They come with certain expectations and they carry a precedent that can either serve as a motivator, or a roadblock for sustainability and routine. When we refer to exercise or working out, we are often alluding to appearance based expectations ie. a toned body, or performance based expectations, ie. a new PR. On the other hand, when we suggest movement, we are opening up a world of possibilities that are loosely defined, thus attainable and likely more health minded.
So how can you get started with this movement routine? I’ve got 5 nuggets to share with you!
Ditch your high performance expectations.
Before jumping to the HOW or WHAT of this new routine, first consider the WHY.
WHY is movement important to you?
What is it about this week, this month, this year that has inspired a new routine?
Consider your answers carefully, these are your motivators. These will carry you through days of low motivation, they will push you past walls, and they will bring your confidence when approaching roadblocks.
If you are looking for sustainability, something you can maintain month over month, year over year, be mindful of any high performance expectations. These can be crippling for many, every missed and surpassed milestone is a threat to sustainability. Instead, I urge you to keep your WHY loose, casual and health minded.
Start small, and build.
With your health in mind, anything you do in addition to your daily movements is a bonus. Swapping the stairs for the elevator, parking in the furthest spot, walking to work, a morning stretch, a standing desk, a post-dinner stroll, a recreational sports league, an at home yoga class, and a weekend hike ALL COUNT as movement. You can reap the benefits of the increased blood flow, the increased heart rate, the fresh air, and the mental clarity that comes with doing just a little bit more.
And then build from there. Set yourself a daily goal to MOVE, and find unique ways to do that each day. It doesn’t have to be overly prescriptive, at the end of the day remember that you know yourself best.
Keep it close to home.
Often, committing to a movement routine is equated with investing in a pricey monthly gym membership. We either fool ourselves into assuming that this environment is the best option for everyone, and/or that we are going to reap the full benefits because of the ever-present financial investments. Welp, both of these assumptions are fundamentally flawed, as a trainer I believe that gyms very rarely are the best environment, or the best investment and most people can benefit from the accessibility, ease and comfort of a home routine.
All you need to get started at home is a resistance band (or two), a skipping rope, a yoga mat (or a non-slip surface), and an open space. From here you can get creative with circuits, tabata sessions, and strength training routines that are quick, efficient, fun, and rewarding.
Interested in having a personalized routine drafted for you? Get in touch– I’d love to work with you on this.
Disclaimer: I personally love small, independant fitness establishments with a focus on community, and natural body movements (read: the less equipment the better) and if this is within your financial possibility and would fit your personal goals this is definitely something I would recommend exploring.
Lock it in.
When it comes to sustainability, routine is key. To establish a routine, it is important to schedule a time that works well for you, consistently.
Ask yourself, when in your day do you find yourself with lots of downtime? When are your most present or mindful? When do you find your anxiety or stress starts to seep in, this could be a good time to slot in daily movement too.
Pick a time slot, and lock it in as your reserved movement time. This means, avoid scheduling anything ‘extra’ into that slot, including social plans, unnecessary work commitments, or even recreational activities. Some find it helpful to block the time in their calendars too, for a visual reminder and motivator.
Life and everything that comes with it can throw us off track, even if that track is unrestrictive, flexible and forgiving. Sometimes, we need the support and motivation of offers to draw from.
For some, this rings VERY true and for others this is less frequent (you can explore your own tendencies with this handy dandy quiz), but it is important to know what role accountability plays in your own movement goals so you can have the necessary supports in place.
For those who benefit from a guiding hand, a motivating voice, or a knowledgeable resource you may want to consider hiring a trainer who aligns well with your personalized goals. Or, if you are simply looking for a little outer accountability consider finding a friend, neighbour, co-worker or family member to support you. This person could be joining you for your daily movement, or they can simply be checking in to provide a gentle prompt on days when it is needed.
It is important to know yourself best, plan for the worst and set yourself up for success in the long term. Remember, support is not considered weakness, and change and adaptation should be considered necessary for sustainability.