Shake off your Exercise Rutt

Posted on: May 3rd, 2024 by Belinda Brown | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition


Breaking Through: How to Shake Off Your Exercise Rut

It happens to the best of us. We have good intentions (or maybe we don’t), yet a decent exercise routine doesn’t stick. It’s just not fun, or we’re too busy, and we don’t want to pay for a gym membership, likely because we’ve already done so six times, used it for a fortnight, and then just continued paying for it until the twelve-month contract ran out.

We completely understand how frustrating it can be when we find ourselves stuck in a rut, feeling disconnected from our bodies and struggling to enjoy exercise. It can be a tough cycle to break, but I’m here to help. Let’s explore some ways to rekindle your appreciation for your body and find joy in movement.

Get back to your exercise grass roots 

Amidst the array of gadgets and apps available today, it’s easy to overlook the simple joy of moving your body naturally. We can become fixated on calorie counts, riding speeds up hills, or our heart rate zones. While technology aims to simplify our lives, it often introduces unnecessary distractions and, when it fails, leads to frustrating moments.

Exercise is fundamentally about movement—enjoying the sensations of your own body. It can also involve relishing the scenery, socializing with friends, or taking time to reflect and disconnect from the world. It shouldn’t revolve around constantly checking your watch or phone. Of course, for elite athletes or those preparing for a major event, using technology to stay on target makes sense. However, for the average person, technology can complicate what should be an enjoyable activity, often diminishing its inherent benefits.

Take it outside 

The great outdoors is called great for a reason. There’s plenty of research out there that supports the benefits of being in nature on mental health. The simple act of being outdoors – seeing the sky, feeling the wind, hearing the birds, smelling the ocean – has been shown to lower depression and anxiety, boost mood and creativity, provide clarity and give us that all-too-infrequent feeling of awe. So why not tee up your exercise routine with a bit of nature?

  • Take a walk in a national park instead of on a treadmill
  • Use a council-operated outdoor gym in the park
  • Go for an ocean swim.
  • Go for an outdoor ride

Let nature be the background to your fitness journey and you will surely reap the benefits of more than just stronger muscles and leaner limbs.

Small efforts add up

Life is hectic with work demands, managing kids, cooking dinners, and endless laundry. Amidst this chaos, carving out a full hour for exercise can feel daunting, tempting us to toss it into the overflowing laundry basket of unfinished tasks. The problem with this approach? It often means exercise gets pushed aside indefinitely.

To overcome this hurdle, break it down. Sneak in several short bursts of exercise—fifteen or even ten minutes—throughout the day. It’s your day, so you decide when and how to make it happen.

Avoid the ‘chore’ mentality

Exercise should be enjoyable. It doesn’t always have to be an absolute joy but it should be something to look forward to (both the act and the end feelings). If you dread it, then try something else. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise and being aware of what fits you is imperative to developing and (more difficultly) maintaining an achievable routine. Be mindful of the trap of returning to what you’ve always done. Our tastes and preferences change throughout our lifespan, as do our needs and abilities. Pick something that’s good for you for now.

Be honest and take onus

No one else really cares if you exercise except for you. Perhaps your partner may nudge you to be more active, but ultimately, it’s up to you to take charge. This applies to many aspects of life. So, if you’re mentally ready but struggle to start exercising, take a moment to ask yourself why. Be honest with yourself. Are you too exhausted? Do you dislike exercise? Does it make you feel guilty for taking time away from your family?

Identify the underlying reason for your hesitation, then troubleshoot it. If fatigue is the issue, consider what’s draining your energy and see if any tasks can be delegated. If exercise feels like a chore, explore different activities—join a touch football team or try belly dancing. There’s bound to be something that resonates with you.

Feeling guilty? Remember, exercise triggers the release of endorphins, boosting your mood and benefiting your family too. Take responsibility for your well-being. Your body is yours to care for, and you hold the key to maintaining it.

Happy moving!

Written by Physiotherapist Veronica. If you are unsure where to begin on your health and wellbeing journey, schedule in a complimentary 15minute assessment today to see how we can enhance your life. 

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Townsville City Qld 4810
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