I’ve never been someone who particularly enjoys exercising in and of itself. Sure, I’ve found activities that I’ve enjoyed that just so happen to also provide exercise (I’ve always loved dancing, for instance), but I’m definitely not some sort of fitness guru by any means! My journey with fitness has been a struggle, particularly in the last year or so. I’ve struggled to stay consistent with anything I was doing, which resulted in not getting desirable results. This has caused me a lot of frustration. Through the frustration, however, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own fitness needs, strengths, and areas to improve on. In my own experiences, I’ve learned just how important exercise is for wellbeing. I’m about to share with you the lessons I’ve learned along my journey in the hopes that you’ll be able to apply them to your own life. But before I do, I think it’s important to lay down the ground rules for how to be successful within your fitness journey. These are are things I’ve found helpful!
How to succeed at your exercise routine
1. Be consistent
Girl, consistency is KEY. It’s also the absolute hardest part of any exercise routine, especially when you’re just starting out. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve fallen out of my routine because I wasn’t consistent. There will always be something else that needs to be done. You will always be able to find an excuse for not exercising if you look hard enough for one. If you want to be successful in your fitness goals, the only way you will get there is by having the willpower to be consistent. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you get up early, make exercise part of your morning routine on a regular basis. Note that working out for 20 minutes every day is better than working out for two hours straight once every two weeks. Be persistent and consistent!
2. Find a method you actually enjoy
Here’s the thing about exercise. If you’re trying to force yourself to do something that you absolutely despise on a regular basis, it’s never going to work because you won’t be consistent with it. No matter how much you argue that you’ll just suck it up and do it, girl, you won’t. Okay, now that you’ve admitted that to yourself, let’s make some actual progress! You’ll be much more likely to stick to something if you at least somewhat enjoy it, so explore different forms of exercising. Do you enjoy dancing? Try hitting up a dance class or attending a Zumba class at your local gym. Or if you’d rather work out at home, there are TONS of videos on YouTube featuring different fitness classes! I know this, because I totally use them (home girl is not getting on that treadmill everyday, lol). Once you find a method of exercise that you enjoy, have fun with it! It’s a way to explore your own interests while still getting the exercise your body needs.
3. Know your strengths and your limits
When exercising, of course you want to challenge yourself. In fact, you won’t get nearly as much benefit out of it if you don’t push yourself to work hard during workouts. That being said, it’s extremely important to know your limits and not push yourself over those limits. Doing so can cause serious injuries, and will also just make you less likely to want to workout again the next day if you found it too hard. Start off slow and gradually work towards increasing the intensity of your workouts as you become more comfortable.
Why exercise is important and beneficial to you
1. your physical health depends on it
I know, I know. This one seems obvious. You hear it all the time. But you know what? It’s incredibly important, so why not include the obvious? Did you know that a major cause of most chronic diseases is physical inactivity? That’s incredibly scary when you think about how common this is in today’s society! The rates of illnesses such as obesity and heart disease are on the rise, and it seems that lack of exercise is at least partly to blame. Girl, I feel you. I hate running on the treadmill and doing planks as much as the next person. However, it opened my eyes this year when I gained more weight than I would have liked to due to stress, medications, and lack of exercise. Since starting to exercise (on a semi-regular basis, it’s still a work in progress lol), I’ve been feeling less lethargic and sluggish. I’ve also slimmed down a bit (though I still have a ways to go before I’m back where I want to be). These are signs to me that my physical health is improving. And let me tell you, friend, it’s totally worth it when you don’t constantly feel like you’re going to fall asleep standing up!
2. your mental health will improve
Every single time I’ve gone to the doctor about my anxiety, one of the first things they ask is “are you exercising enough?” And yes, there is a reason for this. It has been proven numerous times that exercising regularly can improve mental health, decreasing both anxiety and depression. Without getting too far into the science side of things, basically exercise causes your brain to release a neurotransmitter (your brain’s communication signals) called serotonin (basically a happy drug created by your brain). This is the same neurotransmitter that is affected by prescription drugs. People with anxiety or depression don’t have enough serotonin being released from their brains, which affects their mood significantly. With this information in mind, you can see how exercise can be hugely beneficial to improving mental health!
3. exercise burns off excess energy
Do you find that you have trouble sleeping at night? Can’t seem to turn your brain off? If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone (I’m right there with ya)! Sometimes at the end of the day, we’re left with this excess energy that we just can’t seem to get rid of. It can be extremely overwhelming to deal with too, especially if, like I said, it’s causing you to have trouble sleeping. One thing that I’ve found since exercising more regularly is that I’m having an easier time falling asleep and then staying asleep. As a result, I’ve had more energy throughout the day, and as the cycle goes I feel more motivated to exercise again the next day when I have energy to do so.
4. you’ll feel more confident
We all know about society’s completely outrageous expectations about how our bodies should look and what’s classified as attractive. We all, in our minds, also know that that’s complete bullshit, because everyone is beautiful in their own unique ways! However, that doesn’t always stop us from feeling self-conscious about the way we look. Since gaining some weight over the past year, I’ve been extremely self-conscious about the way I look. When I would try to eat healthy and start an exercise routine and would fail, I’d feel even worse about myself. This stopped me from even trying for a while, but that didn’t do me any good. Since exercising at my own pace but regularly, I’ve had loved ones tell me that each week I’m looking healthier. I’m slowly starting to be able to wear some of my old clothes again. I also have been feeling more productive in my own fitness journey. All of these things have contributed to a greater self-confidence that I feel within myself! It’s amazing what a bit of exercise each day can accomplish!
So there you have it! That pretty much sums up the past couple of months of my fitness journey! What tips and tricks do you have for staying fit and healthy with exercise? Let us know in the comments below! Also, be sure to become a subscriber to our email newsletters for access to the FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY! There’s a lot of super exciting stuff being added on a regular basis, so you don’t want to miss out on that!