Science Based Hacks for Starting an Exercise Routine

Many of us know we should add exercise into our daily routine, yet most of us have a lot of excuses for why we don’t want to do it.  Lack of energy, time, money and confidence are frequent responses.  How can you get yourself to love exercise or at least like it?  How can you motivate yourself to get started exercising and how can you turn exercise into a habit?  Let the latest science motivate you!  Hint… it’s not as hard as you think.

Exercise doesn’t have to be intense in order to get the benefits.  If you want to GET more exercise start by reframing what you think of exercise.  Many people have a lot of misconceptions about what exercises they have to do in order to receive the benefits.   Our culture often promotes the idea that we have to engage in rigorous uninterrupted exercise for at least 30 minutes to get the benefits.  The truth you don’t have to be a marathoner or a gym rat to get health benefits from exercise.  Very small bouts of exercise add up and small achievable movements are an essential part of building up fitness.  Think of initiating an exercise program like a ladder.  Starting as small as standing up and sitting down in your chair 10 times or even taking a 5-minute walk.  It helps to clear fat and sugar out of blood just by moving.  Then working up to three 10-minute bouts of physical activity.   These shorter bursts of exercise give you similar benefits as one longer bout of exercise and maybe more palatable.

The best way to stay motivated is to focus on the way exercise makes you feel.  When it comes to motivation research shows we should stop focusing on the end result.   Science tells us that for the majority of people exercising to improve health, avoid disease, or to lose weight are not very good motivators.   The reason why wanting to lose weight is a bad motivator is that it takes way too long to see any payoff.  The bottom line is that it is much easier to eat 600 calories having a muffin on the way to work than it is to burn 600calories through exercise.  So instead of focusing on that future beach body or the way you want to look at your reunion,  focus on all the immediate rewards you get from exercise. The immediate positive experience we get when we move is the most potent motivator for continuing to do it.

Instead of forcing yourself to do exercise that makes you feel bad or is not enjoyable, figure out what kind of exercise and exercise location that makes you feel good!  If you hate working out at the gym, then ride a bike in the park, take a walk with a friend, get an exercise video and weights to do at home or with a friend.  You should craft your physical movement so that we want to do it so that we are able to do it today, tomorrow and the rest of your life.

 

 

TAKEAWAYS WHEN IT COMES TO STARTING EXERCISING:

  1. Everything counts when it comes to movement, so chose to move at every opportunity you can and know that even short bouts of exercise have real measurable health benefits
  2. Think of exercise as a ladder.  Start small and build up.  The more you do, the more you can do!
  3. Motivate your exercise by feeling the immediate benefits
  4. Keep trying different things until you find a mode of exercise you really like.