It’s no secret that exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health. So why is it so challenging to make it a routine? A recent study featured in the journal Neuropsychologia helps answer this question: choosing physically active behaviors over sedentary ones actually requires more brain power.
This makes sense, but it doesn’t encourage your pre-wired brain to get up and going, especially when you have so many other things to accomplish. Implementing the following suggestions can help you build that motivation to add a dose of exercise to even your craziest days.
Switch it Up
One of the easiest (and most likely to last) ways to incorporate change is to attach it to a habit that you already have. For example, take the stairs in place of the elevator, use a farther train entrance or parking lot rather than the closest, and walk around while brushing your teeth instead of standing still. These small changes are easy to make because they are attached to something that is already familiar.
Commit to Move
Think of the most stressful part of your week (one that occurs regularly) and commit to some sort of physical activity right after it occurs. That might be jogging down the stairs, taking a short walk, or going for a quick run. Attaching it to moments of tension will help you release stress while doing something good for your body.
Have you ever tried working out while watching TV? There are a variety of exercises you can do without ruining your view. This can be especially helpful because you get to indulge the part of your brain that wants to be sedentary while being active as well. Every time you settle into your current show, take the first fifteen or twenty minutes to exercise too.
In addition to these suggestions, there are several workout plans designed to be short and effective, so anyone can squeeze exercise into their busy routine. Here are three examples:
- Sun Salutations: A sun salutation is composed of several classic yoga poses that stretch and strengthen your body. Take ten minutes before you start your day and run through this regime to feel more centered and positive.
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): HIIT is a quick variety of cardio composed of short, intense periods of exercise. Most HIIT programs should only be done three or four days a week, which makes it a great workout to combine with other types of exercise in between. Some HIIT workouts are as short as seven minutes.
- Pilates: Pilates are a good exercise if you’re looking for something in between the previous two routines. It focuses on small, precise movements (similar to yoga), but can be more intense. Pilates can also be done in short rounds, which makes it another great option to incorporate into a morning routine.