1. Pick something you love, or have really always wanted to try, to focus on. Don’t take up running because you think it’s what fit people do, or join a gym because you think it’s the only option. Start from a place of interest, joy, or true enthusiasm. All kinds of things ‘count’ when it comes to moving your body. Be creative!
2. Don’t try to shift your schedule to accommodate a new workout routine. Make it fit your schedule, work around and with the life you already live. Your schedule is your schedule for good reasons. If you have space in it to slide in some new things, without pressurizing existing commitments, you’re more likely to take pleasure from those new things. Soon, they’ll become part of the routine too.
1. Think in terms of building habits instead of a specific goal – you have way more control over your daily tasks than you do over your results.
2. Attach your new habits to an existing one. ‘I will do 10 minutes of yoga after I brush my teeth at night.’ Not only does that give you a specific time to do something, it lets you build a strong mental picture of yourself building the habit.
1. Figure out what to wear– that is, pick clothing that you think works for you for that activity. Maybe that means buying a new pair of leggings and sports bra, or pulling out your favorite T-shirts and baggy sweats. Or a tutu and top hat! The key thing is to be comfortable for you, as you, whether that means sleeveless tank, bra top, sweater with scarf, cap, ponytail, whatever. I happen to like wearing the same type of outfit (quick-dry top and capri leggings) for a) yoga, b) walking, c) recreational kayaking, and d) grocery shopping. So I do.
2. Make plans with others to do physical fun things. It makes those things even more fun, and is a motivator to do them (if you’re feeling in need of one). I often make yoga-dates with folks, and planning cycling with others gets me out the door on two wheels.
3. Take good care of your feet! This means making sure you have shoes that fit well, with whatever support you might need, good socks, plenty of band-aids or moleskin to protect against blisters, etc. while you’re breaking them in (for new hiking or ski boots, for instance) . You’ll be oh so glad you did.
I’m a bit leery to offer advice, everyone’s experience is so different. As someone with big feels all the time I think being prepared to encounter strong emotions around fitness & workouts is important. It’s normal to feel anxious, nervous, silly…all the feels!
Realizing moving my body can sometimes release tension or feelings in interesting ways helps me normalize those experiences.
There have been a few posts about the self-serving bias of thinking we are more fit than we actually are. It can be humbling to realize the seemingly modest goal may be more challenging than expected.
My advice is adjust your expectations as you get more information and focus on your motivation for your fitness goals.
I want to be able to continue to enjoy a wide variety of activities, manage my blood pressure and work through anxiety to get that endorphin boost.
I’m sending positive vibes out to everyone trying new things, recommitting to good habits and those scaling back activity for a bunch of reasons. Yay you!
Don’t measure yourself against other people. I had a friend who wouldn’t run on the track at the gym because “I have to run too hard to keep up with everyone else on the track.” You have no idea what anyone else’s movement story is and you can’t compare yourself. In every gym there will be someone who can lift more than you, someone who is bendier than you, has a better grasp of the steps in a class, or who can ride harder and longer. Learn to listen to your own body, not look outside.
And inversely, remember that no one is actually watching you and thinking you are clumsy/ slow/ big/ hairy/ unfit. People doing activities are in the activities, not entangled in what other people are doing.
You do you. Deepen your own practice of knowing your own body and what it can do, its strengths, where you need to stretch more. Make it about you.
1. Start small and build from there. Ten minutes of yoga. Fifteen minutes in the weight room. Walk-run intervals for a few blocks.
2. If you’re thinking of running, join a learn to run group. There are loads of them that start up each January. It’s a safe and fun way to learn to run and become a part of a community.
3. It doesn’t need to be complicated but it helps to be informed. All activities involve new skills and technique that you need to know to do them in a safe and healthy way. If you’re starting to do resistance training in the weight room for the first time, for example, take advantage of the personal training sessions that most gyms will offer to newbies to introduce them to the equipment and help set up a new routine. And there’s a lot of info online about all sorts of activities. Read it, ask around, and make sure you have a sense of what you’re doing. This isn’t just to prevent injury, but also to help build your confidence. When you know what you’re doing you’ll feel better about doing it.