7 ‘P’s’ to Kick-start An Enjoyable Exercise Routine

7 ‘P’s’ to Kick-start An Enjoyable Exercise Routine

Important: always consult your doctor before undertaking an exercise plan.

It’s true that as we age, our energy levels decrease. But it’s also true fitness counts more than ever in this exciting season of life. In fact, with so much to do and see and experience, staying fit is the key to enjoying every day to the max. If you’re lacking motivation to stay or become fit, here are 7 tips to turn your mindset around.

1. Prioritise

Decreased energy levels mean you’re likely to be too tired to feel like exercising at the end of the day. That’s why it pays to exercise first thing in the morning, before other activities take over. Once you commit to this routine, prepare to stick at it for at least 66 days – this is the time research tells us it takes to cement a habit in the brain. Research also tells us when we procrastinate over an activity, our performance of it is poorer. Take home point: start exercising early in the day!

2. Prepare

Make preparing for exercise as easy as possible by laying out your gear the night before. As the weather grows cooler, pop your exercise clothes on the heated towel rail before you go to bed so they are warm to pull on in the morning. Warm clothes contribute to a warm body – something which, along with warming up before exercise, can improve your performance and decrease your risk of injury.

3. Pamper

Treat yourself to some good quality, attractive exercise gear. It will help you look and feel great, and contribute to your sense of exercise as something important. If cost is an issue, head to the op-shops. They are laden with near-new, comfortable walking pants and tops (there are a lot of people who start an exercise routine but never continue with it!).

4. Protect

Early morning exercise gets harder as the months go by and daylight hours become shorter. Stay safe and motivated by joining an exercise group (this is also a great way to make new friends). Check with your local citizens advice office or look online under ‘Facebook Events’ in your area to find a group that suits you.

5. Patience

If you expect your exercise performance to be as it once was, you’ll only become discouraged. As we age, we experience changes in muscle mass and bone density. Instead of berating yourself for no longer being as fast or agile as you once were, congratulate yourself for being ‘unstoppable’ in committing to daily exercise that is appropriate to your age and ability.

6. Pliable

It can be all too easy to make excuses for not exercising, and one of the best is: “I have a disability so I can’t do it any more.” Instead of taking this negative attitude, be pliable, and check-in with your doctor as to what it is you can do instead. There are almost always healthy alternatives to whatever exercise you’ve enjoyed in the past.

7. Plan

As we age, we often have the health of others to consider, as well as our own. Ageing parents, or a partner who is less able than we are, can make considerable calls on our time, to the point where finding an opportunity to exercise can feel almost impossible. Talk to the health professionals in your life about Carer Support as a way of carving out time for exercise, or invest in a stationary bicycle or treadmill, or an online exercise course that allows you to exercise at home.

Whether you do it for altruistic reasons, or purely for your own benefit, make the commitment to build safe, appropriate exercise into your daily life. It can build your sense of self-esteem, and help improve your mental health, energy levels and suppleness. Most importantly, it can enhance your enjoyment of life as you enter your retirement years.