5 Tips for a Successful Return to Exercise

You hear it all the time… ”You really should exercise, it’s great for you”.  For many, the thought of exercise evokes feelings of anxiety.  Maybe you don’t like exercise for a host of different reasons.  Maybe it’s the thought of being seen in your workout clothes, maybe it’s the uncomfortable feeling you get when you raise your heart rate or break out in a sweat, or maybe somewhere along the line you have attempted exercise only to be smashed by the trainer and you couldn’t walk for a week!

As women, exercise is so important to our physical and mental wellbeing at every age and stage of life.

Why should I exercise?

Physical activity reduces the risk of many health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal problems, some cancers and unhealthy weight gain*.  – Sounds good doesn’t it, what are you waiting for?

So how do you get started again….

1: Take it slow

The evidence is clear that doing some physical activity is better than doing none at all.  We don’t all need to be super fit athletes and we all need to start somewhere.

Making a slow steady start is always the best approach.  You don’t want to go out to fast and either over do it or injury yourself.  An incremented approach is always best.  Start small and work up.   Start with a couple of short sessions a week and aim to

accumulate 2 ½ to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week*.

2: Choose the right exercise for you

All bodies and lifestyles are not the same.  The best exercise for you is the type you enjoy and are eager to do.  It is also an exercise that suits your current situation.  You might enjoy walking, cycling, weight training or dancing. Have fun with it, mix it up. Try and few things until you find something you enjoy.  If you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick with it.

3: Buddy up

Having an exercise buddy is a great way to keep you accountable.  You are less likely to let a mate down than yourself.  Make a time to meet your friend for a walk, swim, or fitness session.  Trust me, you won’t want to leave them lonely so you are more likely to show up yourself!  Even better, hire a PT to keep you accountable.

4: Be kind to yourself

Maybe you haven’t exercised in a while?  Stop comparing now to the “good old days” and how fit you used to be. …..things have changed and that’s ok, that’s life in fact.  Maybe you are 10 years older or now have kids. This probably means is that you now need to incorporate exercise into your life in a different way to before and that’s ok.  The sooner you accept your current reality the sooner you can move forward.

Celebrate the fact that you are now working on incorporating exercise into your life again and don’t beat yourself about not being as fit as you “used to be”.  Now is now……things have changed.

5: Be consistent

The best improvements to your health and fitness are made when you are consistent.  Small steps regularly is always the best approach.  This helps you to successfully integrate the new routine into your life.  I find a regular weekly routine works best with most people.

Better still, block out your exercise time in your diary.  An appointment with your own health.  What could be more important than that!

“There is no giant step that does it, it takes a lot of little steps” – Peter A Cohen

Get out there and get active, your life depends on it!

Rach x

*Australian Government – Department of Health

Rachel Leman
rachel@missmotivator.com.au