Exercise has many great health benefits, and physical activity is truly essential for our well-being.
The knowledge that exercising is good doesn’t always translate into actually following through with our plans.
Getting started can be challenging, and maintaining a consistent routine can be even harder, especially when fitting it around a busy schedule.
Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, there are still plenty of ways to get in some extra exercise during the day.
Small Activities With Big Benefits
Increasing your physical activity doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym. Sometimes, the most effective path to getting more exercise involves making a few small changes to what you are already doing:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park farther away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Set a timer on your phone to get up and move around every hour.
- Walk your dog farther, faster, or more often.
- Stretch or do a quick exercise while watching TV or during the commercial breaks.
- Dance while you’re cleaning or cooking.
- Work standing up instead of sitting at a desk.
- Have more sex.
All of these small activities can add up and make a difference in your overall physical activity level without taking up too much of your time or adding stress to your day. These little breaks from sitting or being inactive can help to reduce your daily stress.
Increasing Motivation and Removing Obstacles
Look beyond the physical side of exercise and consider the psychological and emotional influences on your routines also.
- What are your reasons for wanting to be more active?
- What obstacles prevent you from getting more exercise?
- What prevents you from making time for it?
- What emotional blocks or negative thoughts keep you from following through?
- Are the excuses you use valid, rational, and honest?
- Are you selecting physical activities that are enjoyable and sustainable for you?
- Are you doing things that are too easy to feel rewarding?
- Are you doing things that are too hard and discouraging?
- What activities can you get better at and feel satisfied with your progress?
- Do you have supportive people in your life who will encourage and help you reach your goals?
- Are there fun activities that you can do together with friends or family?
- How can you expand your definition of “physical activity” to include overlooked forms of healthful movement?
Write down your answers in a journal or notebook. Think of other questions you can ask yourself to assess your emotional relationship with exercise and begin making changes that will help you be more motivated and successful.
There is no one perfect solution for everyone when it comes to getting more exercise, but by taking a closer look at what’s holding you back, you can start making small steps in the right direction.