Whether it was the sadistic high school PE teacher, the clique at your local gym or the uncomfortable feeling of cracking a sweat, there’s plenty of reasons why you might not think you like exercise.
But with research showing that it’s super important to wiggle our behinds every now and then if we want to ward off all sorts of diseases and other un-pleasantries, it’s a good idea if you can find a way to enjoy some kind of movement.
Accredited exercise physiologist Beth Sheehan reckons anyone can enjoy exercise – the key is changing what you define it as, and just doing things that you like. Here’s how.
What counts as exercise?
When you think “exercise”, it’s easy for your brain to flit to images of a gym or a sports field — but Sheehan says we need to think about exercise more broadly.
“We need to change people’s mindset as to what exercise is,” she tells Coach.
“Historically everybody thinks that exercise [has to be done at] the gym but we can bring back the play concept [of movement] we had as kids. It could be hula hooping or getting on the mini trampoline or kicking a ball to and fro.”
The Australian government defines physical activity as any activity that gets your body moving, your heart beating faster and your breath quickening – even if just slightly.
So that means your Saturday night dancefloor shred and your subsequent stroll to the café for brunch the next day counts. As does the soothing mid-week yoga class that helps you cope with your A-type boss, and that lunchtime stroll around the shops looking for a new jacket.
“I’ve often had clients who say they don’t like exercise but love being in the water,” Sheehan says.
“So even just walking up and down in the water or doing aqua aerobics is great exercise.”
Gardening counts, as does backyard cricket, swimming in the resort pool on holidays and bopping along to your favourite song while you’re cooking in the kitchen.
The point is that movement of any kind is what we need to be aiming for, and when you look at it like that, well, it does sound more enjoyable.
Match your social stamina
Some people prefer to exercise alone, others need encouragement – so work out what suits your personality best and tailor your activity efforts accordingly.
“If you need some social support, see if there is a community group that does things together,” Sheehan suggests.
“It might be a walk around the local national park, or it might be lawn bowls or table tennis. It doesn’t have to be a structured gym.”
If you crave alone time, that’s where solo walking or an online instruction video might work well.
“There are so many seven, 10 and 15-minute workout videos you can watch on YouTube with so much variety,” Sheehan points out.
If you can clock up at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week, studies show that you’ll improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health, as well as improve your bone density and muscle strength.
If you can crank that up to five hours a week, you’ll also get a good weight loss tool and a reduced risk of cancer for your efforts.
“Remember that any movement is good movement,” Sheehan says.
“Everyone’s incentive to move is different – you just need to find your own hook.”
Originally Published by Coach, continue reading here.