How to build self-discipline to exercise regularly
A common thing that I see with many people who make several changes with their diet but do not improve their health is the lack of adequate exercise.
Do you struggle with getting disciplined about exercise? Are you one of those people who manages everything during your day except your exercise? Then this article is just for you!
Struggling to push yourself to exercise regularly?
Exercise can be the difference between you not getting those results for yourself in terms of weight and health, and you feeling fantastic!
A lot of people tell me that they don’t need to exercise since they do not have a sedentary lifestyle and that they are on their feet all day. This is just not the same. You could be on your feet all day but having different forms of exercise that include restorative, cardiovascular or aerobic, anaerobic, HIIT, burst training, strength training, stretching, or resistance training have different benefits, just like you eat different foods for different reasons. Being on your feet at work is not exercise, and therefore, the answer lies in you getting disciplined.
Can't make up your mind at all?
It’s time to commit to exercise and there are several guidelines that will help you to slowly get more focused and have better discipline.
1. Timing plays a key role. If you have a work schedule where you start work very early in the morning, then you just may not have the resources to add that into your morning schedule. In that case, don’t worry. Perhaps it’s the other way around where you wind up work very late into the night, but you have a late morning start.
Based on your work schedule always make it a non-negotiable one hour for yourself. It might take a month to get committed to it but putting it into your scheduler and having a reminder will ensure that you start creating that habit.
2. Begin with what is comfortable for you. Don’t allow someone to tell you that what you are doing is not enough. Perhaps you find that your energy crashes with a run and you just want to walk 6,000 steps as a start. Starting slow and building it up without feeling immense pain or fatigue will be a sure way to sustain this. Most often people jump into something strenuous and rigorous because someone else is doing so. Then they feel irritable, tired, and are in pain due to adrenal burnout or post-exercise inflammation that they just quit.
3. In the beginning, it might be worth building your exercise into something like spending time with your family. This can include playing badminton with your child, going for a walk with your partner, or joining a yoga class with a friend. It is also more sustainable if it is something that you enjoy.
I’ve heard people tell their spouse that a specific form of exercise they are doing is not as effective as something else and it ends by them giving up their exercise altogether. If you do come across someone telling you this about your exercise, do tell them politely but firmly that this is working for you.
4. You might want to gradually wake up a little earlier to add something more. This can be as simple as being committed to sleeping earlier a few days a week. Waking up when you are free of responsibilities can be very helpful in pushing yourself further. One example of this is to wake up one hour earlier and increase your walking time from one hour to two hours, which will increase your steps, distance, and calories. It will also add several more benefits, including better circulation and therefore eventually better skin, better sleep, better appetite, and better productivity.
5. There will be times during the month, especially for women, where you may not be able to sustain energy for a long workout at one time of the day. If so, the normal tendency will be to give it up altogether. Instead, break up your exercise routine into several smaller sessions that day. One way to do this is to walk 6,000 steps twice or thrice a day rather than one long walk and run of 20,000 steps. You will not realise it but breaking it up into smaller walks once in the morning, once in the evening, and once post-dinner will quickly add up into amazing results that month.
6. Burst training or HIIT can be very effective workouts in a shorter time. If you have been building up your exercise, and your body is able to recover, start to add a sequence twice a week. There are several curated and guided videos available which you can use within your own home. You may want to add this on your off days when you can relax a little and have a lighter day if you are not yet used to it.
What can you do to stay disciplined?
Having a tracker is a simple way to get more disciplined and stay that way. It need not be an expensive investment like an Apple watch. There are several affordable options. It’s amazing how motivated you can be when you just see what you track.
My son, who is 11, got so inspired with his watch that he now clocks somewhere between 75,000-100,000 steps every week! This was in a matter of one month after getting his tracking watch.
Whatever form you choose, put it into your scheduler, with reminders, and ensure that you sustain it every single day for one month.
After one month, make a list of all the positive changes and then add one more form, or increase your goal. My son does this every week, by increasing his goals for steps and distance. Awaken that inner child and just get excited at all that you do!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
Edited by Megha Reddy