“If it’s important to you, you will find a way to do it.
If it’s not important to you, you’ll find any excuse not to do it.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that exercise and a healthy body are important. Believe it or not, most people still find it difficult to fit exercise into their daily lives.
There is always some sort of excuse to prevent people from breaking a sweat–whether it’s not enough time, lack of motivation, or you fill in the blank. Whatever the excuse, staying inspired and motivated to start and then keep exercise in your life is not easy.
Even I’ve been guilty of neglecting exercise. That’s right… San Diego’s “healthy aging coach” and poster boy for a healthy lifestyle is not perfect. The truth is, no one is perfect.
You can lose weight, get fit, and live a better life, by just changing your eating habits. When I started out, I lost 35 pounds by eating right alone. Of course, that took over 2 years, plus it’s hard to maintain that weight loss over the long term without regular exercise to keep my metabolism up.
I learned early that in order to lose weight and then control it, I had to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. A big part of that was to make exercise a priority.
You, me, everyone wants to look our best. Exercise certainly helps. That’s just one reason. There are other reasons why exercising on a regular basis is a good idea. Here’s just 5 reasons—besides losing weight—that exercise is important.
1. Exercise Increases Energy
When you exercise on a regular basis, you improve your muscle strength, increase your endurance, and help your lungs and heart work more efficiently. Just ask your health care professional. All this adds up to more energy to tackle your day.
2. Exercise Reduces Stress
We all have our good days and our bad days. Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? Did you know that a quick workout—say 20 to 30 minutes—can help you relieve stress? It doesn’t even have to be anything strenuous—just take a brisk walk. It could make all the difference in your outlook for the rest of the day.
3. Exercise Helps You Sleep Better
Exercise, along with plenty of fresh air, can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Just be sure you don’t exercise to close to bedtime.
4. Exercise Puts Spice Back Into Your Sex Life
It’s a simple mathematical formula…
Increased Energy + Reduced Stress + More Sleep = Yowzer!
5. Exercise Improves Your Mood
- Exercise reduces your stress
- Exercise increases your energy
- Exercise enhances your sleep
- All this means you’re sex drive is better
I don’t know about you, but that would put me in a good mood!
I think those are 5 pretty convincing reasons to include exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Yet… a lot of people still don’t exercise—even a little. So I started asking people what stops them from exercising. Would you like to know the top two reasons people don’t exercise?
They Don’t Have The Time
This is the number one excuse most people use for not exercising. I can understand and sympathize. We all live busy lives. I also know that when something is a priority, then we will make the time. That’s why I wrote the quote at the top of this post.
They Don’t Have The Energy To Exercise
Again, we all live busy lives. Our daily lives are stressful with responsibilities of home, work, family and social obligations, and friends. All that stress can disturb our sleep, making us tired from lack of proper rest. Generally, life can suck the energy right out of you. When you figure in the lack of exercise, it’s no wonder people are always sick and tired.
However, if you’re tired of being sick and tired all the time, exercising on a regular basis will give you more energy. Sometimes you have to give of yourself. That additional push can get you started. Once the ball is rolling, believe me, it does get easier.
How To Commit To Exercise & Make It A Priority
Starting a new habit will be not be easy. People are creatures of habit and don’t like getting out of their comfort zones—or off the couch in this case. Yes… it’s going to be difficult and uncomfortable at first. There will be setbacks. Even I find it difficult to fit exercise into my life. You’re probably wondering, “If it’s going to be difficult, then why bother?” I know from personal experience, plus the experience of all the people I work with on a daily basis, that when it’s really important for long term weight maintenance, then we make it a priority in our lives and just keep trying, never giving up. Here are some tips that have helped my clients and me in the past.
Be Realistic; Start Slow
My personal weight loss and fitness story has been a long one full of twists and turns, leaps forward, and setbacks. On a daily basis, it appears to move at a snails pace. I’ve learned that anything that works quickly never lasts long. It’s true what they say, “anything that lasts takes time.” I advise my clients to begin by setting small, achievable goals. When you set a goal where you can already see the end result, for instance, you’ll find that it’s easy to achieve. Small victories lead to more small victories. Several small victories add up to a larger victory. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going to run on the treadmill everyday“, I’ll set a smaller goal of running twice.
Keep your personal goals realistic so they’ll easily fit into your lifestyle. For exercise to work, it needs to fit seamlessly into your life. If you have to rearrange your whole life just to work out more, it probably won’t happen.
Here’s another scenario: In January, most people who join a gym as part of a New Years resolution, only go once or a couple times, then never again. Their excuse is that after work the last thing they want to do is spend another hour of their already crowded life working out. Each year, thousands of people try to convince themselves they can make it work, but it never does. So they stop working out all together. Exercise needs to be an activity that fits around your lifestyle.
First, Get Exercise Onto Your Calendar
For many busy professionals, if something isn’t on their calendar it doesn’t exist. When you make an appointment—or date—with yourself and physically add it to your calendar (along with the time to get there and back), you have made an “intentional” decision to do it. Make it a priority. Hold yourself accountable. It’s a lot harder to just forget about exercise when the auto-reminder pops up.
Now that exercise is on your calendar, it’s much easier to plan ahead. Let me give you an example: If you’ve scheduled your exercise for Tuesday mornings, you know you have to put out your workout clothes, sneakers, and other exercise supplies (water, towel, etc.) the night before. Your time is valuable. You don’t want to keep yourself waiting while you search around for your sneakers. Just as you’d prepare properly before meeting with a client, you’ll be more likely to plan ahead so you can keep your goals moving forward. And business is not an excuse for skipping either. Clients understand if you’re booked between 8:00 and 9:00 on those Tuesday mornings. It’s none of their business what you’re doing, and they will respect you more and work within your schedule of openings besides the time you are working out. You wouldn’t cancel another client to accommodate another’s schedule would you? Why are you any less valuable than your customers?
Get The People In Your Life Involved
This is huge. It’s especially important for busy moms. There are honestly times where setting time aside for strength or cardiovascular training is very difficult or downright impossible.
When kids are involved, get them included in your exercise. When a traditional workout is not possible, another way to get a good sweat is to put on your favorite music and dance. Trust me, kids will love this; especially if you get them involved, too. You can do more than just dance. Try doing jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, running in place, anything that gets the heart pumping, and do it to the rhythm of the music. If weather permits get everyone outdoors for a walk, a hike, or to play kickball or soccer. It’s great for spouses, kids, pets, friends, everyone! The point here is to be active.
Get Creative With Inexpensive Equipment
In my studio, we often make the equipment we need by getting things from the hardware store and building it ourselves. We make our own mix tapes. If you can’t hire a fitness professional, join a gym, or don’t have a designated workout room in your home; don’t make that an excuse not to exercise.
Playing music to dance to costs you nothing. Rhythmic movements to the beat of the music can potentially help you burn hundreds of calories. You can purchase used exercise equipment if you have the space for it, but it’s not really necessary.
Maybe you’ll find exercise videos inspirational. You can find lots of them for very little expense at thrift stores, garage sales, or even on Amazon.com. Some public libraries might even have exercise videos you can borrow for free. There are also millions of workout videos on YouTube.
You might even get a good laugh with some of those homemade YouTube videos. The point is, you are only limited by your imagination.
What tips do you have to prioritize exercise?