Day 12 – Adding Exercise to Your Routine

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21dmro_bar-4-185021dmro_bar-4-1850Exercise is an important part of life. It keeps our body healthy and mind functioning at its highest level. Exercise gets the blood flowing which drives up excitement and fuels motivation. It releases endorphins into our system that produce feelings of contentment, happiness, and general well-being. The benefits go on and on – a consistent exercise regimen will keep us trimmer, more agile and younger, longer.

There’s truly no downside to adding exercise to our lives, except one: for many, it’s an activity we find painful to engage, and even harder to engage in on a consistent basis.

If you struggle with exercise like so many people, I’m here for you. For many years I struggled to add exercise to my list of habits; I bought gym memberships, attended classes, and even took up running. All with varying degrees of success, and only temporary success, at that. I often felt frustrated and lost working to building a solid exercise practice. Then one day I thought, maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way. Instead of forcing myself to engage and commit to activities I don’t like, why not enjoy the process of experimenting with different forms of exercise until I come across something I do like. That was the beginning of my breakthrough. It became about adventure; a belly dance class here, a Pilates class there and before you know it, exercise began to feel enjoyable. There was still one issue left: consistency. You see, I enjoyed these classes when I went, but I had to deal with schedules, which meant I could miss a class, which meant I probably wouldn’t exercise that day… This wasn’t good enough.

That’s when I realized I didn’t want my daily exercise tied to someone else’s schedule. It was just too easy to break the commitment that way.

This is my story. My goal here is to share my evolution of process and thought around the habit of exercise in my life, and how I arrived at what works for me. I share this in the hopes that it can help you more efficiently navigate your process of discovery to find out what works best for you.

Adding exercise to your morning routine.

For me, finding forms of exercise that I love and can do at home, and adding those exercises to my morning routine was the answer. I needed no excuses.

The benefit of exercising in the morning was that all the energy I build, all the motivation I create from a good workout session then gets channeled to my work. My mood is brighter, my focus is clearer, and I’m better prepared for the day ahead!

What type of exercise should you choose?

You should choose whatever type of exercise feels good to you. If you’re not sure what that is, you can take a similar approach to mine and just try different things out.

It’s also important to start where you are. If an hour of exercise doesn’t feel like something you can commit to, don’t, commit to 30 minutes, or 15 minutes. Start where you can and focus on building the habit. You can always add more intensity and time to your sessions later.

 

Here are a few non-traditional ideas for morning exercise to get you started:

  • Choose an exercise and decide on a number, let’s say 50. Immediately after you wake up, get up and perform that amount of repetitions for the chosen exercise.

 

  • Sign up for a race or competition. If you have a competitive spirit or thrive when there’s a goal on the line this may be the thing that motivates you towards consistent exercise.

 

  • Turn up the radio or press play on your high energy playlist and just dance like no body’s business for a specified amount of time – say 30/45 minutes. The only requirement is that you must be drenched when it’s over!

 

  • Be a sampler. Try your hand at different 30-day challenges. The lack of commitment needed here might make you feel comfortable going for it since you can see the end of the road. Of course, you know you won’t stop the next month; you’ll just move on to something else.