Fisayomi Aturamu spent some time examining fitness regimes and shares the best 20 ways to fit exercise into your daily routine.
How most of us approach exercise
A lot of people would love to exercise more to get fit.
Every now and then, they wake up with that burst of energy and make it to the gym or go jogging.
The only problem for them is that this happens once in a blue moon and they fall back to their sedentary ways in no time.
The first few months of the new year is that time when most people come up with a list of resolutions for personal improvement.
For many people like myself, this would involve setting fitness goals.
Let’s make a pact. We don’t have to wait for the new year to get fit - and remember you do not need a gym to exercise daily.
Here's an alternative approach
So let’s start today. Here are 20 ways to fit exercise into your daily routine.
- Find an activity that you genuinely enjoy doing.
- This is highly important because if it is not something that you love, it might be difficult to keep at it. Say, for example, you love dancing, why not make a playlist of your favourite upbeat tracks and start your day dancing. You get to start your day with a good vibe, get a dose of endorphins- feel-good hormones to brace you for the day’s activities - and head straight into the shower to freshen up. This is guaranteed to boost your mornings.
- Have a schedule but be flexible.
- This could mean that in the morning you’d exercise for about 30 minutes before leaving for work or school.
- On days, that you miss the morning routine, be flexible and spontaneous - like taking a short walk during a break in between classes or work.
- Remember, any activity to get you moving is better than doing nothing at all. Running late? Why not exercise for 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes? You can make up for it later.
- You may need to make some adjustments. For example, if your place of worship is not too far from home, how about walking down instead of taking your car or the bus. Use the stairs instead of elevators.
- Cut down your screen time. We tend to spend a long time sitting in a spot glued to our phones or watching TV. Why not do some chores instead?
- Make a mental note to not stay in a spot for too long. Having a long phone conversation with a loved one? Why not multitask by taking a walk at the same time. Binge-watching your favourite TV show? Do some push-ups, star jacks or other exercise in between episodes.
- The goal is to stay active.
- On days when you really do not feel like doing anything, could be because you feel lazy or just having a bad day. Instead of being a couch potato, choose to do something over doing nothing. Take a walk to visit a neighbour or go to the mall for window shopping. You can even stay in but decide to do 10 squats after every visit to the bathroom.
- Switch things up every now and then. A fitness routine can become monotonous and boring at some point even if it’s an activity you love doing on a regular day.
- So instead of dancing on the weekends, why not go swimming instead? Or attend an aerobics session at your neighbourhood gym every other weekend.
- Use a fitness app to track your exercise routine.
- Some phones come with an in-built fitness app. You can start with something as simple as tracking the number of steps you take daily.
- Consider getting a workout buddy. You can start a challenge with a roommate, friend or family member.
- Or if you’re using an app connect with others who are interested in the same physical activities as you. This helps with accountability and makes it fun.
- Plus, if you’re someone like me with a competitive streak in you, you’d never want to miss a workout.
Ready for more suggestions?
Remember, these are ideas that could inspire you to work around your comfort zone and make small but impactful adjustments.
- Set realistic goals. This is important because setting unrealistic goals may get you frustrated.
- What’s the point of sapping out the fun in the whole process when you can set achievable goals?
- Gradually work your way up. Start with simple routines and then incorporate more complex exercises into your routines.
- For example, if you are still struggling to do 100 jumping jacks every morning, adding burpees to the list might be quite overambitious and then discouraging when you cannot achieve the goals.
- Do not become fixated on the weighing scale.
- Sometimes you may be making progress even though the number on the scale has not changed in a while.
- If you've kept active, you may have developed more toned arms or abdominal muscles and your tape measurements will show this.
- Celebrate your non-scale victories as well e.g. your skin looking better, or that pair of jeans that were a tad too tight now fitting perfectly etc.
- Get more outdoor playtime. This could be a great bonding time for you especially if you have children or younger siblings.
- Join them to play and fool around. You get to have fun while exercising.
- Do not sit at your desk all day at work. Move around more.
- Go get your own lunch or make that photocopy instead of having someone else do it for you.
- Reward yourself. It does not have to be with food or material things.
- You could make a calendar to track your activities. Put in smiling emojis to show that you have completed a session for the day.
- You can do this with a planner, your phone or stick a calendar somewhere in your home where you can paste emojis. This should encourage you to get lots of smiling emojis and also monitor how consistent you have been.
- Get creative and improvise. Want to start weight lifting but cannot afford dumbbells? You can fill plastic water bottles with sand.
- Want to try Zumba or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) but cannot afford to get a gym membership? Try YouTube and other free fitness apps. All you need is your comfortable sports gear and a bottle of water to get started.
- Remember that "easy does it". Something as simple as preparing your own meals works too.
- Going to the market, cooking and cleaning up afterwards can ensure that you get to move around.
- Have sex more often with your partner. You get to engage in some physical activity while enjoying intimacy.
Some of us do not naturally flow with exercise, but with a bit of inventiveness and clever thinking, you could make the best of every chance to get physically active while enjoying yourself and not feeling as if you have to exercise.
Any other tips for being physically active every day?
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