I’ve spent quite a lot of time exercising over the years and always found it hard to keep motivated. Usually I’d start doing something, then push myself way to hard, getting obsessed by statistics and gadgets, before running our of steam and giving up again. Sometimes I’d give up for years, other times for months. At the beginning of last year I had a few dietary problems and started suffering from depression due to some personal issues and decided that things needed to change. I sat down and looked at what I enjoyed most in life, I suggest you do the same. My list included the following:
- My wife and kids
- Being outside, wherever that may be
- Challenging myself, whether it’s mentally or physically, at work or at home
It became pretty obvious that to get the most out of the list above that I need to be fit and healthy, so I decided to work towards this in a manner that fitted with the “new” me. Now I quite like running as it is wonderfully simple, simply put on a decent pair of running shoes, dig out a pair of shorts and you’re off. Cheap and easy to start, but I didn’t want to burn myself out again. I found a place near to home that I absolutely love and decided to start walking to it. I chose somewhere at the top of a hill so that I could reward myself with the view at the top, before having an easy downhill walk back. My particular goal was probably harder than most as I was starting with a pretty good base fitness, but the same principle can apply to an easier goal, it just needs to be somewhere that you like going and it needs to be at least a 30 minute round trip. My walk was ninety minutes and you can see the view from the top in the picture below.
Yes, hills! They are natures way of making you fitter quicker, for the sporty ones among you they are a natural way of doing intervals without getting too serious about it. I personally find running, walking or cycling on the flat very boring. Not only does it make my legs hurt, but the view is generally rubbish too. Now start doing your walk 3 or 4 times a week, use an ipod if you want to keep things interesting, but remember to walk briskly. To be getting fitter you need to be starting to get a little out of breath.
Can I run yet?
Absolutely. Get those running shoes on and instead of walking why not try a gentle jog. Don’t try and set any speed records and start to think about amending your route so that it’s still taking at least 30 minutes, perhaps add an extra hill? If you feel tired then take a day off, but try to get out at least 3 to 4 times a week. On a weekend why not try a different route or perhaps have a walk somewhere else while visiting friends or family?
Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Perhaps it’s time to try something different? I usually mix up cycling, swimming and running depending on how I feel at the time. I’m pretty rubbish at planning more than a day or two in advance, because I usually do whatever activity I feel most like at the time depending on how long I’ve got and what the weather is like. The important thing is that you do something at least 3 to 4 times a week, you get out of breath for the duration and that you have fun! If you need others to motivate you then Facebook groups are a great place to start, I’m a member of the Devon Wild Swimming Group and the Plymouth Triathlon Group amongst others..
Tip: Figure out how much time you can spare for exercise in a week and find something you enjoy to fill it. As you get fitter go further or faster and stay out for the same amount of time, just doing more. If you feel tired still go out but dial it back, maybe replace your run/cycle with a brisk walk?