We have been taught that an average of 3-4 exercise sessions for 30-40 minutes weekly is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, recent studies show that a 1-minute exercise program is more effective, when practised within the framework that it was developed. How can that be, right? One-minute exercises are all I need? What a pleasure.
But why should we exercise at all if exercise is just about burning calories? It has been proven that an average person burns 50 calories an hour whilst sleeping! So, I can sleep my calories away? Even better – now I know how to lose weight without exercise. No gym sign-up needed.
A word of caution here – the fitness industry is not worth $98-billion by chance. Our bodies are unique – like our minds, personalities and beliefs – they are intricate and fascinating machines. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercising – each person has a different fitness journey.
Choose to be strong
The medical profession substantiates that there are many benefits of exercise– from the reduction of physical illness (reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity), to improved sleep patterns and maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise has been linked to improved mental well-being and reduced stress and anxiety. We can therefore deduce that regular exercise is necessary to maintain a strong mind and body.
As exercising is your choice, it makes sense then that you choose what is best for you – to be strong, healthy and happy.
But, where do you start?
Know your reason
Why are you exercising (or thinking about it) at all? People exercise for one of five reasons: for health, recreation, competition, appearance and to maintain sufficient physical activity to ward off diseases. Each of the reasons mentioned will require a different fitness plan or journey.
Know your reason. If you are exercising simply to maintain physical activity, maybe one minute’s strength training per muscle group is all you need. If you wish to lose weight or compete in a 10km fun run, you should consider additional exercises or a fitness schedule.
It is therefore a question of why YOU are exercising. Find your answer and choose a routine that supports your reason. The journey starts with your honest answer.
Find your joy
If you need to motivate yourself to return to a regular exercise routine, start with what you enjoy. Remember, the aim is to get you moving – you might as well do something that you like. If you like to dance – find a dance routine online and practice it until you get it right. Or grab your partner when you hear your favourite song and spin one another around the room!
Choose what brings you joy. The aim is to get you to do it again and again. Make the effort worth it. If you do not like what you are doing, or you thought it was going to be one thing and it turned out to be something completely different, try something else. Do your research, watch clips, finds the right app and start – today.
Choosing what brings you joy and substantiating the reason you wish to exercise is a very good start. Being patient with yourself is the next important step. You are not going to become a fitness guru at your first attempt or within your first month of practice. You might not even lose that much weight in the first month – if that is your reason.
If you decide to join a yoga class and you feel like a complete novice after the first session – it’s okay, you will get there. At the next session, you will remember your right from your left and before you know it, you will be twisting yourself into unthinkable positions.
The key is perseverance – do what you can do in the time that you have. Know that your efforts will ensure that you improve at each lesson or activity. If it means running a kilometre in 10 seconds less than you did the week before, that is a significant improvement.
Be patient with yourself. Learning to love exercising and staying strong is effort – but worth every toned muscle and healthy heartbeat!
Stop comparing yourself to ‘that other person in the class/video’. They have a completely different body to yours – and they follow different rules that make sense for them. The only person you are competing with is yourself.
Stop making excuses: I don’t have time, I should be studying rather than hopping around to my favourite beats, my partner/family will think I am selfish to take this time… (you can add your favourite excuses here).
Start supporting yourself by choosing you. The effort you put into exercising will never be lost because you are choosing your health which is the biggest gift you can give yourself and those you love. Think about it – how often do you take 30 minutes just for you? That’s what exercise is – time you get to spend with yourself.
Invest in your health – it matters most.