A truly effective exercise routine is one that is maintained throughout its course until the end goal is reached, whether that be losing weight, improving one’s time in a run, or getting stronger.

The biggest challenge most people face is staying consistent. Why is that? A common answer is ‘life happens’. After a long stressful day at work, all they want is some rest and relaxation.

The average work day runs from 9am to 5pm, sometimes more depending on what country you’re living in, leaving little room for exercise. Throw in a family with children, then you’re really short on time.

Is there a way to mitigate this? Yes. Let’s explore five of them.

1. A change in mindset

Most office jobs demand long hours of sitting and staring at a screen. The average person is bound to feel exhausted after work, especially if they don’t have an ergonomic work station which could even lead to work-related injuries.

One question such a person should ask themselves at the end of the day is, “How is it that I’m tired yet I’ve been sitting all day?”

You’re more often than not more mentally drained than you are physically after work. If anything, physical activity is one of the best things you can do to refresh your mind and body.

It reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, strengthens muscles, and improves one’s mood.

Before you put off that 30-minute workout, convince yourself you’re not physically tired, just mentally, unless your job is already physically demanding, then maybe a break might be in your best interest.

2. Plan effectively

 A solid plan ensures every minute of the day is accounted for. It may seem daunting at first, but keeping track of how you spend your day reveals where you wasted time and potential places you can save it.

Time management is a skill in and of itself, so combining it with an exercise routine could lead to very good results. Maybe you don’t have time in the evenings – what if you slotted in a 20 to 25-minute session in the morning?

Let’s say both mornings and evenings after work are busy – can you squeeze something in during your lunch break, maybe a brisk walk or bike ride?

You could even go so far as incorporating the exercise into daily activities, for example, walking to pick the kids from school instead of driving. Worst case scenario, skipping rope for 15 minutes every other night in the house or its surroundings.

Suddenly, being too busy for exercise doesn’t seem like a reasonable excuse anymore. Even if you ever get to a point where you’re too busy to do anything, make it so that one of the most important meetings in your schedule is with yourself, and the main agenda being physical activity.

3. Team up.

 Some people find it easier working in teams to achieve a goal. Some are just extroverted. If this describes you, then an exercise partner or group could help you through those rough patches.

Loneliness is a serial motivation killer only some can handle effectively. With a partner(s) present, you’re more likely to push each other and make it through slumps in the exercise routine.

You could also share progress and weaknesses and how each of you overcame them. The mind is the biggest battlefield, and with no one to watch your back, you won’t always know where you’re going unless you’ve been there before.

People who’ve struggled with starting and stopping an exercise routine as well as those just dipping their toes for the first time should benefit the most from teaming up.

It smoothens the transition to an active lifestyle, and makes it less awkward for those who are self-conscious about what others think about them working out.

4. Journal

 What gets measured gets accomplished. If you’re struggling with maintaining an exercise plan, one of the best things you can do to diagnose the problem is to diagnose the problem.

How did you feel on that day you didn’t want to exercise? Did some major life event eat into your workout time? Are you constantly missing out on exercise because of traffic delays? Write it down.

At the end of each week or maybe twice a month, go through your journal and assess the pain points the same way you would at your workplace and try coming up with solutions.

After all, your health should be your biggest investment. Neglect it, and you might make losses you’ll never recover from.  

On the other hand, when you do exercise successfully, be sure to write that down in the journal as well so you can go over what made that day successful.

5. Rest

 It’s not exercise, but it plays a big part in making sure you’re ready to go when it’s time. One of the reasons you feel extra tired at the end of the day could be you’re not getting enough sleep.

A good night’s rest should give you plenty of energy to finish the day strong with some physical activity. If you’re the type that likes working out in the morning, good sleep should leave you feeling even more motivated to get up and about.

There are a couple of things you can do to ensure you sleep well. Some of these include sleeping on a comfortable mattress, using the right pillow, avoiding screens half an hour before bed, or having a bedtime routine.

Proper sleep also aids in recovery after exercise sessions, so remember to take it easy after hard workout sessions. You’ve earned it.

Written By:
Victor Nyagudi,
Exercise Therapist
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

When You Just Can’t Seem To Maintain An Exercise Routine

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