All this month, we are are knocking down barriers to movement so you can be more active more of the time!
When someone says that you should just “make activity happen”, it sounds very easy on its face. But there are some serious barriers between people and a routine of daily movement — personal, professional, physical, mental, etc. Breaking through those barriers is the key. Throughout this month we are providing ways to bust through those walls, to make movement a part of your daily routine.
We know how important physical activity is for us. Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of regular physical activity to help lower the risk of diabetes, improve heart health, and emotional health as well. In fact, physical inactivity is thought to be one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States.
Breaking Down Barriers
Exercise drudgery is a barrier for sure. So to start breaking through, find the activity that brings you enjoyment. When you choose an activity you love, you are more likely to engage more often and less likely to sustain an injury. Activities that you enjoy are also better for your mental health. List those, and when you read them over again the one that makes you smile is the one you should start with.
Living crazy lives at a zillion miles per hour can be a definite barrier. Write your activity down in your schedule, like an appointment with yourself. This elevates the importance of movement by putting in right beside other errands and tasks that make it to your schedule. The other benefit is that this can help prevent it from being overlooked in the middle of our busy lives.
Weather can be a huge barrier. If the weather does not permit you to participate in your activity outside, have a backup activity that can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are many calisthenic exercises that build strength, flexibility, and can be done inside. The easiest thing in the world is to do sit ups and push ups (I call these S&Ps). You can fit them in at any time, and they don’t take long to complete.
SSDD (same “stuff”, different day) gets in your way. Think about the above advice to do sit ups and push ups, and how boring this might seem. There’s nothing sexy about it, there’s no fancy tech involved, and you’re just doing the same thing over and over. The way through this barrier is to measure improvements that you can see happen over time. How much easier do your sets seem over time? Your muscles will be sore, but you know this will go away over a week or so as your muscle tone improves. After two weeks, how do you feel, how much more energy do you have? Tracking these variables will focus you on the things that change, not the things that stay the same.
There is no denying that barriers exist to keep us from being as active as we need to be. But practical tips can help us help ourselves over these hurdles to regain our fitness and get the benefits we know are waiting for us once we do engage.