27 Sep How to Get Back into Exercise
If you’ve pressed pause on regular exercise due to the pandemic (or the summer break… or sickness…or anything else going on in your life at the moment!) it can be daunting to get back into a regular routine. You might be nervous about heading back into a studio for any number of reasons:
- not feeling ‘fit’ enough
- fear of being left behind in class
- fear of injuring yourself
- overwhelmed by the myriad of classes on offer
- social anxiety
Rest assured, you’re not alone! A little extra support & a few small steps will help you get back into the swing of things.
Here are my top tips for kickstarting your exercise routine:
- Schedule it: if it’s not in your diary/phone, it’s not going to happen! Book in your classes on a Sunday or Monday so that you can plan for the week ahead. If your schedule allows, try to pick the same/similar times for your sessions – it’s easier to make a habit stick if it’s consistent. Research has found that people who consistently exercised at around the same time every day completed more workouts each week than those on a more flexible schedule. You could also speak to your instructor/studio about setting up a recurring booking so that you always get your preferred class times (& you don’t have to fuss about rebooking every week). Ultimately though, however you choose to plan your sessions, it’s got to work with your lifestyle.
- Bring a friend: you may have good intentions, but when obstacles pop up (inclement weather, lack of sleep, I-can’t-be-bothered-itis, etc.) it can be easy to throw in the towel. Solution = bring an exercise buddy along to keep you accountable & on track. Make it a fun social event by having a coffee together afterwards & catching up on the week’s events. Having strong social connections provides a sense of belonging & purpose, can boost your happiness & self-confidence, & reduce stress. There’s also evidence to suggest that an active social life may help you to live a longer, healthier life.
- Decide on your bare minimum: be completely honest with yourself about how many classes you can realistically fit into your schedule. The initial enthusiasm that comes with a new endeavour inevitably drops off – the question is, how will you progress towards your goals when motivation wanes? Try doing less. It’s better to start small & ease yourself into a new routine; once you develop a good rhythm & can be consistent with your baseline, then go ahead & add more classes to your schedule.
- Get back to basics: now is a wonderful opportunity to revisit the foundations of movement. Don’t scoff at a beginners exercise class (or a class that’s a notch down from where you’ve been before). Taking a deliberate-paced class that allows you to connect to your breath & your body, & grounds you in the fundamentals of the practice will set you up for success. From a solid base, you will make more progress in less time which, in turn, will provide the motivation to keep going!
- Create a positive feedback loop: don’t rely on willpower alone to achieve your goals. Create a positive feedback loop instead. This involves a physiological system that reinforces whatever change is taking place. Example: if you like something, you do it more often, you see more progress & that progress fuels you to continue. In the case of kickstarting your healthy exercise habit, try this:
- Find a physical activity that you enjoy doing (if aerobics classes aren’t your jam, give them a miss for the time being)
- Focus on your progress (what things can you do now that you couldn’t do before? Eg. Perform a full push-up)
- Reward yourself (enjoy a treat with your exercise pals after class)
- Positive feedback loops reinforce healthy lifestyle changes. When your willpower wanes, these feedback loops are what will help you to stay on track in the long term.
Ready to get moving again? Join me on the mat! I created Sol Space Pilates for real humans – just like you – to connect & move together, to build strength & confidence & get back to living life with more ease & joy. For more info & to book in a class, head here.
Julia of Sol Space Pilates (annnnd your friendly Clarity receptionist!)
Extra special tips: *If you have any concerns about your physical health/fitness, check in with your GP before commencing a new exercise routine. Recovering from COVID? Check out the HealthDirect guidelines for how to safely return to exercise.