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Getting Back on the Excercise Bandwagon--how do you do it?


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Aside from the Nikeism "Just do it," of course...

 

I used to be really physically active...a regular gym goer. Now I can't seem to get back into it, even though I KNOW it will be good for both my mood and energy levels.

 

What have people done to get back into exercise after a year or more very much NOT taking care of theselves physically?

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I feel your pain on this one.

 

Start slow.

 

Set small, but achievable goals you can measure that give you a little wiggle room. For example "Go to the gym and work out every day" is less specific and measurable than "30 minutes of something that makes me sweat 3 days a week".

 

Another strategy I've seen is "don't break the chain"... use some kind of visual calendar and put a check mark on each day that you do your "thing". Then see how many days in a row you can meet your goal.

 

What are your motivations/values that exercise reflects for you? Is it knowing you're being healthy and good for your body? Do you get fewer symptoms when you have regular physical activity? Writing down your motivations and how exercise is consistent with your values can be a help when you're not feeling motivated.

 

There's some research to support that people who exercise in the morning have more consistent rates of actually completing exercise. I can certainly see how other things get in the way, but I'm not a morning person, so I'm choosing to ignore that for the time being.

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I'm in the same boat.  I know it's hard to get motivated after a relatively long absence from working out regularly.

 

I usually start out with walking and setting very small, attainable goals to start.  I like Woo's suggestion of making the goals specific and identifying how exercise can be personally meaningful.

 

Also, if you like music, you could make an upbeat playlist of music to listen to.  Sometimes there are one or two songs that make me want to just get up and move!

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For me it is a matter of making exercise "fun."  We bought an exercise bike and my girlfriend uses it regularly... but I hate being on it... it is loud and so boring.

 

My exercises of choice are hiking, mountain biking, or trail running.  I enjoy all of these activities because they are out in nature.  I am lucky enough to live about 30 minutes away from good trails.

 

You could join a meetup group of people who do an exercise activity... walking, jogging, hiking, etc.

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I think I'm about to do this too and I'm actually excited about it this time, so that's cool. Usually when I think about it, it's like "ugh that's such a huge commitment, I don't know, blah blah blah."

Yeah, start off slowly. I'm dreading finding how incredibly out of shape I am and am expecting devastating amazement at this, but whatever. My plan was 30 minutes a few days a week like they said above.

 

I won't do the gym. Maybe when I feel like I won't look like an ass there (which is dumb because no one really looks like an ass at the gym, and if you do, there's another ass to your left and in front of you or whatever) so I have instructional shit at home that isn't terribly intimidating. Can start off with whatever I want. I'm not going two years being sedentary and then just throwing myself into P90X or some crazy shit. That would be discouraging as hell.

 

So now I just do that stuff when no one is home. I have time like that at least 4 days a week. That's not bad. 

 

I just am NOT setting high expectations for myself in the beginning at all. 

 

Fun is a good suggestion! I have a thing on the Kinect for the XBOX that is kinda fun. You can do all kinds of shit on that one. Work out whatever part of your body and then yoga and all kinds of dancing shit or whatever. Enough to keep me busy and I can try a lot of things and see which one I like the best while also figuring out what I need to do to work on my "problem" areas.

 

I am just WORKING UP to going to the gym within the next 5 months or so by doing this. I am very afraid of the gym. Ha ha. Would rather be in the privacy of my own house.

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I'm a big fan of more active living.

Take the stairs one floor (or three) instead. Walk around the block every day. Then walk two blocks. Then three. Don't drive to the store for small things like cereal. You can walk there. Get take-out rather than delivery (and don't drive there). Get off the bus a stop early. Walk the rest of the way. Carry your groceries for longer. Try doing bicep curls with them if you feel ambitious. Can you do three? What about five? What about two sets of five while you're waiting for the bus?

Things like that build up your endurance so that, when you start something more strenuous it isn't so immediately exhausting and thus discouraging.

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For me it was a matter of finding the right kind ... what I felt like I could do all the time ... which was exercising outside.  Anything inside I absolutely HATE.  So I go for about an hour walk almost every morning outside.  I love the cold weather to walk in, but do go out in the summer too.  I find that I just can't commit to something like a gym.

 

I also came to terms with breaking a sweat, which a long time ago I hated doing, so I avoided most exercise.  Now I like breaking a sweat when exercising because afterwards I feel so much better overall.

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Thank you all for some really great encouragement. I think perhaps I have been focusing so much on what I *used to* do that I get overwhelmed by the "distance" I need to go to get there...BUT I just have to keep reminding myself that this is NOT a competition, it's about health and feeling good.

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I encourage people to just go outside and walk for 15 minutes.  If you can do that the first day, and walk 20 minutes the second day---well, you are on your way to a healthy habit.  If regular gym workouts seem like too much right now, do something simple like take a walk every day.  If you do it for 4 or 5 days, it starts to become a part of your routine.

 

olga

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Today I saw a sign in the elevator that said "walk up one flight of stairs; walk down two flights of stairs" because there are not enough elevators for the number of people using them. Live your life that way, and increase the distances that you climb and descend when it starts to get easy.

And yes. Don't compare to where you used to be. You'll just hurt yourself.

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I agree with starting slow. I think cycling is good because it's low-impact and you can make it as easy or hard as you want to. Second hand exercise bikes are cheap, sometimes even free. I have mine facing the TV. Pick an activity you enjoy, though. Swimming, jogging, yoga, weights, Pilates etc. If you enjoy it in some way, you'll be more likely to stick with it. Make a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timelined. So you could say 10 minutes, three times a week to start off with. Planning exactly what time on what days you'll exercise helps too. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I paid a years membership in full and I still won't go to the gym. It's actually getting there that's the problem. And intimidation. And nobody I know to look forward to seeing there to motivate me more (I cannot afford a personal trainer).

My husband just fixed the Wii so I could start that again (I like yoga and strength training).

Yeah, the key for me is to just get up and START moving.

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