One size doesn't fit all: finding exercise that’s right for you
We all need some form of movement in order to live, or start to live a healthy lifestyle. We’re more connected in the contemporary world than ever before, so it’s easy to see how others are exercising, and it can encourage us to put unrealistic pressure and expectations on ourselves. But what works for one person, might not work for the next. There is a ridiculous amount of information out there about exercise, workout routines and the fitness industry in general. So how are we supposed to figure out if we do all of it, none of it, or mix and match bits and bobs of this and that?! Keep reading for our tips on how to find what might work for you so you can stick at the habit of moving well (and maybe even enjoy it too!).
There’s a common misconception that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise, well to any aspect of wellbeing really. That we need to lift weights to be strong, or run to do ‘good’ cardio. Oh, and that we need to master every form of movement we do! *Yawn…*. If we all have different likes, dislikes, abilities and bodies, how can that be so? Well, disclaimer: it isn’t so. Applying one approach to everyone is not only ineffective, it’s boring! There are so many ways that we can move and keep fit, it’s just about finding one that we connect with. From yoga to cross country, gardening to rock-climbing, we’re here to help you start your journey to finding the right exercise for you.
Think back to your childhood
Lots of us will find we used to be quite active, especially as a child. Hide and seek round the house and playing in the garden kept us busy, and quiet I’m sure. So if there are things we thoroughly enjoyed as children that kept us moving and grooving, what’s stopping us from giving it a go now? We’re not suggesting that you play hide and seek in the office (unless that’s encouraged by your management), but if you loved to dance as a kid, or play rounders at the park, rally your friends or take the dog for a walk and do whatever it is that used to get your blood and endorphins pumping!
Make it something you enjoy
Yes this may seem obvious, but if you see exercise as a chore, we can promise you you’re not going to enjoy it! If going to the gym makes your skin crawl, but you love Yoga With Adrienne, do that instead. There’s no rules to exercise. And equally, if getting up at 6am to go for a jog has you crying in your Monday morning meetings, save it for after work, or even on your lunch break. As we mentioned before, there are plenty of options - some we wouldn’t even think of as exercise. The more we enjoy the movement we’re doing, the more motivated we will be to do it - win, win… win!
Find your motivation
Maybe you want to lose a few pounds before your summer holiday, or you really enjoy gyming with your partner, or maybe the dog sitting by the front door with the lead in his mouth makes you give in and get moving. Having something that motivates us to exercise is much better than trying to force it. It can be small things like a personal best, a new gym fit, or blasting your favourite playlist through your headphones. Finding things that make it more fun is just what we need if we’ve lost the motivation to move - which, by the way, is not uncommon… we’ve allllll been there.
Yes, yes we know, we’ve said this one a few times before. But it’s only because it’s such a valuable point! Heard of exercise snacking? Let us introduce you… Exercise snacking is bite-sized pieces of movement that you can do throughout the day rather than an intense all-in-one workout. Some examples include, running up and down the stairs twice before you actually go up or down; when you stand up from a chair, sit down and stand up again; putting some music on whilst you hoover and having a boogie too; star jumps whilst you wait for the kettle to boil; playing with the dog, cat, kids or whoever’s around in between work meetings! The wonderful thing about exercise snacking is that you can fit it into your schedule, whatever you might be doing, think about how you can squeeze small bits of movement in. It can also be a great opportunity to get your brain thinking - be creative with it!
Be kind to yourself
Cliche? Yes, of course. But it is important to be compassionate towards yourself when it comes to exercise. It can leave us feeling down in the dumps if we can’t quite motivate ourselves to move, we don’t know how to move, or we’re not seeing any progress. Try and remind yourself that you’re only human - none of us are perfect! It’s okay if you have an off day, or a few for that matter. Just pick yourself up and try again when you can. Don’t push things if it doesn’t feel natural, and avoid social media or any environment that leaves us feeling less-than because we’re comparing ourselves, our bodies, or our workout regimes to other people’s.
Final thoughts: Exercise works differently for everyone. We don’t need to follow a trend or copy others because their progress is fantastic! Try different things, find out what you enjoy, and make the most of that! Focus on how the movement makes you feel, especially once you start framing it as a form of self-care. Focusing on the feeling rather than how we look or how much progress we’re making can remind us why it’s important for our mental and physical wellbeing. And if you get stuck - you know where to find us!