Behaviour change for an active lifestyle
Some people love to exercise, for others it is their worst nightmare! If you fall into the latter category, you probably have a reason or two for not exercising and guilt because you know you should. The fact is, everyone needs at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for optimum health. Even splitting the time into three 10-minute bite-size chunks of moderate-intensity activity a day provides many health benefits.
There are many reasons why people do not exercise, but there is always a solution!
Between work and children, school and homework, exercise is hard to fit in – but it’s not impossible!
Take the stairs when you can, walk on your lunch hour or park in the space that is farthest away from the shop; better yet, walk! Walk to pick up your children from school and run around with your dog in the garden.
A full day of work, school, errands and child care can wipe you out.
Exercise at a time of day when you have more energy.
Set your alarm for 15 or 20 minutes earlier and pop in an exercise DVD before your shower. Walk at lunchtime, or stop by the gym before you get home and call it a day.
Other activities can eat up your free time – we all seem to have such busy social calendars! As boring at you may think it is at first, you need to make exercise a priority. Grab a hula hoop in the adverts or do some sit ups. Choose a social activity that doesn’t require you to sit. Go bowling, catch up with friends whilst walking in the countryside, or get involved at the soft play centre!
Haven’t developed the habit
‘Stick-to-it-iveness’ is hard to find! Make a commitment to yourself to exercise for a week, no excuses. After three to four weeks, the habit should be forming, and you won’t have to struggle with it every day. Remember the reasons you want to exercise, set small, achievable goals and follow your plan. Rope your friends into it! Set up a WhatsApp group so you can encourage one another, share tips and motivate each other.
If you think you have no reason to exercise, you won’t be motivated.
Educate yourself on why lifelong exercise is important to your health and well-being, even if you are already in good health. Give yourself a reward for meeting your goals – buy a new pair of shoes, treat yourself to some ‘me time’ or have a day out.
You may be overwhelmed if you’ve never had an exercise routine before.
So, start small. Take the stairs or walk to get the paper/do the school run. Work your way up to 10 minutes of exercise at a time and build from there. You’ll be surprised at how little makes you feel so great!
Current physical condition
Perhaps you’re overweight, you’ve had a heart attack, or you feel that you’re too old to exercise.
You may have to check with your doctor first, but almost everyone is able to perform some sort of physical activity regardless of size, age or condition. Just take it easy and build up, try a range of things and find something that suits you and that you enjoy.
You don’t need access to a gym or fancy equipment to exercise.
You can exercise inexpensively at home check out our online exercise videos to get you started. You can even exercise with no equipment, using only your body weight.
Lack of results
When you don’t see the results you think you should, you may become dispirited and unmotivated - But keep moving! Exercise changes your body more than you realise. It reduces blood pressure, increases endurance and strength, and protects against some chronic diseases. Even without visible results, you are doing your body good. You have to be patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day! Just relax, stick with it and soon you will see the results you’ve been waiting for!
It is important to remember that there is no quick fix to breaking patterns of inactivity. Those of you who lack the motivation or the confidence to exercise have probably been stuck in a rut for years and, as the saying goes, old habits die hard.
Behaviour change concentrates on making a series of small steps that lead to big results over time. Be realistic with your goals, don’t do too much too soon, be patient!