Too often, we forget to prioritise ourselves and make time for our health. Maybe you feel guilty for taking time out? Maybe you just feel too tired? Whatever the reason, it’s got to stop.
Exercise not only boosts your immune system and reduces your risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, it also gives you more energy. This means more energy to dedicate to your kids, your job, your friends and your partner.
When we start to put ourselves first and engage in regular exercise, many of the concerns we have around exercise and movement start to melt away. Additionally there is a mounting body of evidence supporting the role of exercise in managing depression and anxiety and improving mental health outcomes.
WHAT’S HOLDING US BACK?
The most common reasons given for forgoing exercise are:
- Lack of time
- Feeling tired
- Lack of motivation
- Not having friends to exercise with
- Feeling self-conscious about appearance
Let’s look at some strategies to overcome these barriers and help us to put ourselves first when it comes to staying active:
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME…
It may sound cliché but the five “P” rule contains the truth. That is, “prior planning prevents poor performance”. Think about how you might be able to fit some exercise into your day and make it an “appointment” in your diary.
IF YOU’RE TOO TIRED…
Becoming fatigued is part of life, especially if you’re a parent juggling a job, children and a partner. However, it’s well established that regular exercise can help improve resistance to fatigue.
A strategy that often proves helpful is establishing a morning exercise routine before your day begins! Many fitness experts suggest that early morning exercisers are more consistent in their exercise routine than their evening counterparts. You get a positive and energizing start to the day and if life gets in the way, you can rest easy knowing you’ve taken good care of yourself.
IF YOU LACK MOTIVATION…
Robert McKain famously wrote that “action precedes motivation”. Put simply, it’s not worth waiting for the motivation to exercise. Like Nike suggests, overcoming this barrier is really a case of “just do it!”. Practical tips that you can use include setting out your exercise clothing the evening before or making an “exercise date” with a friend to keep you committed.
IF YOU FEEL SELF-CONSCIOUS…
It’s natural to feel self conscious, especially when trying out a new activity. Be prepared and choose exercise clothing that feels comfortable and good to move in. Although we recommend choosing exercise you enjoy, if body image and feeling self-conscious is getting you down, consider giving strength training a go. Explore various forms of movement and find out what gives you joy.
It’s important that we love and value ourselves – and a regular exercise program is one of the best gifts of self love that we can give. Taking time away from ourselves for our busy lives and participating in physical activity is essential to a happy, healthy and well balanced life.