“I Want to Exercise More” The Guide
You want to exercise more.
Maybe you find yourself at a desk or in the car several hours a day. Maybe you’re on your feet sometimes or taking care of kids and others and you get in sporadic movement but not much of a “workout.”
Whatever your situation, you feel like you’re not moving enough.
There are plenty of reasons why exercise is a great thing—and we’re not talking about fitting into a pair of skinny jeans.
The benefits of exercise include:
- Boost in happiness levels
- Learn to set and achieve goals
- Increase strength and flexibility
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Sleep better
- Get an energy boost
- Perform better at work
How You Got Here
Identifying barriers and needs
“I don’t have time to workout” is a common phrase. Perhaps you have a full schedule of work, errands and other necessities or maybe you’re packing in too many things and need to re-prioritize. Remember exercise is not all or nothing and every bit helps. Maybe you can’t workout for an hour at a time but you can take a couple 15- or 20-minute walks throughout the day.
- Look at what’s taking up your time
- See what you can cut out to make more time for yourself and your health. (If the time it takes to shower and wash your hair after a workout is getting in your way, try our Sweaty Hair Care tips.)
- Consider squeezing in exercise in the morning, a little bit at a time throughout the day, or coupling it with other things in your schedule (more on that below in “Where Do You Start?”).
- See our “There’s Never Any Time” Guide.
“I don’t have enough energy to workout” could be another thing you’re feeling. After a long day, the last thing you may want to do is go for a jog or to the gym. But exercise and basic movement can actually help boost energy. Starting your day with a walk or some other movement means you aren’t putting it off until later when you may be more drained, plus you’ll get an energy boost to help you power through the day.
- Consider what may be draining your energy.
- Try natural boosts like energizing foods and non-coffee drinks.
- See our “Why Do I Lack Energy” Guide for more tips.
NOT KNOWING WHERE TO START
There’s a lot of “fitspo” (fitness inspiration) out there. From yoga to CrossFit to High Intensity Interval Training and more, it can get overwhelming looking at all the ways to exercise, fit people weight lifting or doing fancy yoga moves and wondering what you could or “should” do.
- Getting started is the biggest part. It’s not all or nothing so start with what you can.
- Think of why you want to move more and try not to compare yourself to others.
- Each person’s physical abilities and goals differ and we are all in different places in our journey.
- You don’t have to workout alone. Exercising with a friend or date can help!
- See “Where Do I Start?” below.
Once you figure out some of the barriers that may be getting in the way of you moving more, ask yourself WHY you want to move more. Exercise is vital for our health, but having a specific reason in mind will help you stay more motivated and feel more connected to how you choose to exercise. Is it for one of the benefits above? Is it for a more personal reason or health issue? Whatever the reason, keep it in mind or write it down somewhere you’ll see it so you’ll know why YOU are exercising, not just because you’re “supposed to.” That said, sometimes just getting started can give you the momentum you need to keep going.
What You Can Do About It
We're here for trial and error.
As with anything health-related, it is important to:
- Start small.
- Listen to your body.
- Consult a health professional if you’re experiencing pain or issues.
There are so many ways to exercise, so find what works for you. That may mean trial and error and that’s totally normal and okay. Unless an exercise is injuring you or not making you feel good, give each new thing you’re trying at least a few weeks to see how you feel and how realistic it is for you.
Where Do You Start?
Like we mentioned, there are many ways to get moving. So get started with what you can.
FYI, there are two main types of exercise. You can choose one type for now or alternate one type with the other. Just be aware that each serves an important purpose. The two types are:
Aerobic exercise: Steady pace cardio activities like bike riding, running or dancing that can be sustained for an extended period of time. You’re usually breathing hard and working up a good sweat and increasing your blood flow.
Anaerobic exercise: Higher intensity activities like sprinting and weight lifting that have you working to the max and can only be sustained a short period of time.
Here are some tools that can help you get motivated or set exercise goals:
Ways to move
Here are several ideas we’ve shared for workouts, from desk-ercizing at work to partner workouts, home workouts and more. See what sounds good and try it out!
Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.