As the days get longer and the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to start moving outside in the fresh air. There’s no need to frame this as “getting in shape” or even training for a specific event—why put all that pressure on yourself? Instead, use the pleasant spring weather as an excuse to simply start moving every day.
Getting daily exercise has major benefits for your body both physically and mentally. There are a lot of ways to motivate yourself to start a new movement routine and your options for your workout are endless. Go for a walk, try a yoga class, hit the weights, or get some fresh air by trying something you have never done before. Here are nine easy steps you can take to help you on your way to moving every day.
1. Start small
Taking small, manageable steps is the key to getting and staying moving every day. Take a 5-, 10-, 15-minute walk with no expectations around how far you will go or how fast. Just walk. If all goes well, increase the time you spend moving each day, or set a distance goal. If having a goal in mind, like walking a mile or participating in a 5K, helps motivate you, just remember to pace yourself and set achievable daily goals to boost your confidence and ability level. Don’t expect to be able to jump off the couch and accomplish your dream goal all in one go. This advice goes for any activity you may be starting.
2. Plan ahead
Getting everything you need for your morning workout prepped and ready the night before will help you avoid hitting snooze and sleeping right past your exercise time. If you’ve already promised yourself you’ll get moving in the morning by laying out your workout clothes or prepping a tasty post-workout breakfast, you’ll be less likely to skip it.
3. Count your steps
Counting your steps can be a motivating way to keep yourself going. Set a reasonable step goal for yourself that you would like to reach each day and then go for it. You’ll quickly find that you are motivated to hop off the couch in the evening to bang out that last 100 steps or so to reach your day’s goal count. It’s not necessary to invest in a FitBit or other gadget; it can be as simple as installing a free app on your smartphone. Setting a daily step goal will also encourage you to get a few extra steps in here and there throughout the day.
4. Park a little farther away
Getting some exercise doesn’t have to mean joining a gym, buying new clothes, or completely changing your routine. It can be as simple as parking your car a bit farther away—whether it’s a bit farther down the block from work or at the far end of the grocery store parking lot. Those steps add up, and walking a few extra yards at each of your errands throughout the day can make a big difference .
5. Set an alarm
When you’re busy at work, it’s easy to let an entire day go by without ever moving from your desk. But even short periods of standing and walking around can make a huge difference for your health. Set an alarm for every hour on your watch or phone. When it goes off, get up and move around, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to mean going through a workout routine; it can be as easy as walking to the office kitchen to refill your water bottle or just standing up and stretching for a few minutes.
6. Practice at home
Even on chilly, rainy days, you can find ways to move around in your house. Lots of exercise classes are offered free of charge online and require little or no equipment. You can find classes for any level that last pretty much any length of time—5 minutes to an hour-and-a-half. Doing an online yoga class or interval workout has the added benefit of not having an audience. There’s no need to be self-conscious if you’re trying this out for the first time.
7. Enlist a friend (or a pet)
Humans are social creatures, and it’s so much easier to lace up those sneakers for a walk if you’re meeting a friend than it is to go alone. Ask a colleague to join you for a walk at lunch once a week. Meet a friend at the nearest park to get some fresh air after work. When you’ve made plans with someone, it’s a lot harder to cancel than it would be if you’d just planned to head out the door on your own.
Having a pet, especially a dog, is also a great motivator for getting outside. Not only will your pup keep you company, but it’s sometimes easier to get up and moving when you feel responsible for another living creature’s well being. Your pet will love you for it!
8. Reward yourself
Moving around every day is a major accomplishment. It’s important to give yourself a pat on the back when you reach your goals because it feels good. When you reach major milestones, even consider a bigger reward—whether it’s a new pair of running shoes you’ve been eyeing or the promise of your favorite frozen yogurt after you’re done. Having small rewards is a nice way to stay motivated.
9. Forgive yourself Remember that it is okay if you miss a day. Don’t let it derail your entire plan for moving. The important thing is to start again the next day and get back on track without beating yourself up about a neglected workout here or there. Look at each day as a new opportunity to enjoy moving towards a healthier you.
Courtesy of RootsRated