The lockdown diaries: Staying motivated to exercise

Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

In these unprecedented times, we are all having to change and adapt the way we live our everyday lives. And this doesn’t just mean not going out with friends and working from home. It also means you can’t go to your favourite exercise classes or climbing at the gym.

To be honest, exercise classes are something I have really missed since going away to travel. Despite climbing all the time outdoors, I miss being able to mix things up by going to hot yoga, or aerial circus, or the odd Zumba class. That sense of togetherness that gives you the extra motivation you need when you just can’t be bothered!

But I have also learned a lot about motivating myself – to stretch regularly, to do yoga, to do rehab. And, yes, even to climb, because sometimes even that is hard to get excited about. So here are a few tips for all of you guys stuck at home and staring at that exercise mat, thinking “Maybe tomorrow”.

  1. Don’t take no for an answer
    Don’t even consider quitting. Today, and every day, exercise is just part of your routine. Not doing it is not an option. When the option isn’t there, it’s much easier to just get on with it.
  2. Start small
    Committing to an hour-long workout every single day can seem daunting. Why not start with 15 mins? It seems so much more manageable, and once you get into the swing of things, you’ll probably do a little bit more!
  3. Have a plan
    Write down the exercises you’re going to do, prepare all the workout material you need, or make sure you know which exercise video you’re going to follow each day. It makes it harder to back out.
  4. Stick to a schedule
    Pick a specific time every day that works for you. In the morning, before starting work, or right after finishing. Just before breakfast or dinner. Write it in your diary. Make it part of your day.
  5. Pick some good music!
    For me, the music is really important. If I put on my favourite soundtracks, it makes me want to move and stops me from feeling lazy. Make a playlist of your favourite stuff and stick it on to get yourself in the mood! Your brain will know it’s exercise time.
  6. Find a buddy
    This is one they always suggest for the gym, and it totally works. When someone is there to keep you accountable, you’re more likely to do things. If you live with a partner or housemates, do it together. If you live alone, why not do a regular virtual session with your friends?
  7. Join a virtual class
    Loads of instructors have taken their classes online. Why not check if your favourite instructor or gym is doing this, and join in? If you don’t know of any, I’m sure at least one of your friends will.
  8. Be creative
    Don’t have weights? Use water-filled bottles. Don’t have a TheraBand? Use a towel or cloth. Don’t have a finger board? Hang off your door frame. There is always something you can find at home that will do the job, even if imperfectly.
  9. Set yourself goals
    Just as you would at the gym, set yourself some goals for every week. More squats every day, holding that plank for longer, using heavier weights, trying new yoga poses. Now is the time to improve!
  10. Try something new!
    Why not check out something you wouldn’t normally? Try Tabata, Pilates or HIIT. Find an online Zumba class. Or discover yoga for the first time. This could be a great chance to broaden your repertoire.

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