Finding the motivation to exercise is hard. From putting it off until the next day to slogging it off altogether to watch an episode of your favourite Netflix show, it seems like there are 101 reasons to postpone a workout. However, with most long term health benefits only being achieved through consistent, regular exercise practices, there are even more reasons to ditch that episode of The Crown to establish a structured, disciplined workout routine.
Whether it be playing a game of doubles with your friends or sweating it out to some intensive cardio, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving your fitness goals. However, if you only take to the gym once a year to burn off those pigs in blankets, you’re missing out on a spectrum of physical benefits that exercise can bring, as well as losing out on those all-important endorphins.
However, we know sticking to it isn’t easy. So here’s a rundown on the top 5 things you can do to up your chances of sticking to a robust, dedicated workout regimen. To keep your body in shape, while building up your natural defences to lower the risk of you generating chronic health conditions. But before we dive in, let’s first address why sticking to an exercise routine is so important.
Why an exercise routine is so important
As we’ve just mentioned, sticking to a regular exercise routine benefits your mind and body in countless ways. But how in particular does it benefit the body and the mind in the long term? Here are a few ways.
Helps you to control your weight – When you exercise you burn calories, it’s as simple as that. But this goes further than sculpting your dream summer bod, having a healthier BMI increases the ease of mobility, decreases the risk of heart disease, decreases the possibility of generating diabetes, reduces joint pain and lowers your blood pressure, to name a few.
Lowers your vulnerability to many health conditions and diseases – In addition to the benefits of losing weight, the healthy blood flow that regular exercise facilitates also lowers your susceptibility of developing a range of cardiovascular diseases. Staying active on a consistent basis also lowers the risk of strokes, arthritis, and many types of cancer from emerging.
Improves mental health – Find yourself under a bit of a dark cloud at times? Exercise can help. As well as the sense of purpose that working out regularly can give you, it’s been scientifically proven that physical activity can stimulate many different brain chemicals that are responsible for making us feel happier, more relaxed, and less anxious.
Boosts energy – You might assume that working out more may increase feelings of fatigue and tiredness, because of the time your body takes to recover afterwards, but it’s actually been proven that exercise increases your energy levels. In the short term, a workout delivers important nutrients and oxygen to your tissues which, in turn, help your heart and your lungs to work more efficiently, giving you more energy to carry out day to day tasks. Also, in the long term, regular exercise improves your muscular strength and endurance, which makes you feel less worn out from moderate physical activity.
So, now we better understand the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, what are the best ways to stay on track with a disciplined workout routine?
Start with something manageable
It’s easy to have grandiose aspirations when you’re planning a workout routine, especially if you’re under a time pressure to reach a specific fitness goal. However, if you set your expectations too high at the beginning of your workout, there’s more chance you’ll burn out earlier and set yourself ever further behind. If you set yourself a goal of running 10 miles every day, when you know you can only run 2 without getting worn out, you’ll soon feel deflated and incapable, and this will damage your morale for the rest of your workout routine.
To avoid this from happening, set yourself reasonable goals. Start off with 5 minutes on a running machine, or a lap around the park. This will slowly build your confidence in your abilities which will help you to feel more motivated. This, in turn, will make you feel more optimistic about the future and will likely increase your chances of sticking to a diligent schedule.
Switch it up
It’s great to build up strength in a particular area of your body, but repeatedly confining yourself to one section of the gym can get a little tedious. And putting your body through the same continuous motions can even cause it some damage. Repetitive strain injury can occur when repetitive movement happens in one particular area of the body, it can happen with any type of physical activity but it is more prevalent in sports such as tennis, martial arts, swimming, or running. Therefore, by planning to do a range of different activities that work out different parts of your body, it avoids the risk of overusing muscles and gives them more time to recover.
As well as the obvious risks to your body, having little variation in your workout routine can also make it feel pretty boring and stale. So if you’re bored of sticking to one particular form of exercise, broaden your parameters and maybe even try something completely new. From checking out that yoga studio you’ve always wanted to go to, to enrolling yourself in a Zumba class, exercise should ultimately be fun, so don’t let a boring workout routine put you off sweating it out.
Try CBD oil
You may not have heard much about this herbal compound, but an increasing amount of studies have shown that CBD can be used as a beneficial accessory to a workout routine, because of its ability to increase focus, aid pain management, and speed up muscle recovery. Deriving from the hemp plant, CBD oil is a completely non-psychoactive extract that is packed full of therapeutic and medicinal benefits.
Due to the unique way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it’s able to improve a person’s concentration by regulating a variety of chemicals that are produced in the brain. It’s been shown to help people stay alert without eliciting the jitters that you may get from drinking caffeine, help ease anxious thoughts, and promote more of a positive outlook. This is useful because being focused and optimistic is very conducive to maintaining a regular exercise routine.
In addition to this, CBD’s ability to aid pain management and speed up muscle recovery makes it a great companion to those who put their muscles under a lot of strain during workouts. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is an extremely common condition where muscles appear achy and sore one or two days after a vigorous workout. Due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s effective at reducing pain and swelling that can be symptomatic of DOMS, while also speeding up tissue recovery to the damaged area. This makes it a very attractive herbal alternative to other painkillers on the market.
You can take CBD in a variety of ways, but we recommend applying CBD or broad-spectrum hemp oil to the affected area or taking it daily in the forms of water-soluble hemp oil capsules. You can find CBD oil for sale online and in shops and retailers.
Work out with a mate
Sweating it out with a companion can help you stick to a workout routine for a variety of reasons. Not only does it make working out way more fun, but it’s also a great way to motivate yourself through those times where you’d struggle to keep going by yourself. While we don’t doubt exercising can be a great time to reflect and gain some well-needed ‘you time’, if you exclusively exercise alone, it can be harder to hold yourself accountable and thus it can be more difficult to reach your fitness goals.
From jogging around a park with a friend to finding a gym buddy or enrolling in classes together, working out doesn’t have to be a lonely activity. Combining exercise with social times can also have a positive effect on your mental health. So spread the gospel of working out with your friends and family, and you may even be able to help them out while reaping the benefits yourself.
Celebrate your successes, big or small
Sticking to a strict workout routine isn’t easy, and it’s even harder to stay on track if you don’t acknowledge passing important, or even minor goalposts. No matter what form of exercise you decide to partake in, giving yourself goals to reach is a great way to motivate yourself. But if you only congratulate yourself after reaching major accomplishments, it’s easier to veer off course and lose motivation in the meantime.
From finally nailing that headstand, to holding a plank pose for a couple of seconds longer than you thought possible, acknowledging and celebrating these small victories is an effective way to build your confidence and to give yourself the energy to keep on achieving.
A great way to keep track of these accomplishments is by keeping a fitness journal. As well as giving yourself time to reflect on a challenging workout, jotting down your victories, be them big or small, will help to motivate you through the times that you’re struggling, and this, in turn, will help to focus your mind on the bigger picture.