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If we were to ask you “what do you want from life” – how would you answer?

Olivia Newton-John said it best when she sang her hit song Physical – “let’s get physical, physical, I wanna get physical.” A song synonymous with tight lycra, sweatbands and those cringe worthy 80’s aerobic moves. Of course her song is a bit of tongue in cheek, but a fun reminder that we all need physical exercise in our lives. 

Our bodies are made to move. Our bones and muscles need movement. Our heart, our brain, our gut needs to feel the energy of movement. In a world today, where we are living through a serious health threat of sitting too much, movement is imperative more now than ever. In fact, the World Health Organisation has now ranked physical inactivity as the fourth largest killer globally.

We know from our work as well as personal experiences that individuals do not suddenly take up exercise, eat well, sleep more, stop drinking simply because they are told too – just ask any wife, who has tried to get their husband healthy! We know and have seen that individuals create healthy habits in their life when they are deeply intrinsically motivated too. What this means is that YOU need to be the one who wants to boost your physical health and love it. 

How can you bring more physical exercise into your life and genuinely enjoy it? 

The key with exercise which is always overlooked is that you need to find the activities that YOU want to do. Truth is, the goodness of physical movement will not be truly experienced if you do not enjoy it.

  1. Find your Purpose. Ask yourself why do you want to exercise? You might be caught up in what you are going to do and forgetting about your why for doing it? It might be to boost your health, get fit, loose weight but are these deep enough motivations for you to keep going when times get tough? You want to look at yourself and those around you. Who could you become with exercise? A better mother, wife, woman, human. 

  2. Value Movement and how it can make you feel.  You may have gathered by now that exercise to us is more than what you see. It forms only part of you. Too often exercise is perceived as a punishment rather than a reward for what the body can do and how it can make you feel. Despite, societal ideas exercise is one of those indulgences we all need for immune health, cardiovascular health, mental health, creativity and performance just to name a few.

  3. What are you capable of doing? What level of exercise or activity can you partake in? Think about what you enjoy doing or what you would love to try? Be realistic in your ability to carry out this activity. All too often people think they need to be able to run a 5km run or do a full hours training session in the beginning. You need to start slow, get the balance of activity right to your ability. It is perfectly OK if you are not great at the activity today, it takes patience, perseverance and consistency.

  4. Create opportunities to exercise? The biggest barrier to exercise we hear is that I don’t have time for that. Are you fitting that mould right now? This is where trying to “fit it in” makes exercise a chore. You lose focus on what exercise can do for you and get caught up in trying to make time for it. Look for ways you can incorporate physical activity into your day. Is it starting with 15 minutes at a time? Can you start to condition your body and mind for exercise through simple activities such as climbing stairs, walking to work, lunchtime walks?

Embracing and starting exercise is all about making subtle behaviour changes. As a society, we are conditioned with the “go-hard or go home” attitude. This mentality is to our detriment because it is not sustainable. Our favourite approach is to know your why, start slow and be kind to yourself.

Exercise should be a reward for what your beautiful body can do, not punishing it for the cake you ate the night before.