Simple steps to start
Firstly no beating yourself up. It’s human nature to defy all the best logic and intentions and keep the status quo. So acknowledging that lack of inertia is a good place to start. You don’t have to want to start exercising to actually start! In fact ask anyone who does work out regularly, it’s a big part of it to just get yourself to get going each day to keep the habit going too.
Once you start, you will see you will still have good days and bad days, and that is ok. You just need to accept your mood doesn’t have to be the reason you don’t get moving.
For many, the fun of fitness includes friends. If you have a workout buddy that does give a lot to help, though be sure you both focus on the fitness part and not fall into just socializing. Lunchtime powerwalks can be an easy place to start. Or morning dog walks (dogs are people too, right?).
Finding and setting up the routine is key here. Do you have a regular place to practice, whether a walking path, or yoga mat, or room in your home to exercise without distraction?
Youtube or even old school DVDs can make for easy access to fun workouts daily. You can keep the same channels and workouts or mix things up when want to break into a new skill or new drill. So even a tv, phone or tablet can be your workout partner and trainer.
Ready or not?
Overcoming any mental or physical constraints of course is essential to moving ahead into new fitness zones. Be mindful of your limitations and start simple, don’t get ahead of yourself, even once begun, keep the bar low to develop the habit not any desired result. Most important is to have compelling cause for wanting to workout. That will drive you ahead when feeling doubt, as much as enjoyment of the activities of choice.
So, finding a time and place, person to workout with, a clear mind and body, and good cause…
Keep it simple
Accept the bare minimum initially — getting suited up and psyched for some activity is first, so once there, just do what you can not what you think you should do. Maybe 15 minutes or walk one mile, or one block — do what you can to feel safely within your limits and return to repeat tomorrow!
You can mix it up too, especially with seasonal and other concerns. Indoor bike or floor stretches on Sunday, Yoga on Monday and Friday, Tuesday and Thursday strength exercises, and Wedneday walk, for example.
For some, variety breaks out of the perception of drudgery and also your body can experience the excitement of something different each workout. For others, the daily drill works best — taking that daily walk can become mentally as well as physically therapeutic. It may seem unlikely now, yet truly once you own your fitness experience it will carry you into higher levels of wellness you cannot walk away from!
Move on up
There is no goal or expectation for when you can exercise for 30 minutes every day. Avoid any talk that makes you feel discouraged or punitive. Compare yourself only to yourself. Hey I am not at my desk or couch. I am outside walking and that is 15 minutes of huge benefit for myself, both by working out, but also by not NOT working out!
Your momentum can carry you over those days when you feel discouraged. Know that the doing is more important than the feeling, and also once you get started your mood will change. Don’t be surprised if that 5, 10 or 15 minute workout turns into 20-30-40... good for you! Yet keep it simple and safe. Getting injured will set you back far more than any extra gains you are striving to achieve today. Remind yourself you are on the lifetime fitness plan!
Recognize your interests and attempts,
Decide what your lowest bar is for the particular workout routine you’re wanting to establish (50 steps, 5 minutes of pedaling or jogging, one round of sun salutations) and use this tiny benchmark whenever you catch yourself dreading exercise to at least maintain the framework of the routine.
Focus on the behavior, not the ideal duration or outcome
and find the zones that inspire you most.
You don’t have to keep a fitness log, but may want to mark off what days you worked out and for how long, to give yourself a sense of history and purpose. There are even apps that help track streaks — how long you can maintain a good habit over time.
Shake off the Shoulds
Now you’re getting in stride. It’s called your workout because it is yours. So keep to yourself about your gains and just get into the enjoyment of the game. Healthy habits are priceless, in comparison to doing nothing!
Setup the structure to win, and then get into it!
One pitfall though is to reward yourself for fitness, with something bad! Ouch. Don’t do it. Make fitness the reward! This cannot be understated. Make physical activity the fun highlight for each day.
You have a grocery list, make a fitness list! What are some activities you’ve often aspired to do. Make a list of them, skiing? bike riding? even horseback riding! Reaching those milestones are far more life altering than any food or counterproductive “reward”
Mix it up more now
Fill in fitness to everything you do! Do some easy yoga while the coffee brews. Some leg stretches while you brush your teeth. Take the farther (less crowded!) parking spot and walk those extra blocks. Oh yeah. It’s really that simple. You do not need a gym membership! You just need to use your time the right way.
Even make up some silly rules like:
- Stand up for instagram — only read social media on your phone while standing!
- Make extra trips when setting/clearing the table. Carry LESS than you can to make you make more steps — that adds up to a lot over the course of a day, week, year
- Put down your phone in another room so you have to get up to get to it. Especially if that keeps you from just sitting down and doom scrolling! Don’t carry the phone around, make yourself have to get up to answer it.
Now you’ve got it. There’s no reason to NOT exercise. Just move your body more, stay away from sedentary habits. The more you move, the more you get results. Give yourself a big hug and get walking!
Dr. Oksana Aron is medical weight loss physician: A medical expert trained in treatment of overweight and obese persons who may have struggled to lose weight other methods and seeking results where others have failed. Visit weightlossnyc.com for more information about the doctor and her weight loss programs.
Start losing weight today, with Dr. Aron and her team at WeightLossNYC.com