Let’s talk about how to not make working out suck. I think most people tend to view “exercise” as this painful and potentially dangerous activity that always messes up your hair and requires you to actually exert physical effort. I know, the horror. Don’t forget it requires time out of your day, too – though you probably wouldn’t think twice about spending the same amount of time driving to the store for ice cream. Just saying.
Note: All photos from Pinterest.
You have to earn treats. In my world, they aren’t – can’t be – allowed if you’ve been sitting on your ass all day. And there can’t be any gray area because that gives you room to make excuses and be a lazy ass and a fat ass. You have to move your ass and earn the ice cream if you want to have a nice one. The end. Continuing to enable yourself by giving into bad habits, whether unknowingly or out of defiance because you refuse to exercise your willpower and restraint, will only make your life harder. And your clothes tighter.
Learn to separate a hunger pang from craving pain. Giving into the idea that you need or deserve ice cream or an unnecessarily rich meal or fast food or whatever your vices fancy, on any kind of regular basis, only works with the “moderation” theory if you’re also doing something beneficial to offset what you eat.
Figure out what works for you and create habits from that. When it feels best or is easiest, what you actually enjoy doing, figure out how to stick with your plans. Be realistic with yourself and just START somewhere – anywhere. You won’t ever be successful at improving your health and fitness if you don’t try something (anything!) now to start learning what will work best for you in the long-term.
Here are a few ideas of what I do on the regular to add workout-esque moves into my day that doesn’t require the daunting time commitment or effort as “real” exercise.
How to Exercise without Trying.
- Take the stairs at the parking garage, your office, or up to your apartment. Obviously work clothes/shoes and apartment buildings may affect this decision, but a few flights of stairs will always do the booty good.
- Walk to the store or coffee on the weekend. Stop being so inclined to take the easy way out! This is a great way to get some time to yourself and get moving. There’s a grocery store about two miles from my house that’s down a scenic lake street, and I love taking the time to go on foot or walk my dog down to the marina.
- Stretch in the morning! Even just 10 minutes to warm up your body and get your blood flowing can do wonders for your mood all day, as well as help you tone up and take note of your physical state and being in general.
- If you’re cleaning or moving around the house, add in lunges, squats, pushups, situps or v-ups, planks and side planks… whatever you want, as you clean. Or do a short circuit every commercial break as you watch your fave TV show for a sneaky way to do like, 50 of each. Break up homework with a ten minute walk. Like, we know you’re probably wearing yoga pants anyway, put them to work and you have the perfect excuse to continue wearing them. I call it athletic chic.
- Go for a walk/run – but go at your own pace and the distance you please. Make it about the fact that you’re unplugging and spending some time by yourself, for yourself – not to burn a certain number of calories or clock in 5 miles on some fitness app. It’s an active quiet time to get away from the stress of your day and having to run at 100% in all other ways.
- Try a fitness or yoga video on Youtube. Sloane swears by Yoga with Adriene and has hooked me on her vids – they’re really lowkey and easy to follow. You can do them solo and anytime, plus you don’t have to think of what to do by yourself but just follow along with the guided practice. It’s a great way to work on your coordination and balance, flexibility and strength, and also to work on training your brain.
- Let’s not forget about mental exercises, like meditating. As with yoga, there is a huge benefit to breathing and making a real effort to “meditate,” though people tend to laugh because of its New Age trendiness right now. It’s helped me immensely, both with my anxiety and to help me focus generally. You can find guided ones on Soundcloud or Youtube and do them with headphones right at your desk, or just focus on your breathing and clear your head in a quiet space in your home for 5-10-15+ minutes at the same time each and every day. Being aware of and tending to your mental health is critical – at least as important for your overall wellness as the work you do for your physical health!
Don’t forget to train your attitude too… This type of workout is especially hard for me.
You don’t have to make what you do or consider to be a workout a huge deal or build it up mentally to be a burden. Exercise is good for you, and should be fun too. Grab a friend and go on a walk and just move your body. My Crossfit coach always talked about that, and I love the term. Moving your body is just cruising, not too intense – a moderate level of effort that won’t kill you. It’s the perfect medium where you might actually enjoy working out because it feels like you’re playing a trick on yourself by not working too hard.
There’s so many different ways to amp up regular activities and make them count for you and the benefit of your bod! How do you fit exercise in your busy schedule? Share in the comments.