Most people know about the benefits of exercise, many have taken up exercise but were unable to continue, and then there are those who cringe at the very idea of exercise and wonder about the people who lead active lifestyles, make it to gym everyday or play some kind of sport. So, what’s different about the people who exercise routinely, do they have a different DNA code, how do they stay motivated and do they ever struggle; one may wonder. If it were that easy to stay motivated to work out, wouldn’t we all have wash board abs and great physique. Plus there is the additional responsibility of eating smart and making healthy food choices. Do these super energetic and athletic people ever struggle?
From my personal experience. Yes. There is always the struggle to get out of bed early morning especially when you are feeling a bit low or the weather is cold or you have had heavy workload the previous day. Even fitness instructors and athletes have the urge to binge every now and then on their favourite food; this is not the exclusive battle of the ‘exercise not’ group. What different though is the mindset, it’s the ability to find motivation in your most challenging hour.
Some of the things that people who are committed to regular exercise and wellbeing do are:
Be open to learning and change: Whenever you feel like you are hitting a plateau in your mind or your goals, take a new class, try something different, get a pep talk, listen to music that frees you up and gets you in the mood, watch a motivational video, or buy a new pair of trainers, whatever works for you.
Never feel restricted. It’s okay to miss a class or two but to just derail is not okay. Eat a small bit of something you love every day if you must, but don’t go overboard. A healthy lifestyle is something to be enjoyed, not a punishment. Remind yourself why you do what you do and learn to listen to your body. For example, often people mistake thirst for hunger. What a glass of pure clean drinking water would do for your body is far greater than the extra food you push into your system.
Plan your meals. It’s easy to derail on this one. The excuses are plenty from lack of time to lack of discipline. Eat as many home-cooked, freshly prepared meals as you can in the week. Avoid the teas and coffees that often accompany meeting with friends or colleagues. Go vegetarian for at least 2-3 days a week. Eat at the same time every day. Eat to mild fullness. Understand your food and what it does to nourish your body and you will automatically eat healthier.
There’s always time. For most people who say that they just don’t have time for exercise, I say it’s just a lack of prioritisation and intent. There’s always time. And even if you have genuinely very hectic schedules, you can fit in short but effective exercise routines into your day. Rise half an hour earlier if you must but commit to your health and wellbeing. You don’t have to aim for big goals, start small. Get professional help if you need it for guidance, clarity and to stay motivated. Find something you love to do; it can be something as simple as walking or running.
Practice gratitude. You may wonder how this helps but just think about all the people lying in bed sick and hurting or those who are physically unable to move, and this will give you a different perspective on all that you have and are capable of achieving. Just to have the basic ability to move is a great thing to be thankful for.
Working out is also about working within. The physical benefits of exercise are innumerable so are the mental benefits. Exercise helps release stress, gives you clarity and makes you feel good. People who exercise regularly have a more positive outlook to life, have more energy and are generally healthier and happier.