If the last year has seen you lose all your motivation when it comes to getting out there and exercising, then don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. For a lot of people, lockdown has gone to one extreme or the other when it comes to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. For some, they’ve gone into exercise overdrive – embracing the world of running, home workouts and online zoomclasses to the maximum. Meanwhile, others have seemingly stopped exercising altogether and are struggling to come to terms with the idea of engaging with a more active lifestyle again.
If you fall into the latter category, getting back into shape can seem like a long road ahead, but it’s absolutely achievable with the right mindset and approach. This article is here to reassure you why it’s completely natural to have fallen out of love with exercise during this period, but at the same time express the importance of getting back into exercise – and how to do it.
Struggling for inspiration
Forgetting the pandemic and the associated lockdown restrictions for a second, there are plenty of reasons why someone may fall into a funk with their exercise plan. Your personal circumstances could change and make it harder to get out regularly. You may have suffered an injury or been victim to a debilitating accident that sidelines you for a considerable period, making it tough to get back. You may have just lost interest in your current exercise plan and don’t have the motivation for it anymore.
When it comes to the last year and lockdown conditions, however, the impact of the pandemic has added a substantial number of new hurdles into the mix. Gyms have been sporadically open and largely permanently shut of late. Remote working arrangements mean many people have no reason to leave their home often, allowing them to get into over-comfortable and lazy patterns. There are a multitude of mental health factors to consider which can impact desire to get out and exercise. For some, it can just be a case of “who are you trying to impress?” which leads to abandoning efforts to get into better shape.
Essentially, there were already a number of reasons why someone might pack up their exercise efforts, but lockdown has added to them tenfold.
Why it’s important to put yourself first & the ways to get your mojo back
There should be no feelings of guilt or shame attached to losing track of our exercise plans, but in these cases, it’s important to recognise the importance of exercise in our day-to-day lives and to our physical and mental wellbeing. We all have at least a basic understanding of why we need to exercise in physical health terms, but right now, amid restricted living conditions, the benefits of exercise for mental health have arguably never been more important. Thus, while we should never punish ourselves for losing sight of a healthy schedule or exercise related goal, we also shouldn’t ignore how crucial it is to get back on track.
Starting at square one again, or even what feels like way behind square one, is understandably a daunting prospect, but here’s how you can get ease yourself back into exercise and work up to your desired level:
1. Take it easy and be realistic with your goals
If you’ve been out of the exercise game for a while then you need to bring yourself back into the sphere gently. Pushing yourself beyond your current capabilities will only work to dissuade you from keeping going, so don’t go into your first forays back into exercise too aggressively. Set realistic goals or, at least initially, no goals at all other than to get back outside or in the gym and doing a bit.
2. Track your progress
One of the rewarding things about exercising from a point lower than your expected levels of fitness is the rapid improvements you’ll see in the initial stages. By tracking this progress and keeping record of your achievements to date, you’ll be giving yourself palpable proof that your hard work is paying off, which in turn should give you all the motivation you need to keep going.
3. Join a community
Whether it’s working out with family and friends or joining a club pertaining to an active interest of yours, becoming part of a unit committed to fitness and self-improvement creates an organic support network around you. Exercise is often more fun when shared with others, plus you might make some new friends and build new bonds along the way.
4. Reward your efforts
Studies have shown that rewarding yourself with something tangible after achieving a workout goal – say a tasty treat, some chill time or buying yourself something new –helps to create a beneficial neurological “habit loop”, which encourages you to link exercise to positive, enjoyable things. This helps create behaviours that encourage you to keep going with your exercise, even when the going gets tough.
Much of our exercise motivation boils down to being able to tap into the right mindset and behaviours that are going to keep us going when we don’t feel like doing a certain session or completing a given workout. With an understanding of why you might not be feeling as motivated as usual at the moment, combined with putting some of the tips above into practice, you could find it easier to get your exercise mojo back as we come out of lockdown.
Article Submitted By Community Writer