If I asked 10 savvy women to describe a healthy lifestyle, 10 out of 10 would mention regular or even daily exercise. Yet if I asked those same 10 women how many of them actually got in regular exercise, the numbers might only be 1 or 2 out of 10.
So if we all know we SHOULD move more on a regular basis, why don’t we?
I think the answer is we make fitness and exercise too complicated. We make it involved, we set lofty expectations, we fail to plan, we wind up with other priorities or excuses, and it simply doesn’t happen. We’re so smart, we actually over-think exercise!
So here are a handful of lifestyle hacks to make getting that all-important workout in on a regular basis easier!
- Lay out your gym clothes/pack your gym bag the night before. For you early morning exercisers, to eliminate the propensity to hit the snooze, lay out your gym clothes where you can see them before you go to bed. That way you only have to roll out of bed, stagger into your workout gear, and get moving! No need to paw through drawers, search for that other sock or your favorite sports bra, and eventually get so discouraged that you talk yourself out of working out entirely. Instead, lay out a cute outfit, or pack your bag if you head to the gym later in the day, so you have no excuse not to go.
- Plan your gym visit on the way to/from work. This works great in the am if your gym has a shower facility or you can at least towel off and freshen up with some dry shampoo and fresh deodorant. After-work-exercisers: DO NOT GO HOME FIRST! Do not allow yourself to go home and start to relax or sit on the couch- the couch has a magical gravitational force in the late afternoon and you will find it much harder to escape if you do! Instead, plan your trip home via the gym of fitness studio, so when you get home you have a free pass to unwind.
- Plan for mindless exercise. Free yourself from the added responsibility of having to think about your workout on top of your job and family responsibilities. That can really get exhausting, so no wonder you’re not up for it! Two simple methods- hire a trainer to tell you what to do, so all you have to do is show up, or consider a timer app to beep at you to cue your movements. Tabata timers and HIIT (high intensity interval training) timers are generally free in the app store, and allow you to set it and forget it, just starting or stopping an exercise to the beeps or whistles of the app.
- Set tiny goals. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if you set activity minimums for yourself that are super simple to imagine accomplishing, it becomes much more likely that you will actually do them and less likely that an excuse will prevail. If working out 45 minutes 6 days a week is a far stretch because you’re currently working out 30 minutes once or twice a week, maybe your first goal is 10 minutes daily. Once you master one tiny goal, you can set more, but the more important thing is to choose something you can confidently do for 2-3 weeks straight without adding major stress or needing major motivation to stick to.
Make movement part of daily life. A ‘workout’ doesn’t only mean driving to the gym and spending and hour or more there to ‘count’ for your goals. Any extra movement over the course of your day has a positive impact on your body and your internal health, so make it part of the stuff you’re already doing! Turn fun music on when you’re cleaning the house and dance around, or do lunges down the hallway every time you travel it. Consider bodyweight squats while you wait on the microwave, pushups while coffee is brewing. Games with pets and kids count too- get everyone involved and before you know it movement will be a way of life and not an extra ‘chore’ you have to go do.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking down the path of simplifying your exercise routine so that it becomes doable, even easy, for you to do regularly. Set yourself up for success, and then it’s so simple- just move!