Everybody’s Different, Do It Your Way!

Tom Buck | 2014-07-10 00:03:40

A lot of the time when I’ve spoken to people about exercise they have often found themselves to be put off from regular physical exercise due to the pressure they put on their self mentally before they have even begun. In my experience this has come down to the following reasons:

  • Unrealistic expectations we have of exercise, i.e. expecting to run 3-4 miles because a friend or relative can do it or we could do it 2-3 years ago.
  • Previous experience holding us back. Bad experiences can live long in our memories and a common problem of this is then being restricted from future endeavours due to one bad previous experience, which has then manifested into a greater fear over time.
  • Engaging in exercise we don’t necessarily enjoy. E.g. you’ll find that if you haven’t exercised in a while, then any exercise at all will put you off because you convince yourself that you won’t enjoy it. Of course if you’ve done something previously and you didn’t enjoy it, this isn’t to say you should persist with it, but if it has been a while then why not give it another go? People change over time and you may enjoy something you may not have done a couple of years ago.

Throughout my previous articles I have continually stressed the point of making exercise personal to you. There may be excuses lingering in your mind or apprehension about engaging in something new. This is all common place and you should realise that you are not the only one out there who may be new to a particular form of exercise and you are certainly not the only one who has unrealistic expectations of your own abilities or previous experience holding you back. To overcome these it is all about being realistic and planning a reasonable time scale to improve and most of all: having the confidence to get up and go and be a healthier person. A large proportion of people dropping out from regular exercise do so because their ability does not match expectation and you lose confidence. The lesson here is to be confident in your ability and do something you enjoy. Don’t be rushed by other people’s ideas of exercise and build your own personal way of exercising – something you enjoy and provides you with the opportunity for steady improvement and confidence.

Exercise isn’t defined by a set number of miles, times or weights. You can define exercise yourself – start off slow and go for a walk on your lunch break at work, cycle/walk/run to and from work and build this up and try something new. E.g. swimming, yoga, pilates or a spin class. There are many varying forms of exercise that are all equally beneficial and each of them provides us with a healthier lifestyle and reduces any health risks associated with sedentary behaviour. Don’t forget the simplest form of exercise: WALKING!! Start with a walk a day; build to a jog and then into a run. Take your time and enjoy yourself, there is no rush and a healthier happier life awaits you.

KEY POINT: Exercise is different for everybody and yours should be no different. Find what’s comfortable for you, be it exercising in a class, with a friend or on your own. As long as it is something you enjoy you can then start to build from that enjoyment and be confident in your own ability. Everybody’s different let’s celebrate that!

Tom Buck (Research Assistant, Rescon)