So, yeah, it’s time for me to get back into some cardio! It’s not one of my favourite things and it’s been many months for me without it so I thought I would relay some of the tips I’m using to incorporate it back in, just in case you are in the same boat!
- I picked an exercise I like! Life is too short to spend a lot of time doing something that I hate. For me at the moment that means getting outside in the early mornings, with my fur babies, for some walking/running in a lovely environment. I’m very lucky that I have a dog walking area close to where I live, and so far the weather has been good enough for me to enjoy it every time it’s been scheduled.
- I scheduled it in at a time that suits me and my family. Of course I have to factor my family and work in, but I still made sure to schedule it at a time that also suited me – early mornings.
- I made it as easy as possible to accomplish! I do lots of things to ensure that when my alarm goes off I have the fewest excuses possible. I get to bed early. I have all my clothes out and ready to go. The room I get changed in is warm. I get up early enough that I can enjoy a cup of coffee (and some rubbish tv!) before I go and I can get ready without rushing and stressing. I make sure to dress warmly enough – if I got cold every time I went I wouldn’t want to go anymore. I don’t over think it; when the alarm goes off I just get up.
- I have workout buddies. In this case they are furry, but I still definitely wouldn’t want to let them down by not showing up! Here we are enjoying our time together:
- If I don’t feel like running, or it all feels too hard, I still just get up and get dressed and say to myself ‘You don’t have to run, just walk today, it’ll still be enjoyable and of benefit’. I do this all the time, and once I am out and about I just want to keep going and I do all my running sections no problems.
- I have a back up option. We have been under Severe Weather Warnings here in Tassie a few times in the past week or so and whilst it hasn’t prevented me from getting my outdoor exercise in so far, if it did I made sure to have a back-up option. In my case it is an exercise bike in my living room, so I can still be exercising but in the warmth and either listening to music or watching tv.
- I worked back into it slowly! This is so important! If you want to run or do some other exercise five times per week and you haven’t done any such exercise for ages then definitely do not jump straight into five times per week! You will just get way too sore, probably injured, disheartened and not be able to make it a consistent habit. Start small – just ten minutes the first time a couple of times per week, then GRADUALLY increase as you go along. You will soon be where you want to be and will be able to keep it going, whereas if you bang straight into the full schedule you may be like a firework and burn hard and brightly but not for long! Be more like a lamp that lights the way, less brightly but consistently and for a long time.
- I bought a Fitbit HR which motivates me to get in my set number of steps each day, plus I can take part in little fun challenges with my husband about who wins the steps competitions each week! They also provide virtual stickers to reward you when you achieve certain goals, like you’ve climbed enough stairs that when added up you have reached the height of a hot air balloon etc. These kinds of things aren’t for everyone and should only be used as tools to help you; they aren’t good if you are the kind of person who has to be constantly beating the day before’s achievements and therefore creates stress in your life – this could get out of control and you’d end up exercising for hours every day just to outdo a previous set point! Other companies make such devices as well of course, so it’s a matter of choosing the best one for you.
- Every now and again I reward myself with a new item of workout clothing. I certainly don’t spend much money at all on this – Cotton On, Target and K-mart sales are my mainstays, plus there are Facebook pages in just about everyone’s local area these days where you can buy fab second hand stuff at very cheap prices. But no matter where it comes from, it always feels good to be wearing something that is new, or new to you! Other rewards I treat myself to are magazines or books, a coffee out with my family and very rarely a massage!
- Get a great playlist. Not for me personally, as when I am in nature I love noticing all about it and thinking, but many studies have shown that fab music can be very helpful during exercise so if it works for you go for it! But PLEASE, please, always remain aware of your surroundings and what/who is around you; stay stafe!
Another thing I thought about was how much time and energy I had to spend. For this reason I incorporate high intensity interval training as the majority of my cardio as it takes far less time and is more efficient metabolically. However, it also feels harder due to its higher intensity so if this is going to put you off then you are better off choosing a slightly lower intensity form if it means you are more likely to be consistent. Or team sports are great too! You don’t even notice you are exercising most of the time as you are so caught up in the game, plus it focuses more on skills than your appearance, is a definite appointment, you are part of a team and don’t want to let your team mates down by not showing up, is great motivation for practicing imbetween games and provides so much camaraderie. Some of my very favourite people are those I’ve met playing team sports, even though injury means I no longer have this as an option.
Hopefully this has helped anyone else who has to get back into the cardio game! Think of all the benefits – better heart health, healthier blood pressure, greater fitness, stress release, endorphins, hunger suppression etc. It’s all good!