This week, I want to finish up my health series by discussing the best ways to exercise.
Why Exercise Is Crucial For Your Wellbeing
Exercising is an activity requiring physical effort that sustains or improves health and fitness. To grow muscles, reduce weight, and build endurance, you need exercise.
Exercising can be difficult and challenging. However, the rewards outweigh the drawbacks. For example, exercise enhances the body while engaging the mind. These two benefits will provide you with more physical energy while increasing the capacity of your mental abilities.
Additionally, exercising can reduce stress and relieve tension while enhancing your physical capacities. When we sit around all day, we store up excess energy. By the time we try to go to sleep, we can’t close our eyes. However, if we exercise, we can expend this built-up energy, soothe our minds, and more easily carry on with our day.
Lastly, exercise will create a feeling of accomplishment. When you can conquer your limitations in the gym, you can also conquer your job prospects, your skill growth, your love life, and so on. You’ll feel a boost in confidence that comes from developing physical strength and mental fortitude.
Exercising will improve your life regardless of the pains and hardships you have to go through. However, despite the multiple benefits that working out brings, individuals of all backgrounds find it difficult to muster up the courage and motivation to go to the gym. In the following paragraphs, I want to outline the common misconceptions about exercise and how to look past them.
The Top Three Misconceptions About Exercise
Exercising is a time, money, and energy investment. There’s no easy way to get an effective workout. However, there are ways to mitigate the cost associated with exercise through proper time management, appropriate exercise selection, patience, and much more. Let’s detail some common misconceptions about exercise below:
1. You Have To Go To The Gym
Believe it or not, you can still create an effective workout regime without signing up for the gym or dropping a lot of money. However, you will need to put in the initial investment for a few weights, and you’re off to go.
There are multiple body weight and free weight options that can give you a great workout with minimal time and money investment. These workouts are commonly known as “prisoner workouts” because they can easily be performed by prisoners with very little resources. Here is a quick list of bodyweight and free weight workouts:
Additionally, there are ways to invest smartly in a small home gym. You can purchase items, such as dumbbells, jump ropes, and foam rollers, that will give you the workout you’ve always wanted and needed.
Lastly, jogging and outdoor activities, such as basketball or baseball, provide engaging physical effort while keeping money in your pocket. Find a local, safe park near you and see what activities are available in that area.
2. Exercise Is Too Hard And Agonizing
There’s no way around the reality that it is challenging to exercise. If you’re investing honest effort into working out, then you will sweat and feel pain. However, if you approach every work out session without breaking a sweat, then you won’t see meaningful changes or improvements.
Therefore, I suggest finding a sport that interests you. For example, I love to box, and I always exercise with the goal of improving my boxing abilities. Therefore, I see exercise as an investment that will help me box better.
If you like basketball, then go to the court and shoot a few hoops. Move around, practice your dribbling, and soon you’ll break a sweat without even knowing it.
Exercise, like studying or developing willpower, is an excellent chance to improve your mental capacity to withstand pain and move onward. If you persist in working out, then you’ll feel better physically as well as proud of your efforts and commitment to bettering your health.
3. Exercise Is Ultimately Useless And Futile
Firstly, you have to figure out why you’re exercising. Are you trying to meet the basic minimal so that your body is engaged? Or are you seeking to join the local sports team?
As with everything else in life, your ambition has to meet your goals. If you’re trying to avoid breaking a sweat while exercising, then you will not see results. If you’re busting your butt in every session, five times a week, then you will see results.
Therefore, be realistic. As with all things, an individual needs to be honest with him or herself. Never set your aims too high if you have no desire or plan to reach them.
And that’s okay! You’re working out to engage your body. This isn’t meant to be your passion or drive. If you want to treat exercise like brushing your teeth, i.e., an item you check off your list to maintain good health, then, by all means, do that.
Lastly, I want to advise against spending hundreds of dollars on branded workout equipment. Buying a $50 headband along with $200 basketball shoes and $20 wristbands will not improve your results. If you need gym clothes, shop locally and try to spend less than $50 bucks (excluding the shoes). More money will not impress anyone or increase your results.
Four Steps To How To Start Your Fitness Journey
So, how do you get started exercising? What are the bare minimal goals you need to reach? Where should you take your exercising?
Let’s start at the foundation. You should exercise every two to three days, for at least an hour, with the intent of tiring yourself. If you’re not taking a drink of water, sweating, or feeling a little achy, then you’re not hitting the minimal.
Now, how do you start developing the habit of exercising regularly? The key is to set better habits ahead of time which allows you to approach working out with more confidence.
