Find Your Movement Mojo

We all know that physical activity is beneficial to our overall wellbeing, and yet we often can’t seem to get ourselves going. For many of us, creating healthy exercise habits amidst the busyness of daily life can be a daunting act of courage and self-discipline.

The fact that it can take weeks or even months to reap many of the benefits associated with exercise can be disheartening, and it’s easy for the excuses to pile up.

Sports science professional Lotte Hamm-Henning shares her tips for establishing and maintaining a positive exercise routine.

IDENTIFY YOUR BARRIERS

Research shows that the greatest barriers to engaging in physical activity are a lack of time, energy and motivation. As each individual’s obstacle and experience is different, there is no blanket approach. You need to find something that works for you, systematically identifying and overcoming your own barriers to establishing and maintaining the positive new lifestyle habit. Start by taking a moment to consider the top three reasons you cite when resisting exercise. What is it that keeps getting in the way? Alongside each, list a realistic way of overcoming the challenge.

FOR EXAMPLE:

CHALLENGE: “I’m a morning person who struggles to get motivated and off the sofa in the evening. I also enjoy retreating into solitude when not at work.”


SOLUTION: “I design my days around an early morning exercise sesssion, which I enjoy alone.

CHALLENGE1: .....................................................................................................................................................................................

SOLUTION:...........................................................................................................................................................................................

CHALLENGE2: .....................................................................................................................................................................................

SOLUTION:...........................................................................................................................................................................................

CHALLENGE3: .....................................................................................................................................................................................

SOLUTION:...........................................................................................................................................................................................

FOLLOW YOUR JOY

Once you’ve identified your exercise challenges and found ways to overcome them, it’s time to find a form of exercise you enjoy! It can take a fair deal of willingness and patience to explore the various options, but it’s certainly worth the effort. If you enjoy something enough, you’ll find ways of overcoming your barriers. Joining a gym that offers a range of activities is just one option. Ask your family, friends and colleagues for ideas and suggestions of where and how to get started. If you really struggle to find something that catches your fancy, start by simply making an effort to increase your activity during the day. Swopping your time on social media for a walk around the block may be more rewarding than you think.

CHOOSE FREQUENCY OVER INTENSITY

As exciting as it may be to overcome your barriers and find exercise that you enjoy, don’t deplete all your motivation by exhausting yourself in the first few days or weeks. Start slow, allowing your body to adjust to its new active life. The World Health Organisation recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous or cardiovascular activity a week. This guideline should allow you to pace yourself and stay motivated for a prolonged period of time. When you’re ready, you can ramp up your moderate activity to 300 minutes a week, adding strength training exercises for all the major muscles groups twice a week.

KEEP IT INTERESTING

Consider shaking up your exercise routine before you start becoming bored with your new habit. Try changing your training days, increasing or decreasing the frequency of your sessions, exploring a new activity, setting a goal or signing up for an event.

REST AND RECOVER

Once you get to the stage where you can call yourself physically active, remember the importance of rest. It’s an essential part of training, and very often overlooked. A lack of motivation, fatigue and injury are just a few of the symptoms that indicate that your body and mind need a break. Most athletes enjoy doing some stretches, taking a hot bath, sleeping in or spoiling themselves to a massage.

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