According to the Department of Health and Human Services, less than five percent of adults get 30 minutes of physical activity per day. On a similarly bleak note, only one-third of adults get the recommended amount of physical exercise each week (150-300 minutes).
If you are part of the group that doesn’t meet the weekly exercise recommendations, what’s stopping you? Is it the fact that exercise feels too hard? Luckily, there are ways to make exercising easier. Read on for some of my favorite ways to do this.
Change Your Idea of What “Counts”
If making regular exercise a habit feels impossible, maybe you need to change your mindset and think differently about what “counts” as exercise.
A lot of us have this idea that something only counts as a workout if it lasts a certain amount of time or gets us sweaty and sore the next day. If you lower the bar a little bit, though, you might have an easier time fitting in workouts that “count” toward your ultimate health and fitness goals.
Instead of convincing yourself that workouts only count if they last an hour, change your mindset and accept that any amount of movement, even if it only lasts for five minutes, is better than no movement at all. Stop measuring the quality of workouts based on how sweaty or sore you are (these are not great markers of a workout’s effectiveness anyway) and start counting anything that gets you up off the couch.
By changing your mindset and being a little more flexible, you’ll be able to make way more progress than you will if you continue to operate based on an all-or-nothing way of thinking.
Try Habit Stacking
Another technique that can be helpful is habit stacking. Entrepreneur and author James Clear talks about this concept a lot, and it’s a super helpful approach for people who are trying to develop new habits, including the habit of exercise.
Habit stacking involves “stacking” a new habit on top of an existing one. For example, you might already have a habit of brushing your teeth first thing in the morning.
If you want to develop a new habit, try stacking it on top of brushing your teeth. Maybe, while you brush your teeth you do calf raises or, right after you’re finished, you drop to the ground and do 10 push-ups.
You’ll likely find that it’s easier to remember to do the push-ups because you’ve attached them to another habit. It might not seem like much at first but, again, it’s way better than doing nothing at all.
It’s really easy to get in the zone and forget to get up and move. Breaking up your workday or your day-to-day activities with small bouts of exercise can be incredibly beneficial, though. It’ll help you focus, it’ll boost your energy, and it’ll help you get a little closer toward your fitness goals.
Try setting an alarm to go off at five minutes to each hour (or, at least, each hour during the day — you don’t need alarms to exercise going off in the middle of the night!). Then, when the alarm goes off, get up and do a couple of minutes of movement (squats, push-ups, walking lunges, pull-ups, etc.).
These little bits of exercise all add up, but you won’t feel like you’re putting in a ton of time and effort to fit in a workout. If it feels easy, you’re going to feel more inclined to do it.
Set Up Equipment Around the House
Right now, we’re all spending a lot more time at home. If you have equipment lying around meant for working out at home (resistance bands, a pull-up bar, etc.), another good trick for making exercising easier is to try setting it up in strategic locations around your house.
Put a resistance band by your computer so you can easily stand up and do some band pull-aparts, for example, or put a kettlebell by the bathroom door so you can do a few swings every time you take a bathroom break.
Having the cue of a piece of equipment waiting for you will help you to remember to do certain exercises, and you’ll find that it soon becomes habitual. I know this has been the case for me with pull-ups. I have a pull-up bar hanging in the doorway of my office, and I do a pull-up or two every time I walk out the door. Now, it’s gotten to a point where I feel weird if I don’t do one!
Just be sure to set your equipment up so it’s out of the way. That way, you won’t have to worry about tripping over it!
Try These Tips for Making Exercising Easier Today
Establishing a habit of regular exercise isn’t easy, especially if you’ve spent months or even years not getting in any kind of consistent physical activity. The good news is that you can change your habits at any time. If you want to make exercising easier and increase your chances of sticking to a routine long-term, give these tips a try today.
What are your favorite ways to make exercising easier? Comment below and let me know!