Finding a movement type that works for you is an essential part of developing an active lifestyle. If you don’t enjoy working out don’t work out… do something else that gets you moving.
I never set foot in a gym until college where I minored in exercise science so I figured I better find out a little more about my field. I found that I really liked my weightlifting theory class but didn’t really like any machines at the gym. Treadmill and weight machines weren’t for me. I still don’t really love doing a lot of workout classes; but I do love playing sports like ultimate frisbee or running track and field in high school. I did hurdles and pole-vault and flag football. I loved sports but never really enjoyed the gym. I also loved dancing and swimming.
After graduating from college and becoming a mother I found that my opportunities for these types of sports seemed to all but disappear. There was still the long distance running that many people seemed to like for people in my stage of life… but I like sprinting not distance. I tried a few races but it didn’t energize me or excite me like I wanted. Since becoming a mom I have tried Zumba, Yoga, running 5k’s or 10k’s, walking, hiking, and other fitness classes. Most of these I didn’t stick with. It’s not because they aren’t good workouts it’s because I don’t enjoy them.
So what is the perfect workout plan for you? One that you will stick to. Something that is rewarding for more than the calories burnt or how it makes your body look. Something that you love to do just for the sake of doing it. I found that I enjoy going swimming with my family and I finally found a fitness class that I love called functional fitness training. I have also searched for situations that could bring back some of the feels of the things I loved in college. I have a feeling I would still enjoy joining a flag football league or frisbee club.
In order for movement to be an integral part of your life that is more of a habit and not a chore, it does need to be something you enjoy. An active lifestyle is enjoyable because you have found something active that you enjoy. What do you need to do to find what you love?
Try out new types of movement
I would never have known that I love functional fitness classes if I hadn’t tried it out. As you see above I tried out a lot of different things but nothing really stuck with me. I love my class because it is engaging and varied and it helps me feel more athletic and capable or comfortable playing other sports. You could look around your area and see what types of gyms or fitness classes or clubs they have. Some around my area would include the recreation center, hiking clubs, and team sports. You could also think about new skills that you would like to develop that would get you moving such as gymnastics, horseback riding, or swimming.
Start slow in building an active lifestyle
Maybe you want to do Zumba but don’t feel comfortable joining a class at your current fitness level. Or you want to join a team but don’t feel like an amazing athlete. Starting small is important as you set habits that can build on one another to develop a more active lifestyle. If you haven’t worked out in a long time you want to honestly ask yourself what you can keep doing.
Don’t go out and run 3 miles if you haven’t ever run before. Start with a half mile. Then the next week go a little further and so on. You will develop a habit that you can actually maintain if you are honest with your capabilities and don’t try to kill yourself while exercising. You could start by walking daily or taking a class that will up your fitness level before trying the thing you are super interested in. Starting slow is a form of commitment. You know you don’t have to go crazy and kill yourself working out today because you are going to be working out tomorrow too and the next day…and the next day.
Think outside the box
Your chosen movement doesn’t have to be just working out at the gym. Like I said above I hated going to exercise classes. You could join a sports team or a hiking club. Try mastering a new skill such as swimming, skateboarding, gymnastics. You could build something for your home. You can get a new hobby that has more movement in it. Start commuting to school or work on a bike or walking.
The point is that it doesn’t have to be exercise in the traditional sense of going to the gym or setting aside an hour each day to move. Movement can and should be fun and become a natural part of your life. Maybe it’s Frisbee Fridays with a group of friends or it’ metal detecting that will get you up and moving. When we think outside the box to include our movement it helps us in more ways than one. Not only do we get in better shape but we also discover the world around us, build relationships, and develop personal talents.
Make time to incorporate movement into your life
I found that this was a very important part of my fitness journey. I tried out a few classes at the gym and when I found one I loved I talked to my husband and we decided he would take the kids each day so I could work out at 9 AM. Every day I get to go to my 9 AM class and I don’t have to decide when or how I’m going to workout or what I’m going to do with the kids and such. I’ve already made all of those decisions so even on days when I’m feeling sluggish I don’t just put it off till it doesn’t get done. If I don’t make the 9 then I’m probably not working out.
This can also be done with other activities besides classes. I’ve also considered going for a morning hike with my kids 2 or three times a week. If your days are too busy it does take effort to set aside the time to go hiking or to the park or wherever. Once you find something you love you will be looking forward to that time instead of it feeling like a chore.
Re-evaluate and try something else
This is also an important step. Try different classes or activities. We are all different and like different activities. Maybe you hated your first workout class. Don’t let that keep you from exploring other types of activities you might enjoy! Don’t write off getting active because of one class or one activity. Keep exploring and you are bound to find something you enjoy. I’ve also noticed that what you enjoy may change. As I was returning to a more active lifestyle after having a baby I didn’t want something intense and was super nervous about jumping in on a game of volleyball because I didn’t feel confident. As I went to classes that I did feel comfortable in and started getting stronger and more athletic that confidence came back and I’m now able to feel comfortable doing a lot more activities.
I hope you found this article helpful. Please share what you love to do that helps you stay more active in you life! Lets inspire each other.