Changing Your Mindset: Exercise

I have never been one for volunteering to do exercise. I used to try as much as possible to avoid exercise in any shape or form, except rounders or volleyball (I quite enjoyed those games) but apart from that, exercise wasn't for me.

Having said that, recently I have been trying to be more active in my day to day life. I don't mean running 10 miles in the morning and swimming 100 lengths in the afternoon. I mean just being more conscious of what I am actually doing in the day: am I sat around? Could I walk to work or the shop instead of driving? Taking a lunch break and going outside instead of staring at my computer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I'm just trying to be a bit more mindful of my activity throughout the day and thus I have formulated below what I have found that helps me get up and moving instead of being a couch potato.

Start of Slow:

Find what you think will be manageable to get your started. Perhaps your aim is to go for 1 walk a day, every day to get you moving and exploring what is around you. I find not looking at your phone and having it on silent or leaving it at home is a great way to also switch off from the outside world and be more observant of the things around you. Take into account wildlife, the sky, the weather, the temperature, are you walking quickly, slowly? Taking note of these things will allow you to focus on something new and interesting and make you more conscious of your surroundings.

Or, aim to walk 10,000 steps a day if you aren't very active at present. I like to track my steps on my Apple Watch as it tells you the amount of steps you've done throughout the day as well as how many miles/kilometres you've done and gives you little motivational prompts to keep going and to make sure you stay on top of your game!

Find Your Voice:

I don't know about you but I used to hate going to the gym. I just used to find it so boring and I could never really get into it. I used to listen to music whilst working out and I found myself clock watching continuously after each song to see how long I had left.

Now, I have found my voice. I have found that listening to podcasts has helped massively in my exercise routine and actually, I like going to the gym now. I enjoy looking for the next podcast that I can completely switch off too and consume without looking at the clock constantly. I also find myself feeling inspired and positive after finishing a work out as I feel as though I have not only exercised my body but also my mind. Some podcasts I have been enjoying are: Kalyn Nicholson, Emma Gannon and Fern Cotton to name but a few.

If podcasts aren't your thing then why not try listening to your current read on audio books or watching your favourite TV series on the treadmill. Or if you're into your music then create a half an hour playlist or an hour so you can listen to all your favourite songs without skipping and switching between to allow more time to exercise.

Change Your Habits:

A little similar to the above one, but why not change things up a little bit. If you're fortunate to have your school on your doorstep or place of work then why not walk or cycle if you're not already. You're not only helping yourself but you're also helping the environment by not contributing to global warming.

If you're not able to do the above then why not set your alarm a little bit earlier on a morning and make the effort to exercise before work or school. This doesn't have to involve going to the gym. It could be taking the dog for a walk an extra half an hour earlier or going for a early morning swim.

Make It Social:

Why not get those you know involved? Create a local walking club in your town or village, encourage your work colleagues to come with you on a lunchtime walk, make a ritual on a Sunday to go for a family walk and treat yourselves to a pub roast dinner on your return. Getting those dearest to you involve not only makes exercising less lonely but it also encourages others to be more active.

Record Your Progress:

I don't know about you but I love to work towards targets and goals so I like to record my progress with how I am getting on. Of course there will be good days as well as bad such as deciding to watch an extra episode of Friends instead of going to the gym. We've all been there, don't worry!

Despite this, it is important to record the bad days as it allows you to improve and see where you went wrong. However, we are all entitled to a cheat day every now and then so don't be so hard on yourself!