For the fall season, we’re introducing Fitness Focus, a series of blog posts written by Omada Health Coaches on various topics pertaining to exercise and physical activity. We hope this series can complement the knowledge you are building about fitness and inspire you to keep pushing down the path of healthy living.
For Part 2 of this series, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you define your own version of “exercise” and inspire you to find more ways to get active.
“Exercise.” It is an often-dreaded word for many people because it can bring about feelings of anxiety, unease, distress, and displeasure. We all know that exercise is an important part of preventing chronic disease and feeling our best selves. But how are you supposed to exercise if you do not enjoy it? If you are finding yourself having a hard time starting or sticking to an exercise plan, you are definitely not alone. Many of us struggle with getting out of a sedentary rut, even though we have the best intentions and want to be healthy.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably time to not just switch up your workout, but to find an activity you truly enjoy. Like most things in life, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, you are unlikely to stick to it. You don’t have to choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym because that is what you think you should do. Instead, try to pick activities that you find interesting, fun, and fit your lifestyle and abilities.
Some ideas to get you started:
– Hiking outside with friends or family
– Rock climbing
– Swimming in a local lake or pool
– Playing frisbee
– Riding your bike everywhere you can
– Recreational sports such as skiing, tennis, or karate (think of one that you have always wanted to try!)
– Playing ping pong
– Jumping rope
– Walking the dog
– Water aerobics
– Paddle boarding
…And the list goes on! The point is to start thinking about activities YOU enjoy most, and activities you can see yourself doing on a regular basis.
In addition to recreational activities, many of the things we do each day also hold exercise potential, such as cleaning the house or running errands.
Here are some ways to turn turn chores into exercise:
1. Yard work (e.g., raking leaves, weed picking, gardening, mowing the lawn)
2. When vacuuming, perform some walking lunges.
3. When scrubbing the shower or cleaning windows, use long, sweeping movements and extend your arms. Squat instead of bend to reach the low spots.
4. Dance around while cleaning– enjoy the music!
5. Use a step stool or ladder when you need to reach high places.
6. Instead of vacuuming your floor, sweep it.
7. Instead of taking one trip up and down your stairs, make multiple ones with smaller loads of things to carry.
8. Park further away when running errands, so you have a longer walk to the front door of where you are heading.
9. Build a standing desk or sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair at your desk.
10. Instead of having meetings at work in which you sit, ask your coworkers to have a walking meeting outside.
11. Hand-wash your car.
As with all aspects of your health journey, be kind to yourself and take baby steps. It takes time for activity to feel like a routine, and it may take some time to find something you truly enjoy. Try to see exercise as an opportunity to have fun; you never know what you may discover!
Julie lives in Berkeley, California and is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She is currently working towards her registered dietitian license, and has a Master’s in English. In her free time, she can be found hiking, camping, running, and reading.