Our Social Sport Activators Megan Higgs and Elise Richmond highlight their top tips of how to stay motivated to exercise through lockdowns, tiers and all the other fun stuff 2020 has thrown at us!
Starting regular exercise can be daunting but in these difficult times its more important than ever to keep active! As we know, exercise has many health benefits both physically and mentally, so here are some top tips to make starting, or continuing with, exercise a little more simple:
- Set yourself goals – try to create some short-term and long-term goals that can be revisited regularly. These goals can be simply exercising 3 times a week, or they can be more specific such as how long it takes you to do your run. Ensure these goals are both achievable and relative to any experience you have of previous exercise. There’s nothing worse than trying to achieve an unreachable target!
- Reward yourself – When you achieve your goals, give yourself a reward. This is so important to get yourself motivated! Try to outline what your rewards are for each goal before starting to exercise, this will really make you want to start exercising.
- Routine! Having a good routine to stick to really helps with reaching goals. It might be going for morning walks everyday, setting a time for daily runs with your housemate or deciding which online classes to complete. Try to use some form of activity, whether it be a walk or a gym class, to break up the day when studying or working to take a break from the screen.
- Experiment with different activities – there is such a huge variety of activities to try out, so see what works for you. There’s HITT sessions, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, weight sessions…what works for somebody may not work for everybody so dip your toe in and try to find your favourite
- Give online classes a go! At the moment, it’s a great way for many of us to stay active. Northumbria Sport have over 70 hours of workouts you can access anytime and still have live classes weekly for Fitness Members. Visit the Keeping active at home webpage or the Northumbria Sport app to find out more.
- Don’t do it alone – we’re all lacking social interaction at the moment and actually exercise is one of the few ways we are actually allowed to socialise. In all Tiers you are able to meet up with someone from another household outside (at a distance of course) and do some form of exercise.
- Use your phone! Apps like the Nike Running App can help with focus and motivation. Elise used this during Lockdown 2.0 “I find running boring, it’s not a team sport and it’s not a class where I can socialise but still work hard, so I don’t enjoy it as much. Having the Nike app has changed my perspective though and now I have a new found appreciation of running! I love that you can easily select a run that is suited to how you’re feeling on the day and have someone guide you through to keep going”
- Take small steps – don’t scare yourself away by taking on too much at the beginning. Try to pace yourself and build up gradually. Refer back to your short-term and long-term goals to ensure you are making progress but don’t start by running a marathon!
- You are your own competition – try not to compare yourself. Everyone edits their Strava times anyway! It’s important to focus on what exercise makes you feel best whether that be a 3K walk with your dog or a half marathon – there is no right way!
- Listen to your body – only do exercise that you feel comfortable doing. If you are feeling tired and sore, take a day of rest! There is nothing wrong with relaxing or even finding a good yoga or stretching session on YouTube to stretch off your muscles.
- Keep track of your progress – there is nothing better than seeing your time decrease as you get fitter. Make sure you record how you are doing and when you have exercised. Being able to look back at your week on a Sunday and see what you have achieved is incredibly motivating.
- Get outside – there are plenty of ways to begin exercising from the comfort of your living room but try to get outside, even if it is just for a walk at first. The fresh air is bound to make you feel instantly better, and hopefully make you put your running trainers or cycling shoes on next time!
- Just go for it! – the thought really is worse than the reality – I promise. Once you get over the initial cold weather and get into the right frame of mind, you can really reap the benefits. The only thing stopping you is you!!