As someone who was never very athletic as a kid, working out is really tough. I know it’s good for me, but that doesn’t make it easy or exciting to go running, or go to the gym. Over the years, I’ve tried to start a lot of different workout routines that I find online, only to give up almost immediately.
Now that I’ve finally started exercising almost daily, I wanted to share some tips on how you can start working out more regularly too.
1. Start working out in small chunks.
I know, I know, typical Shreya. But any time I talk about starting sustainable routines, I want to talk about foundational habits!
Most workout routines you can find online expect you to exercise every day, or exercise for large chunks of time. If you’re having trouble sticking to those routines, just cut down! The easier the routine is to incorporate into your daily schedule, the more likely you can stick to it. Once you’ve really gotten used to it, you can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.
For example, if you’re having difficulty working out every day, try choosing two or three days a week and committing to work out on those days. With this method, you can choose days to workout when you know you have more free time, making it so much easier to stick to your plan!
You can also choose to work out for a shorter time! If all you have is ten minutes, that’s ten whole minutes. That’s still more working out than none at all. Basically, choose an intensity and duration that works for you. That way, it’s a lot more likely that you’ll stick with your routine.
2. Incorporate your workout into your daily activities.
When we have daily schedules that we’re used to, making time for a workout can be difficult! If you’re having difficulty finding a dedicated time to workout, try incorporating more physical activity into your regular schedule more naturally!
For example, if you take the bus to work, try getting off the bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way to work. I try to do this as often as I can (even in the cold Chicago winter)! It gives me a great burst of morning energy as I get into the office. If you drive to work, try parking farther away from the entrance to have the same effect.
You can also multitask at home when you’re doing something else. While watching TV, you could do curling reps with a water bottle or a can. I like to try to do some calf stretches or squats while I’m brushing my teeth. There are loads of small exercises you can do while doing other activities, which makes them so much better to incorporate into your schedule.
3. Marry working out with the things you love doing.
Working out doesn’t have to mean running, biking, or lifting weights if you hate all of those things! There are so many ways to get physically active, and there’s definitely something for you, no matter what you’re a fan of.
If you’re a really competitive person, try finding a casual team sports class in your area! It’s so easy to get fired up if you focus on beating the other team, rather than just thinking “I have to exercise again?”. I love dancing, so I know that a good choice for me would be to find a dance class near me – it’s my favorite way to break a sweat and have some fun!
Even if you don’t like anything workout-related, there’s still ways to bring the things you love to exercising. If you really like listening to music, look for a routine on YouTube that sets a workout to your favorite genre of music! There are so many cool workout videos online that there’s bound to be one that fits for you. Or, if you like listening to podcasts, try a workout podcast like Zombies, Run! These podcasts bring together a compelling audio story and an encouraging workout routine.
4. Find an accountability buddy for your workouts.
I know it can be easy to get self-conscious when it comes to telling people that you’re trying to exercise more. But it’s not embarrassing that you’re starting to work out. In fact, it’s really cool that you’re taking this awesome step towards being the person you want to be!
Working out with someone else is a really great way to make exercising fun. Thinking about your workout as a hangout session with a friend makes it something to look forward to! But what if the other person doesn’t want to workout together?
Luckily, that doesn’t mean they can’t be a great source of support for you. Finding someone in your life to talk to about your workouts can go a long way towards making your new routine sustainable. Having another person in the know means that you have another source of motivation and accountability. Being aware that this person will congratulate you for doing your workout is a great encouragement to stick to your routine! And whenever you feel like skipping a day, this person can remind you to stick to the plan.
5. Be forgiving of yourself.
Slip-ups will happen. You’ll get busy, you’ll get tired, you’ll miss a day. You can never totally plan your life, so it’s inevitable that something is going to get in the way of you working out someday. Rather than trying to avoid messing up, you should have a plan in place for what happens when you do mess up.
The best way to deal with this is to be forgiving of yourself. If you try to beat yourself up, you’ll start to associate exercising with negativity. And that’s not what we want at all! Instead, be kind to yourself, and be determined to do better in the future. Every mistake is a new opportunity to improve – and isn’t that exciting?
I hope these methods help you all with your fitness goals! If you try any of these tips or have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Which of these methods do you think will be most sustainable for you?