Updated: Jul 5, 2021
How to make (and keep) physical activity a part of your daily life
Fitness is an important part of life because it not only supports our physical health, but it also helps our mental health and overall wellbeing. Whether it’s going for a walk, working out at home, playing with your dog, or going to the gym, there are many ways that physical activity can play a role in your life. Fitness journeys look different for each individual, but here are a few tips that can help you along the way:
◦ Set specific goals that you love- a great way to start your fitness journey is by setting goals for yourself and writing them down. One thing to consider when brainstorming is making sure that your goals, and the details you include, are specific. This will allow you to know exactly what you need to do to reach a goal, and what it will look like once you have accomplished it. Making sure these goals are ones you love can also play an important part in reaching them. For example, if running isn’t for you, you might want to consider setting a goal that doesn’t involve forcing yourself to do this type of physical activity. It might be more beneficial for your to try cycling, walking, or another form of exercise, as setting goals around activities you love will help keep you motivated.
◦ Incorporate physical activity into your everyday life- you are likely already doing this! Vacuuming, doing chores, running errands, and other everyday activities all involve some form of physical activity! Consider finding something you love to do that you can do everyday, such as putting on your favorite song and dancing around the house, playing with your children or pets, or just taking a stroll around your neighborhood after dinner.
◦ Reflect on your workout environment- if gyms don’t feel like the right workout environment for you, consider working out from your house, a park, or another location where you feel safe and comfortable. Working out from home might not work for everyone, but there are a few benefits! For example, you don’t have to spend time getting to and from the gym, you can workout whenever it feels right for you, you can choose how long or short your workout is, and it’s completely free! If you're still looking for a class structure but want to try working out from home, there are many online programs and videos that you can follow along with. On the other hand, if going to the gym is what works best for you, consider if the gym you are at right now is a good fit. Is too far from your home making it difficult to get to? Do you feel comfortable going there on a regular basis? Is there a positive atmosphere? If not, maybe consider looking into other gyms in your area. Taking the time to reflect on our workout environment can help us find what the best fit is, which will make our fitness habits more likely to last in the long run.
◦ Try to hit your steps goal- it is recommended that we walk approximately 10,000 steps every day, but this goal may be too high or low depending on where you are in your life and your wellness journey. Take some time to reflect on how many steps a day you would like to reach, and then find a way to keep track of your daily step count. Most phones will count your steps for you, or you can look into another step counting device to help you stay on track. Partnering with a friend can be a fun way to keep one another accountable on reaching those steps, and it might even inspire you both to walk with one another!
◦ Reflect on sustainable ways of having physical fitness as part of your life- one of the most important (and at times difficult) things about physical activity is that sustainability matters. Finding a way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life, no matter how small, will help keep you motivated on your journey in the long run. An example of this might be waking up ten minutes earlier during the work week in order to get a short workout in, creating a light stretching routine at the end of your day, or going on walks twice a week with a friend.
◦ As always, be kind and patient with yourself- everyone has different schedules, places to be, priorities, and approaches to their fitness. Because of this, every journey will look different, and yours will be unique to you. Try to be patient with yourself if it feels like you aren’t reaching your goals as fast as you would like to or if you miss a few workout sessions you had planned. At the end of the day, the important thing is that you feel healthy and good!
◦ Benefits of physical activity:
◦ Working out at home:
◦ Fitness goal setting:
◦ Physical activity and heart health:
◦ Increasing amount of daily physical activity:
◦ Benefits of walking:
◦ At home workout videos and program examples:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpQ34afVgk8cRQBjSJ1xuJQ (dance workouts, no equipment workouts, cardio workouts, knee-friendly workouts, apartment friendly workouts, beginner workouts)
https://www.chloeting.com/program/ (offers a wide range of different workouts for different areas of the body)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU0DZhN-8KFLYO6beSaYljg (mobility and stretching)