Did you make a New Year’s resolution to exercise this year? Are you still on track? Most people agree that adding exercise to their life is important, and yet, for a variety of reasons, many people end up falling back into their old habits. I've invited holistic movement and yoga therapist Allison Wilmes to offer some tips to help you make time and create habits to stay on course.
Compare your daily activities to your goals. It’s much easier to make time for things that are truly important to you rather than a “to-do” list of expectations. A useful practice can be to write a list of your common daily activities and see how well they fit in with your values and priorities. Are there any that can be eliminated or reduced? Can you hand some activities over to others to free up time in your day?
Add time to your day. Do you have pockets of wasted time between appointments or loads of laundry? Capture those extra minutes and fill them with movement! Go up and down your stairs an extra time. Walk around the block. Or use your exercise time to work through other problems. Rhythmic activities like walking a familiar path or using a stationery bike allows your brain to wander, stimulating new ideas or solutions to problems.
Set up a regular exercise time. You’ll be more likely to develop an exercise routine if you set aside a regularly scheduled time to exercise, whether it’s to hit a particular class at the gym, work with a personal trainer, or meet a friend for a walk. Do you have regular lunch breaks where you can fit in a few minutes of movement? Habits don’t change overnight; it can take 6-8 weeks of sticking to your new schedule before it feels natural in your daily routine.
Add technology. If you work on a computer for long periods every day, find a program that will give you a few exercises to do in your chair every hour. Make exercise a personal challenge with a Fitbit. Follow along with an exercise program on YouTube instead of watching a television show. Play your favorite music and dance while rinsing dishes or folding clothes.
Ready, set, go! If you will be going to another location to exercise, spend a minute or two the evening before to make sure your gym bag or equipment is ready to go. Have it by the door and set out your clothes the night before so you don’t have to gather things together in the morning. Put an energy bar or a piece of fruit on the table to grab on your way out.
The key to adding exercise to your day is to regularly add it! As long as it’s important enough to you, you’ll find ways to fit it in. Soon, exercising will be such an integrated part of your life, you won’t be able to imagine a day without it.
Guest columnist Allison Wilmes is a holistic movement and yoga therapist who helps those with chronic low back or hip pain jump back into the activities they love. She replaces ineffective and painful movement patterns with coordination, balance and self-awareness. Visit her at wisemovesyoga.com