One of my sisters is a holistic doctor, yoga instructor, and former trapeze artist. I would consider her extremely fit, motivated, and health-conscious. When I look at her toned arms and flat tummy, I just think, “Too bad the gene pool seems to have skipped me in the athletic department.”
So when I asked her if she had any tips to start getting regular exercise, I didn’t really expect simple, practical answers that would help a busy, non-athletic mom like me. But I got them. And here they are—3 simple things to help anyone start getting regular exercise.
1. Think of exercising like brushing your teeth.
You may be thinking that exercising isn’t like brushing your teeth—it’s like pulling teeth. And trust me, I’m with you. But hear me out. You brush your teeth every morning, right? You don’t really consider whether or not you want to brush your teeth today. You just do it. If you miss it, your teeth will feel gross and you won’t feel right all day.
Think of exercising the same way. It’s just part of your daily routine—something you don’t debate. You just do it, even if you do it quickly on some days (as we do with our teeth). If you don’t exercise that day, you’ll have less energy, less “get up and go.” So do it because it makes you feel good.
2. Set out your exercise clothes the night before.
I wouldn’t have thought this would really make a difference, but it has. I lay out my exercise clothes (including socks and shoes) in my bathroom the night before. If they aren’t too stinky after, I can use the same set for a couple days and hang them on a hook in the bathroom. Then in the morning, first thing, I put them on. Just having those clothes and shoes on, I feel much more likely to actually exercise.
I have a friend who puts her exercise clothes on (even the sports bra) before bed so she doesn’t have to change in the morning. She’s out the door in fewer than five minutes.
3. Just break a sweat.
This phrase helps me tremendously when I’m not “in the mood” to exercise (which, I’ll be honest, was quite often at first). It also helps when it gets cold outside and I’m feeling like I’d rather hibernate than exercise.
Your workouts don’t have to be complicated or lengthy. Just break a sweat. This will assure that your heart rate is up and your blood is pumping. Don’t compare yourself to the person running next to you who is going on her tenth mile. Just break a sweat. And do it however you want. Hate to run? That’s okay. Play basketball with your son or take a walk. I prefer the elliptical and dumbbells. As they say, “You do you.”
Thank goodness that getting regular exercise is a lot simpler than genetics. You don’t have to be a natural athlete to get and stay fit—you just have to have the right mindset.
You don’t have to be a natural athlete to get and stay fit—you just have to have the right mindset.
What are your tips for exercising regularly?