Kickstart An Active Lifestyle: Expert Answers On How To Get Moving

Isn't it strange the way we know something is really good for us, but we avoid it, even to the point of hurting ourselves? For intelligent humans who can get a man to the moon and build empires, we can sure be obstinate and blind about taking care of our bodies, often at the risk of our health and longevity. It seems counter-intuitive, but many people live very sedentary lifestyles.

How about you? Are you having trouble kick-starting an active lifestyle?

My friend Anastasiya Goers is a certified fitness and Pilates instructor. On Monday, November 8, she is beginning a virtual retreat called, From A Sedentary To Active Lifestyle In 1 Month. The title really got my attention, because as a blogger, I am in my chair at the computer many hours a day.  I don't want to slip from active to sedentary, and it can happen so easily.

Anastasiya was kind enough to answer some questions about why we avoid an active lifestyle and to share some ideas for becoming more active without feeling overwhelmed.

1. Why do you think people resist exercise even though they know it is good for them in so many ways?

When we are young we usually think “I am healthy, I have more important things to do than exercise.” Then we get caught up in the cycle of work-family-TV-sleep and again exercise has no room in our schedules. I can probably think of a hundred reasons why people do not exercise: they do not have time, they are lazy, they do not have energy, they have more important things to do etc.

Today we are especially used to having everything instantly, but developing new habits and seeing results from an exercise program takes time. A lot of people try to exercise but they do not see the immediate result and they give up.

Another reason why people resist exercise is because they cannot balance exercise and their lifestyle. They already have so much on their plate that they simply cannot fit anything else in their schedule.

2. What is the best way to get started with an active lifestyle that doesn't feel overwhelming?

The best way is to start slow. The mistake that a lot of people make when they start an active lifestyle is that they start going to the gym 6 times a week or sign up for some extremely strenuous class. Unfortunately most people cannot stick to this new schedule because their bodies are not used to this amount of activity.

One of the easiest things to start with is walking. You can park further from the entrance, walk around the block during your lunch hour, go for a walk after a romantic dinner with your loved one etc. Then you can start adding 10 minute workouts throughout the day (during the retreat I will post daily workout videos that anyone can do anywhere.) Instead of watching TV in the evening you can go for a walk or play actively with your kids.

An active lifestyle is about making small changes to your current routines that are pleasurable and fun for you.

3. I find in the winter, I have a much harder time exercising because I don't like going out in the cold weather, and I really don't like gyms. Any suggestions?

You can always exercise at home. I know that it is difficult to force yourself to exercise at home (I have my “bad” days too.) The “trick” that I use is exercising only for about 10 minutes at a time. That way I can squeeze in a workout first thing in the morning, before lunch, during a commercial break if I watch TV, or while I cook supper.

It is also important to stay active the rest of the time. You can go to the mall and walk around it as fast as you can. You can go bowling or ice-skating. You can play with your kids at home. There is always a way to be active no matter what the weather is and how much time you have.

4. How do you stay in the active lifestyle habit? It seems like many people get off to a great start, but then peter out after a few months.

I personally always have a goal. A goal can be anything like doing 50 non-stop push-ups, getting in a full split, or training for a 5K. Right now my goal is to get in good shape for the Mud Run next spring (it is a 3K obstacle run.) These goals keep me from getting bored with my routine.

Another great way to stick to an active lifestyle is to have a journal. You write down how great you feel after a workout (and you really do!),  and then when you do not feel like exercising you read your entries and get motivated.

I can say that right now I do not have any trouble keeping up my activity level because I truly love everything that I do: running, Pilates, Yoga and family activities. It is really important to find activities that fit your personality and that you truly enjoy.

5. What is the best way to get over that initial period of inertia, the time between thinking about moving and putting on your sneakers?

The best way is to skip the thinking part.  If you have a though about moving – do it right away. If you start pondering on how to do it, when to do it, how to dress for it – you will never start doing anything, you will be just wasting your time. How about joining the retreat and starting to move right away?

6. What will people learn in your upcoming retreat?

During the retreat members will learn:

  • to find time in their busy schedule for physical activity  (I will personally help you work with your schedule);
  • how to improve general fitness level and become healthier;
  • how to stay active virtually anywhere (workout videos and my tips will help you with that)
  • how to set personal fitness goals that they can reach and feel great
  • how to improve posture and prevent back pain;
  • how to find energy boosts during a long day;
  • how to use exercise for relaxation at the end of the day.

If you want to have an active lifestyle, but you are having trouble getting started, I hope you will check out the retreat. Just click the link below for more info.

Want to read more about kickstarting all areas of your life? Please download my FREE guide, The Bold Living Guide: 7 Key Ingredients for A Meaningful Life, and receive regular email updates to Live Bold and Bloom.

