Exercise generates enjoyment for some people as they do it, and makes all of us feel better later when we are fitter. How can you get more exercise?What type, and when? What if you don't have enough time, or can't find a convenient time for it? Chris provides a number of ideas for how to get more exercise into your life.
- Do you go through phases of exercising and not exercising? Phases of being fitter and less fit? Because I certainly do, and I can really feel the difference. Some people actually enjoy exercise, they enjoy things like running and that's great if you're one of those, I'm not really, I just find running hard work and horrible. But I do find that the day after I've had some exercise, I feel better physically and also better mentally. Also, when I've managed to do some exercise, I find myself less resistant to doing it again.
So the thing is to get into the cycle of doing exercise and wanting to do more, rather than the cycle of not doing any exercise and then not wanting to do any. So the first thing is to find some kind of exercise that you enjoy. Personally I really like cycling on a road. Cycling in the gym I hate, which is odd because it should be roughly the same but I don't find it to be, personally. I also like doing weights which doesn't look like fun when you see people doing it, but if you've never tried weights then I would certainly recommend that you try it.
It just might be the thing for you. I think the biggest barrier to doing exercise is finding the time or rather finding a convenient time and place in the day to do it. In the morning I'm still half asleep and feeling feeble. Lunch is only a short time and I'm in my suit, and after work I'm tired, I want my dinner. And in the winter it's cold and dark outside. But true though all these things are, it's really important to find a way around them. Can you get into the habit of doing a walk or a jog before breakfast? Or a quick trip to the gym at lunch time? Or can you cycle to work? At least when the weather is good.
In order to help you get more exercise, here are my top six tips. Number one, do the exercise with someone else. Visit the gym at lunch time together, go running together in the early morning or evening, maybe join a running group. Moral support helps hugely and it makes it harder for you to decide not to bother. Also the social aspect makes it much more enjoyable to do. Number two, pay upfront so you're committed. Pay for your gym membership upfront.
Maybe combine this idea with the first one and agree with your friends that anyone who doesn't turn up will have to pay a fine. Even just a couple of dollars is enough to mess with your mind and you'll make sure that you don't miss it. Number three, get really nice equipment. Some nice comfortable shoes, a tennis racket that feels really good to use, maybe an outfit that you look great in. This is both a financial commitment but also will make the whole process more enjoyable. Number four, the power of music.
Make a playlist of songs that are the right speed and suitably bouncy and go running with music. Similarly, lifting weights with music makes it much more enjoyable and also makes you go for it more. By the way, cycling in the gym to loud music in your headphones would be good but probably not safe out on the road. Number five, measure yourself. Keep a log of how often you go, how fast you run or cycle, how much weight you lift.
It's good to see your progress and you'll feel bad if you miss a session and have a gap in your chart and you'll want to beat your personal best. There are lots of apps you can use for this, with new ones coming out all the time that can track your route, your times along the way, your total energy expended, your heart rate, everything you might want to know. So if you're a record keeping sort of person you should definitely get one of those apps on your phone. And finally number six. Try new forms of exercise.
Racquetball is a really fun version of squash. And instead of tennis you could try soft tennis, or beach tennis or paddle. I think they're all different to each other. Also I'd really recommend fencing which is brilliant fun. The people who do it are always friendly so you can just go along and try it. It's not expensive, and you don't have to be particularly fit or strong to enjoy it. And I mentioned weights already. If you haven't tried them then again do have a go, but get someone to show you how to do it correctly and only with light ones to start with.
So there we are. There are some thoughts about exercise. It's certainly an important part of overall happiness in life and the question I'd like you to think about now is however much exercise you already get, how can you get more into the routine of your daily life?
- Misbeliefs about happiness
- Focusing on good
- Building gratitude
- Eliminating sources of unhappiness
- Reducing stress