Making fitness a way of life is the best way to get healthier and more productive. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you can reap the benefits of regular activity while still meeting the demands of modern life. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or simply develop better exercise and eating habits, developing a fitness-based lifestyle can enhance your life like nothing else can.
There are lots of ways to incorporate fitness into your daily routine, the key is to be flexible and stay motivated. Instead of viewing fitness routines as a series of separate activities performed in dedicated centres, you can make the choice to integrate fitness on a micro level. For example, lots of fitness activities can be performed at home or work, whether that means walking to work a few days a week, going to the gym in your lunch break, or doing a session on the exercise bike in front of the TV.
It's much easier to stick to a fitness plan that has been designed around your existing daily routine, both in terms of motivation and execution. Instead of using work and family commitments as an excuse for inactivity, more people are making the choice to get fit while they work and play. For example, phone meetings can be held while walking in the park, family time can be based around physical activities, and boring domestic chores take on new life when performed as an exercise activity.
While people often use time constraints as an excuse for not exercising, according to clinical psychologist Lavinia Rodriguez, PhD, there are deeper reasons why people fail to meet their fitness goals. “Typically, it’s lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, negative associations, fear or maybe low self-esteem,” says Rodriguez, who says sedentary activities like television and social networking don't have the same psychological barriers. By integrating your fitness goals with the positive, practical aspects of your life, it's much easier to break these associations and stay motivated in times of doubt.
Fitness-industry icon Richard Simmons has a similar suspicion about the links between exercise and fear, saying “Most people are in denial about their health... We all have reasons for not exercising, but it all comes down to time management and fear. Fear you’ll get hurt. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of failure." However, these fears are not only unfounded according to Simmons, they also lead to a false sense of security. "Will you have time for multiple doctors’ appointments?” he asks, adding “Will you have the time and money to take medication every day to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes?”
While it is possible to develop a fitness program alone, like most things in life, it's much easier and more fun with help from the experts. Personal trainers and fitness centres can help turn your fitness goals into reality, with classes designed to fit modern schedules and ideas you can use at home. Local gyms and fitness centres are normally open for extended hours, while personal and group trainers often hold classes in parks and beaches at times and locations convenient to you. Perhaps it's time to stop using your busy life as an excuse and find a fitness program that works with your lifestyle instead of competing with it.