If exercise has never been a part of your life in the past and you’re struggling to bring it into your routine, there are several things you can do to fight those inevitable stints of exercise avoidance.
A healthy lifestyle is difficult to harness. With the options available on a student budget and the convenience of certain foods, it takes a great deal of will just to be marginally healthy, diet-wise. We of the Gruesome Twosome have of late shown great restraint in the supermarket. We’ve been buying fresh vegetables and brown rice. We even managed to walk straight past the lemon meringue pies during a recent trip (granted, it was while on our way to a bag of peanut M&Ms). Still, that’s the kind of restraint you can build a healthy lifestyle around, am I right?
Well, sadly, the only other times we have been able to show that same kind of gilded restraint were whilst deciding whether or not to go exercise. We are experts at pumping up our willpower: too much work to do (“I’m too stressed!”); too little work to do (“I can finally relax for once!”); too tired (no discussion necessary in this situation, as the topic of exercise is never raised); the list could go on and, well, has gone on for years.
However, there comes a time in every cycle where one must disrupt the routine. Personally, I have tried to tell myself, “No more excuses, no more wasting away. You’re going to do this, and you’re going to like it.”
It was not the right approach. While this kind of “tough love” approach can probably work for some, there are better, more relaxing, more positive ways to approach healthy living. It doesn’t have to be a chore, and it doesn’t have to be a big ogre in the background of every decision you make. If you really want to make healthy living a strong part of your everyday life, what you’re really after is a lifestyle change.
“Lifestyle change? Sounds hard!” I am saying to myself, as I write this. But it takes some conscious attention to note that you cannot change your lifestyle with a swift decision. It takes time and it takes serious planning. Once the idea that “lifestyle change” is not the same as “profile picture change” or “password change” is internalized, it’s a little easier to relax about the whole thing. One of the most important steps toward making a healthy change to your lifestyle is the first one: set goals.
It can be fun setting goals, but the process needs to be structured. You can’t just set a goal like “become a healthy person.” You need to set goals that are specific, measurable and realistic. For example, “visit the gym for one hour, three times per week.” It can be good to start out with a “become healthy” type of goal, but it won’t work unless you break it down into specific goals like the one mentioned above. Beyond setting a goal to visit the gym three times per week, it is also very helpful to write down ways that you can make sure you actually follow through on that goal. Make a note of which days you will go on, or make a note that will preemptively respond to any “not today” excuses that might come up when it’s time to go to the gym. You can set your goals however you like. Just remember to keep them specific and realistic.
If you have trouble setting your goals, setting up a fitness consultation with Bison Recreation Services is a great way to get started. Bison Rec Services trainers can perform a physical assessment and help you determine how to best approach healthy living. There are a whole set of options in different price ranges that include everything from one-time consultations to help you build a set of goals, to in depth physical assessment and personal training packages.
Visit Bison Recreation Services at Umanitoba.ca, or see them in person at 145 Frank Kennedy for all the details.