; when I am supervising students, I walk the entire 20 minutes trying not to stop (unless I have to), and I participate in the DPA exercises I assign to my students.
- Whatever you love the most, sign up for a class once a week: Ok so, exercise groups can be expensive. I get that. But I recently figured out that the community centres have a lot of programs at a highly competitive cost. Maybe I was slow to the game here. But I signed up for Yoga classes once per week, and I could not have been happier. You can cross off a bunch of minutes per week if you are held accountable. Make sure you like it though! Try spin and if you hate it, see about getting your money back and trying something else!
- Apps can help! In #5, I tell you to try and get 10 minutes full blast; another trick is to take advantage of Apps! My husband started with the “7MW” app which is 7 minutes of high intensity. He used this when he was neck-deep writing his dissertation. It took hardly any time out of his day, and he always got in a workout. These apps are great if you work in an office as you can hide out during your lunch.
- Pay attention to how you feel: This recommendation is one that is slow to achieve but when you do, you will get why I recommend it. Exercise makes you feel great. Not while you are doing it but over time you will notice some unhealthy feelings creep in when you have been irregular in your exercise routine. In contrast, when you work out regularly you will notice you feel better. Remember even if you get out of your groove, it takes one choice to get back into it.
- Go to bed! If you do not sleep regularly, you cannot exercise regularly because you are going to be tired. Get your 8 hours at the same time. This morning my dad walked in after midnight shift (as he has errands to run in the city and I live close to his work) and he asked me why I was up even though I am not at work today. ROUTINE! I feel better if I get up at 6 AM and in bed by 10 PM. Note, you will not feeling the effects right away but give it a month and your days will be more productive.
And there you have it! Anyway, I am off to get my 30 minutes in!