Last year I heard a speaker talk about fitting important practices into your everyday life. Specifically he was talking about faith practices, and he explained that it’s important, if you want to make something part of your routine, to decrease the “threshold of difficulty” for that action. In other words, make the thing easier to do, so you won’t be tempted to keep putting it off.
I don’t think any of us need to be told why exercise is important to fit in. But decreasing the difficulties that stop us, like time, money, and the desire to even bother, are another matter entirely!
I’ve encountered a few things lately though that have made stopping to work out a bit easier, though, and I wanted to share them with you! I hope these will help! Don’t forget, though, you still have to actually get up and work out. 🙂 Making it easier won’t make it happen, unfortunately!
Decreasing the time threshold
- Make things you already do into a workout. Take the stairs. Park further away from the door. Walk the dog a little faster or a little further than usual, and take weights along. Play peppy music while you clean the house so that you dance around while you clean and get in a little extra cardio.
- Get up earlier. Even getting up 10 minutes earlier, or going to bed 10 minutes later, will give you a few extra minutes to get in a quick workout.
- Do stretches and work on healthy body movement even when you can’t be moving around, like while you’re putting on your makeup in front of the mirror, or even while you’re sitting at a desk. Here are some more great ideas for simple movements that are easy to work into just about any lifestyle.
Use your lunch break, if you have one, wisely. Walk in the park or around the parking lot. Close your office door and do some jumping jacks, anything to get your heart rate moving and, if possible, some sunshine too!
- If you have kids, get them involved. Put on music and have a dance party in the living room. Race them across your yard. Buy a jogging stroller. Go roller-skating or swimming together as often as you can. Combine playing with them with a fun workout for yourself. What better way to teach them this habit early on?
Decreasing the money threshold
- Use what you already have. Tennis shoes, shorts and a t-shirt are all you need to start a running routine. Cans of green beans make light weights. That old bike in the back of your garage works just as well as the exercise bike at the gym, and it’s free to use!
- Think creatively. My library carries a lot of workout videos, and now there are more and more videos on YouTube that you can access for free. Pinterest is a great place to find suggested routines, complete with infographics in some cases!
- Don’t be afraid to ask. I found out a barre studio near my workplace was looking for desk workers in trade for memberships. This expensive, boutique studio is way out of my league financially, but I now work three shifts a week in exchange for a completely free, unlimited membership. I asked a local paddle boarding company if they might be interested in a similar trade and they were. I’ll probably get to do some paddle boarding that way next spring! It never hurts to ask somewhere you’d like to be. If you have kids, consider doing this together with a friend so you can trade childcare duties while the other one works her shifts or works out.
Decreasing the desire threshold
No one and no simple steps can make you want to exercise. I rarely have any desire to go work out. The one thing that has helped me with this, more than anything else, was finding something I enjoy doing. Barre is so much fun, and so interesting to me that I actually want to go do it. Now that I’ve started, I’ve noticed how much better my body has started feeling and that’s extra incentive too. I’m not going to say I don’t have weeks where I only make it once. That happens a lot. But that’s one more workout than I was getting before.
If you’re looking for someone to help hold you accountable, grab a friend or join up with Paula’s Fitness Boot Camp and get all sorts of incentives!
Think about things you love doing, and things you’ve always wanted to try. There are so many ways to exercise, it’s silly to stay trapped jogging around the block if you think that’s boring. Look around at the world of possibilities until you find something you enjoy enough to keep coming back to!
What do you do to make room for exercise in your time, budget, and priorities?