Where do you start? Literally, if you want to increase the amount of exercise into your life, how do you make that happen—especially if you haven’t been active recently?
Pro-tip: you’re not starting at zero
Unless you just came out of a multi-year coma (or were recently frozen in carbonite), you have some level of physical capacity. In other words, there’s stuff that you can do every day. Not just any stuff either. Stuff that feels energizing to do. Maybe it’s a long walk (or a very short walk). Maybe it’s working on technical skills for your favourite sport. Maybe it’s being able to raise your arms up and down.
Your current abilities are a big deal to some people. And a little deal to others. There is no human being who isn’t subject to this law. Appreciate what you can do and don’t sweat the rest.
Make it fun
If you’re adding another 20 minutes of walking, it might be time for that podcast you’ve been meaning to check out. If “light” to you feels like a casual kettlebell complex, then put on your favourite jam and your lucky underwear. I may just be spitballing here, but I’ll bet that you’re more likely to do stuff that you enjoy than stuff you don’t.
Would you bet everything you own on your ability to do it daily? If not, shrink it down the challenge. The goal is to rarely—if ever—break your habit chain. That is powerful mojo. Remember, also, that you choose the level of difficulty. So, choose wisely.
How often do you think you should be working out?
We find that ~60 minutes of light daily activity + three more intensive workouts per week is the sweet spot for many people.
Your version of perfect may be different, which is fine. But what is that vision? Does space for it exist in your calendar? Even a very small, very accessible version of that same thing? If not, you have to ask if something with lower priority is taking its place.
Real talk: if you’re not scheduling it, you’re not prioritizing it. You need to free up the time before you can fill it.
All of the above is terrific—if it actually works for you. What if it doesn’t—or just doesn’t work quickly enough?
Get more support
Get a workout buddy, create accountability, find community, hire a coach, get counselling or strategic feedback. Any one of these things can work. If things aren’t moving forward, the question is which one you’ll need to bridge the gap.
Find your cruising speed
Too much too soon can be overwhelming. Too little too late can be the opposite. Balance your need for progress with what you can consistently execute.
Give yourself some credit for the work you do
Celebrate your wins. Every time. They’re real. And they matter.