We all know the benefits or exercise. In one way or another we have recognised that increasing levels of physical activity in our day to day lives will improve our health. Whether the goal is to shed a few kilos, get back to playing sport or even keeping up with the Grand-kids its vital for our mental and physical well-being to move and exercise.
SO then why is it so hard to start exercising and STICK to it?
Studies highlight that this “lack of motivation” can be explained by two main factors. 
- Lack of interest to exercise and prioritise its outcomes in their lives. This could be due to competing demands for time from: education, career, family obligations or cost.
- Feeling incapable of completing the activity or skills required. This could be feeling either not physically fit or skilled enough to exercise or having health or injury limitations which present a barrier to activity.
So how to do we make a lasting change to exercise?
- Pick an activity you ENJOY
Exercise not only promotes better health outcomes, it also improves our mood and can be an active social outing in the week. It has been shown that challenge, affiliation and enjoyment were all positive resulting factors of exercise. Drop the exercise that feels like a chore and choose something you love to do. It could be as simple and walking to the station or even to work, joining a class (boxing, dancing, swimming, Pilates) with a friend or a sporting team of your age and/or ability.
There IS a recipe to success and that is making exercise a part of your week you cannot live without. If you have a few specific exercises from your physio then adding these in 5-10 minutes before or after your 2X weekly exercise is a great way to squeeze them in and get better results!
- Make it Stick
Forming an exercise habit isn’t easy. It too cold in the morning, too dark at night. I’m just too busy with the kids! Every excuse under the sun is thrown at exercise but we know how to implement healthier lifestyle changes through changing habits in other areas e.g. sleep, diet and getting chores done – so finding time to exercise should theoretically be no different.
It is fair to say the early days are the hardest, but the better you feel the more you will do!
Finding time to exercise 2-3X a week may seem a far reach so here are some suggestions:
- Lunch break – can’t squeeze in a class at the gym? Then go for a walk – 45 minutes outdoors at lunch is a great way to get in some exercise, get a break from the desk and catch some sun to reset for the afternoon
- Add things to your routine e.g. Utilise the kids training sessions – go for a walk or a park gym session instead of sitting in the car.
- AM or PM person – if you know you are a morning exerciser then make sure you get to bed early the night before and everything organised to make a quick dash out the door to get to the gym.
Hot tip: Our Physio Meredith (resident rock-climber/ Women’s Health guru) watches this pump up video to get in the zone.
- Set some Goals
Whether you’re exercising to reduce pain, recover from injury or loose a few kilos – set some goals. These are great to set with your Physio who is you’re therapist to getting back to being active. Make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time) – so that you have clear direction on what and how you will set out to get there.
Don’t forget once you’ve reached your goals – CELEBRATE THE WINS!
 Teixeira, P. J., Carraça, E. V., Markland, D., Silva, M. N., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: a systematic review. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 9, 78.