How to make physical activity a part of life [5 tips] Ichaku [Perfect Gifts Selection]

How to make physical activity a part of life [5 tips]

We are told since infancy that sports are necessary for everyone. And unlike many other ideas that society imposes on us, this one is really useful.

But many people mistakenly believe that sports are only for body image. In fact, physical activity improves cognitive abilities, reduces the risks of many diseases, slows down aging, improves sleep and mood, and boosts self-esteem.

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Importantly, many of these effects occur even with moderate physical activity. For example, just 20 minutes of cardio is enough to improve your mood. And half an hour of regular exercise for 6 weeks, according to one study, can alleviate the symptoms of depression.

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But there's an important condition: for exercise to be beneficial, it must be regular - become a habit. Here are five tips to help with that.

Start small

If you haven't trained for a long time, don't set global goals straight away - run a marathon or do the splits in a month. Achieving them will take time and require considerable effort. It can take a long time to feel the satisfaction of success, and it can undermine your motivation - so you'll soon quit.

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As psychologist Meg Selig explains, people who believe a goal is achievable work harder and more effectively than those who have little or no faith in success. Small but regular athletic successes will constantly fuel motivation. And it will help to make exercise a habit.

The goal can be anything, the main thing is that it does not cause rejection. One journalist, for example, set a goal of working out every day, but only for 10 minutes. Every day she found a new short workout on YouTube and ended up feeling more awake.

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If working out isn't for you, just walk. At least half an hour a day. If your phone doesn't track your physical activity, mark the days on your calendar yourself when you've achieved your goal. This is important for motivation.

Remove obstacles

It is a scientific fact that the less effort it takes to perform an action, the faster it becomes a habit. The human brain tends to expend as little energy as possible in all circumstances.

So if you want to start exercising regularly, make it so that you don't have to constantly overcome everyday obstacles to do so. After having a baby, psychologist Wendy Wood had no way to get back to the gym; there was neither the energy nor the time. To get physical activity back into her life, she decided to change her sport. Jogging doesn't require you to drive halfway across town to the gym, wearing your jogging outfit. All you have to do is put on sneakers and leave the house. But Wendy made it even easier by going to bed in her jogging clothes. And in the morning, when she barely woke up, she needed to put in a minimum of effort to get out for a run.

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You don't have to take such drastic measures. It is enough to analyze how exactly you can help yourself become physically more active. For example, walk more often in really comfortable shoes or a warm hat - so that nothing interferes with your long walk. Or book a separate locker at the fitness club so you don't have to carry your uniform with you. Finally, you can buy a home gym. But only if you're sure it won't become a clothes rack. And if it already has, move on to the next tip.

Come up with a reward

The most important technique for establishing a habit: reward yourself every time you do something useful.

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Economist Kathy Milkman began using this method when she was at university. She was so tired during classes that she didn't feel like going to practice in the evening. Instead, she fantasized about going home and reading a book with a great story - she loved those. So one day Katie decided to use her love of books to make her workouts regular. She found a suitable audiobook, a thriller, and made a promise to herself that she would listen to it only during her workouts. As a result, she began working out every day to listen to the next chapter.

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Kathy later conducted an experiment that confirmed that this behavior was not unique to her. She recruited student volunteers and divided them into two groups. The first group received iPods with interesting audiobooks, but they could only listen to them in the hall - at other times the device was blocked. As a result, participants from this group exercised much more often than participants from the second group, who received no incentive.

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If you don't like audiobooks, try to start watching your favorite TV shows or video blogs while working out on your home exerciser, and listening to podcasts in the gym. The main condition: you should do this only when you are exercising. Otherwise the psychological magic stops working.

Find accomplices

Another important condition for the formation of habits is context. That is what psychologists call everything that surrounds us: living conditions, things, and most importantly, people. It is known that behavior is contagious, especially if it is characteristic of people with whom we willy-nilly compare ourselves.

There is, for example, research that residents of apartment buildings are more willing to save energy when they learn that their neighbors have already begun to do so. It's the same with sports: if a person is surrounded by physically active people, they are more likely to start exercising themselves. Here's what you can do:

  1. Remember which of your friends likes to exercise, and start spending more time with them. Don't try to work out the same way or compare yourself to them. Just highlight for yourself the basic principles: how a friend prepares for workouts and spends them, what gives him or her pleasure. And most importantly, try to tap into his motivation and attitude.
  2. Find a non-athletic friend or two and offer to train together. Commit to organizing a class. And then discuss them together regularly in chats or meetings. A shared class will strengthen your bond. And it will be emotionally harder for all of you to quit working out.

Look for what you really like

Sometimes people find the right sport right away. But, as a rule, it takes time to find one. In addition, it is important that your body is prepared for exercise, otherwise the stress of it will be too much, and you will not understand how you can enjoy it.

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To find the right sport, it is worthwhile to start from personal qualities and situations. Some people like to feel like a winner, so you should pay attention to competitive sports. Others are looking for ways to cope with everyday stress, which means Pilates or yoga can be very beneficial. Some lack socialization - team sports or group classes may be the answer.

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To find something of your own, don't limit yourself to popular types of physical activity. Try different things: fencing, skateboarding, axe throwing. And don't stop trying new things until you find something that fits.

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