Updated: Dec 17, 2020
To continue the series of How to take care of yourself, I would like to talk about sports. This is again an area that we all know that is important, we all know it is healthy and beneficial to regularly exercise, however we very often start to do some exercise with a lot of enthusiasm and after a while we just realise that we do pay the gym fee for months without even getting close to the building. So how can we make this work so that exercising becomes part of our life?
Personally, I had been on both sides. When I was a kid, I was full of energy and was running around with the other kids without stopping for a moment, I enjoyed all kind of physical activities and I was quite good at sports. My father was quite sporty as well (not my mum!), he taught us with my sister ice-skating, swimming, riding a bicycle, paddling very early, so I could say that we had the basics for some kind of active life. However, I stopped exercising when I went to university and had done nothing at all for about 6-7 years in my early twenties. It had its effect on my health of course, I became quite overweight and as a typical couch potato, I panted when I had to take the stairs. I felt like my sporty and fit self was locked into the body of a fat woman but for years I was not able to change this even if I tried.
Then there were some changes in my personal life and that was the trigger so I started to exercise with friends. I remember that I run 800 meters and I wanted to die! It was so hard at the beginning but then we had a routine of running 2-3 times a week after work. After a while I went running alone when my friends couldn't make it and I continued running when I moved abroad, I went to run to discover a new area when I was on vacation in a new place, I started to connect my holidays with half marathons. I started to play beach volley as well and I just fell in love with the feeling of it. But doesn't matter what I actually do, sport is part of my life for a while and when I spend a couple of days without exercising, I notice that my body and mind both are asking for it. Even if I just have an hour walking or a 20 minutes stretching in the living room, that changes everything, my mood, my humour, how I face my actual problems. I learned this about myself and I recognise when I need some activity and I do my best to get the time for it.
So what was the key to actually change my life style? I was lucky as I had the below ingredients so it was quite an ideal situation to make a change. If you tried a couple of times already to get the hang of the regular sport but you ended up hating exercising or you just think that sport is not for you, then a coaching process will help to overcome the barriors. During the coaching sessions we talk through all the areas and see where you need to focus and what would work for you the most, what are the blockers that don't let you succeed.
Motivation - Sit down and think it over, why do you want to be more sporty? To lose weight? To get rid of the pain in your back? To be more attractive? To fit into that dress? To improve your health? To be able to run after your kids or grandkids and play with them? We all have very different reasons, so sit down and think over honestly, why is it important for you. Write it down, visualise your goal and you can even make a vision board that you can look at whenever you would stay at home and watch series instead of exercising.
Use your success - the first results boost your self-confidence and multiplies your motivation if you use it well. Use your success to congratulate yourself for what you had done for yourself and turn it into even more motivation. There are so many apps there that can make your workout measurable and you can use social media for the good now, post your activities to celebrate and gain even more motivation.
Planning - I am a big fan of a routine as it helps you to overcome the days when your motivation gets weaker, and those days will come, believe me. Plan ahead of the week or month to see exactly which days and what time of the day will you have the time to do sport and stick to it whatever happens. Select a sport you not only enjoy but you can adjust it into your daily life easily.
Sport buddies - Have a commitment to meet at 6 a.m. with a friend to go to the morning spinning class will ensure that you don't listen to that voice in the head to simply shut down the alarm and go back to sleep. If you don't have a sport buddy you can join a sport group physically or virtually and you will see how much it helps to get motivation from each other.
Price - Magic always comes with a price. What will you lose if you decide to exercise 3 times a week? For example, let's say that you decided to go to the gym before work, which means that you won't be able to go out with your friends that often as you need to wake up early the next day. Is there another day when you can schedule your exercise or are you ready to miss some programs with your friends? Be aware of the price you are willing to pay for the change in your life and make a conscious decision. Share and discuss your decision with your environment as you might be happy to pay the price but not your family or partner who might see you less.
Supporting partner, families - At the beginning most people are supportive but there are always people who will tell you not to continue any more as you are too thin or running makes more harm to the knees than helping or you can catch a cold when doing sport in a windy weather. Of course they might be right, but mostly this is about their fears. When you start to see the changes and get healthier, some people will take it personally and will translate it to the lack of success from their side. Your success shouldn't be others failure but sometimes they take it as if it were, so try to understand this and discuss it with your friends and family to get their support. If a friend will not be able to support you when you want to improve your life, it worths to think over your relationship. This might be also a price that you need to pay, add it to the list!
Don't think it over, just start it - today is just as good to start it, so why shall you wait?