We all know that regular exercise is essential for vibrant health. My personal mantra is around sustainable exercise – finding ways to incorporate movement into every day life, without needing to spend hours in the gym, or do hard, exhausting workouts that deplete and tax a body that may already be in a stressed state (hello, parenthood!).
But the honest truth is that for the last little while, I’ve been really struggling to get my body moving consistently. Chalk it up to colder weather, less daylight, and a very full plate with my day-job, building my own business, and some big family obligations. When I have a moment to chill, I just want to sit, not think, not do, just be.
But, it’s no secret that being active is the key to more energy, a more positive mindset, and better health through stressful times. And I KNOW how much better I feel when I’m active. I’ve spent the last decade exercising or moving my body most days of the week (I was even lifting weights in the gym up to 3 days before I went into labour with my son), and the last few months of sporadic, once or twice a week exercise is making me feel yucky. I keep trying to re-motivate myself (new yoga membership! Yoga and weights 1 month challenge! Kettlebell workouts at home every day!), but it just isn’t sticking.
So I’ve done some soul searching as to why I can’t get in the groove again. And the answer is just that, THE GROOVE. Research tells us that motivation alone is not the thing that gets us to make sustainable lifestyle change. Motivation starts the engine, but it is HABIT that keeps the tank full. A habit is something you do consistently, without having to ignite motivation, discipline or even spend energy thinking about it – you just do it, because you always do it. Think brushing your teeth, or making a pot of coffee in the morning. To reinvigorate my movement program, I have to turn it into a habit.
Enter the Move Every Day Challenge. For one week, I’ve committed to some kind of movement every single day. The commitment is small, and the pressure is off. It’s just one week, and any kind of movement counts. Some days it might be as significant as working out at the gym, or heading to a yoga class. Other days, a lunchtime walk or evening stretch session is good enough. What matters is that I am consistent in being active throughout daily habits.
So how am I going to work movement into a very full calendar? I’m looking for opportunities to pair it with things I’m doing anyway. For example, this morning I am working in a coffee shop. I left my car at home, so I can get a good walk in. Yesterday morning as the little was eating breakfast, I laid on the floor and did some stretching. Tomorrow I’ll be at the office, so I’m going to hit the gym on my lunch break. After a successful week of regular movement, I’ll have built up some confidence (and the beginnings of a habit), and can commit to a second week. And then a third, a fourth, and so on.
I’ll be posting my daily movement on Instagram to keep myself accountable, so check in with me over there through the week! I’d love your encouragement. And comment below to tell me how you work regular movement into your day to day life, I’m interested in your tips!