You’ve heard the NIKE tag line before, we all have, and of course I had to use it for this post as it is very fitting for the topic – Unplanned exercise. If you struggle to maintain a regular exercise routine then the following article may just help you learn to exercise on your own terms, your own way.
I want to talk about planning exercise and why sometimes it’s better to wing it. I want to help break down this post into two parts – first, Exercise – what it really means to exercise, and secondly, Planning, and planning to not plan exercise [confused? lol]
Essentially I want to show you that exercise can be anything you enjoy -‘enjoy’ being the key word. Exercise can be sporadic, you don’t have to slot exercise into a specific routine, day or time frame. Exercise should be fun and we should not limit our self to fun 1 hour on a Monday. By releasing our control we don’t set our self up for failure or feel like we missed an opportunity – we just simply enjoy when we can and at that moment.
I’ll try to keep this simple:
It’s what you want it to be: a walk with the dog, a jog, Five-a-side football, 10 mins in the gym, 4 hours at the beach digging up sandcastles, you name it – if you’re moving and grooving, you’re exercising. Too often we associate exercise with the team sports, gym classes or the weights room.
Simply put, it’s moving and enjoying yourself.
This is the tricky part. Try to not plan exercise for specific days, or heck, any day at all!
If you have constantly yo-yo’d from gym to the couch and you can’t find a rhythm then, simply put, don’t get into one – find the un-rythmisty rythm for you! Remove the guidelines that you set for yourself in which you know you will break in a week or two that ultimately results in self-hatred. How many people have said “I will go to the gym 3 days a week” and we never did make it 3 days? Sound familiar? I tell a lot of of my clients:
‘Don’t set yourself up for failure’
I use this line to show my clients that you don’t have to plan exercise to stick to a healthy lifestyle, there are no rules. Remove the idea of what ‘fitness’ is. When the word fitness rings out do you think ‘5 days a week in the gym’, ‘Eating salad for everrrrrrrr’, ‘Football twice a week with the boys’? Instead I want you to challenge the preconceived concept and and exercise when you feel the urge and want to, not because its Monday and that means international chest day. Again, exercise doesn’t have to be a run or a gym session.
I truly believe that exercising when we want to will create a long term adherence and positive change to our lifestyle. If we learned to stop limiting exercise to certain categories or specifics then exercise can be fun, repetitive and long-term.
Exercise is fun, when you want to exercise!
Now, I’m not saying to forget the long term/workout plan or i’m not saying never ever plan to go to the gym again – of course, structure is important. However, I want to highlight the point that when we identify and limit our understanding of exercise in only one classification, or activity, we can lose the love and the passion. A loss of love and passion potentially means we lose focus and drop the exercise all together.
An example? Going for a run. A run doesn’t have to be a 5k, 10k or 1 hour max effort, a run can be:
- A 5 minute jog round the block then home.
- A Jog-walk-jog-walk mix followed by a side quest to a farmers market you stumbled on.
- A nice easy pace with no expectation of distance to cover or time to be allocated running – it’s simply finished when you felt it was time.
Exercise is simple. It’s what you want it to be, when you want it to be and for as long as you want it to be. The best part being: you get it enjoy it every time!
Juggling: I recently picked up juggling. On a whim. I wanted to get outside more and I found tennis balls in the garden. I can’t explain to you just how much fun I actually had. I caught myself smiling and laughing as I mixed myself up and eventually nailed the 3-ball parley. I must have been out in the garden for over an hour practising – not for anything specifically but because I enjoyed it! Fun fact: Rory Mcilroy has picked up juggling to focus and meditate before tournaments.
Side note: it’s OK to miss workouts – your body might just be telling you to rest. Perhaps catching up with friends is more important than the gym today. Don’t forget to enjoy life outside of the gym.
Please leave a comment or anything below, i’d love to hear your thoughts on my post!