The truth is we all know that exercise is good for you. It is strongly linked to reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia. It is also linked to improving and/or gaining a more restful sleep. These all sound great, and a no-brainer, so then why don’t we do it?
The biggest barriers to exercise that I hear (and have trouble with myself) is first time. This is valid. We all have important obligations with our kids’/grandkids’ practices, recitals, school events, as well as our own work schedules and other family obligations. Second is motivation. “I just don’t like walking” “I hate sweating” “I’d rather do X,Y, or Z”. We’ve all been there. But it is irrefutable that if you want to maintain your current activity level in the long term, exercise needs be part of your routine. So below are some tips that make getting out to exercise just a tad easier.
1. Exercise Regularly:
You do not necessarily need to exercise every day or even 5x a week, but you should exercise regularly. That may start off as just 2x a week. But the best thing to do is make it a routine. This may mean initially scheduling it into your day, or making sure you go to bed on time so that you can wake up early enough to include it.
2. Pick Something you Enjoy
If you hate walking then maybe try out biking/cycling, swimming, yoga, or an exercise video. If you don’t like, don’t force it, and try something else. It is your free time right!
3. Set a Personal Goal
For those of us who are competitive, this is a great motivation to keep going. For example sign up for a race (from a 5k run/walk to a marathon) or challenge yourself in other ways, such as biking that steep hill you’ve had to walk up previously.
4. Exercise with a Friend/Group, or Join an Exercise Class
The more the merrier right! Have a partner that can help to push you and keep you accountable. And who doesn’t like going for a treat after a workout with a friend!
The most important thing is making it a regular occurrence. Don’t kick yourself if you miss a week. Think about having it in your schedule for the long term. And your never too old to start. No matter your age, you can gain strength, endurance, and flexibility. If you have pain with activity or don’t feel safe returning to exercise contact your physician or a trusted physical therapist to help set you up for success.