1. Solidify Your Eating Habits and Get Some Sleep
Food is fuel for the body and crucial to your growth and development. If you’re consuming garbage food, then you will feel terrible and so will your body.
Therefore, take the time to develop a meal plan and select foods that will give you the proper fuel you need when at the gym or exercising at home. I would say to do this for two weeks. When you can set your food habit in place, you’ll be in a better position to adopt other habits.
Additionally, sleep is crucial for your body. You need energy when exercising and it helps to get some sleep. Now, sleep may elude you, but you need to do all you can to earn it. Take naps, figure out any underlying mental problems, seek professional help, what have you. Just try to get more sleep for the next week after you’ve solidified your meal plan.
2. Understand Your Fitness Goals And Keep Track Of Them
It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish: Are you trying to get active? Are you trying to lose weight? Or are you training for a sport?
Once you know where your goals lie, you can plan your life around these goals. For example, if you want to get in shape for a sport, then you need to consider the time, money, and energy your sports team may need from you. Although you physically want to join a sports team, your bank account may think otherwise. Therefore, it’s important to consider what you want to do and what effect this will have on your life as a whole.
Lastly, you’ll want to know what areas of your body your most interested in exercising. Do you want bigger arms? Or do you want firmer abs? Or are you interested in becoming a runner? Understanding what you want to do will help you later down the line.
3. Be Humble: Start Small And Pace Yourself
After two weeks of meal plans, one week of better sleep, and a day or two of trying to determine your goals, you’re ready to start. My suggestion? Start small by working our for 15 minutes when you wake up and working out for 15 minutes before going to bed. Do pushups, situps, planks, and other bodyweight exercises.
Can you only do two pushups? Do two pushups the first day then three pushups the next. Keep increasing the number slowly, and by the end of a minimum of two weeks, you’ll be ready.
The point of this step is to build confidence as well as a habit. You will be proud of your efforts even though they may seem small. However, humble yourself and realize all big things start small. Additionally, we want to build the habit of being active before investing in a home gym or gym membership.
By developing these small workout habits now, you won’t be discouraged when you hit a snag at the gym. For example, when you start doing pushups, you may struggle for a bit. This can be embarrassing, but you’re more likely to shrug it off because you’re alone and just beginning your journey. By building your immunity to embarrassment now, you’re less likely to feel discouraged when you go to the gym and misuse a machine.
4. Develop A Tallying System So You Can Make Gradual Improvements
The last process of learning how to workout is to develop a tallying system. This system is designed to help you track what you are during your current exercises versus what you were doing in your past exercises. The goal is to help you see your progress while providing you with a clear path of growth and development.
To create a tally system, determine what you want to workout. From here, look into exercises that touch upon those areas of your body. I offer some options here:
- Exercises to develop your arms
- Exercises to develop your legs
- Exercises to increase endurance
- Exercises for cardio
- Exercises to improve your abs
I suggest starting with one exercise at a time. Say you want to do pushups, situps, and planks. Do your pushups until you’re tired. Only allow for a ten-second break when you feel fatigued. Once you can’t go further, tally how many pushups you did. Do the same for situps and planks.
This is your limit. The next time when you come to exercise, do those same number of pushups, situps, and planks. Tally how well you did. However, the next time you work out, you’re going to increase the number of pushups, situps, and planks. This number is based on you and what you believe you can do. I can’t tell you exactly. As I’ve stated before, be honest, so you can push yourself and seek to improve your physical fitness.
As you move forward, keep this system in mind. Tweak it, improve it, and seek other examples and sources of this type of system. However, you have to keep track of what you’re doing at the gym.
Lastly, I suggest determining a time when you can consistently exercise. Never let your workouts become a spontaneous thing. The best way to get into the habit of working out is setting clear expectations and goals with yourself. I exercise an hour before I eat lunch and I’ve done so for a few years now.
Exercise To Improve Your Health, Increase You Confidence, And Enhance Your Wellbeing
Never feel discouraged. Investing in your health and physical body is nothing to be bothered by or ashamed of. It is crucial that individuals are more active so that they’re healthier, happier, and more capable. If you can, build a support network. Find others in your community who would like to improve their physical wellbeing. Hold each other to a standard and everyone will benefit.
Lastly, working out does not have to be an obsession. Seek to hit milestones and improve your overall health. Once you get into the habit, coast and enjoy the ride. Continue to go to the gym while focusing on more important things, and you’ll feel better than ever before.
- How would your life improve if you exercise regularly?
- What is preventing you from exercising? What mental hang-ups do you have?
- What’s one area of your body you’d like to improve? Why?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.