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Comments

  1. I love reading about this arena in life. It just makes me want to go for a run. I’ve only been living an active lifestyle for the past five years but I have to say, sitting at a computer for hours can really make me feel like I’m not. Thanks for the great advice Anastasiya.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..How to Consciously Alter Your Truth and Change Your Internal Dialogue =-.

  2. Barrie Davenport says:

    Katie,
    You are an inspiration when it comes to an active lifestyle. I am amazed at how you have changed your habits for the better for both diet and fitness.

  3. Thanks for the reference and insight on how to live a more active lifestyle. It really does come down to getting started. It feels like there isn’t enough time, but I love the point that being active can be pleasurable and fun, and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Doing something as simple as going for a walk or incorporating small doses of exercise throughout the day can be a wonderful starting point. This provides an easy addition to anyone’s schedule and won’t make them feel like a failure when they can’t keep up. Thank you much!
    .-= Joe Wilner´s last blog ..Key Principles to Solving Any Personal Problem =-.

    • Joe, that’s true, living an active lifestyle really should not be stressful. After all what’s the point of working out and loving “healthy” if all you get is stress and the feeling of overwhelm like you can never catch up with life.
      I hope that more people who read this interview will take at least one small step to being more active because it is really fun.
      .-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..5 Myths about Exercise and Active Lifestyle =-.

  4. Hi Barrie,

    This is a great post on having an active lifestyle!

    I too lead a sedentary lifestyle behind my laptop throughout the week. But I try to make an effort to hit the gym at least twice a week so that I get my body moving. Although I feel sore the next day, I have greater amounts of energy and alertness as well. So exercise is definitely a vital part of my lifestyle.

    I agree with Anastasiya that we should start slow when beginning an active lifestyle. There is no point beginning with great enthusiasm only to have that zest wear out after a week or so. An active lifestyle should be a marathon, not a sprint.

    I think that one way people can keep going at an active lifestyle is to know why they are exercising. I personally hate going to the gym and exerting all that energy. In all honesty I am pretty lazy. But the reason I keep at my workouts is because I know that if I don’t, my body will suffer in the future. And if my body suffers, I become a burden to my loved ones. So if I exercise, not only do I keep myself fit and healthy, I also spare my loved ones unncessary trouble. And when I am old, I know I will still have sufficient strength to get around. With all these reasons in mind, I drag myself to the gym and have a good workout each time. It helps that I can see noticable results of my efforts as well.

    As for overcoming my inertia, I arrange my exercise in such a way that any delay would cause disruptions for the rest of my day. So I have added incentive to stick to my schedule.

    Thanks for sharing this informative post!
    .-= The Vizier´s last blog ..Finding Common Ground to Connect with People =-.

    • I loved your approach and tips, Vizier. You are so right that knowing why you exercise is the biggest motivation that one can get. I also look at the big picture when I do not feel like running or doing my Pilates routine. I know that if I miss a workout my body will feel pretty bad in a few days (I am “addicted” to being in good shape :-)) but I also know that I want to be as fit and as healthy as I can 10, 20 and 50 years from now (I am planning to play with my great grandchildren :-))
      Thank you so much for your comment and your tips. I loved it!
      .-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..5 Myths about Exercise and Active Lifestyle =-.

  5. Thanks, Barrie! And great tips, Anastasiya. These are great tips–this coming from someone who was 75 pounds heavier 6 years ago, and I’m now in the best shape of my life.

    Number 3 had my stop reading and do 20 push-ups before I finished reading.

    So if you’re reading this comment, what’s keeping you from doing a few push-ups right now?
    .-= Paul Strobl´s last blog ..On Eating &amp Budgeting =-.

  6. Thanks Anastasiya for these tips.

    I’ve found the best way to stay motivated with my exercise routine is to vary my activity.. I don’t run five times a week anymore, I run four times and take one day to play basketball, for example.

    Mixing things up keeps the monotony from creeping in.

    Alex

    • I follow the same approach, Alex. I think there is nothing more boring than doing the same thing over and over again. It is important for me to vary my workouts every time. I add a new exercise, try interval training instead of steady pace, include Yoga and Pilates between my strength training sessions. Sometimes I just run around for an hour with my kids and after it I feel like I’ve had the most strenuous workout at the gym :-))
      .-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..5 Myths about Exercise and Active Lifestyle =-.

  7. Anastasiya’s methods jive with my own theory that to get through resistance, we need to take baby steps. I’ve been asking myself lately how I allowed myself to get as sedentary as I am when I used to be committed to exercising 1 to 2 hours a day. Burnout? Possibly. But I think it’s more about knocking down the fence.

    When we develop a habit like daily exercise or movement, we’re putting ourselves inside a “fenced area.” We’re giving ourselves boundaries. Whereas before the boundary, being a lazy couch potato was an option, after the boundaries, it’s not an option. We define ourselves differently.

    I used to see exercise as a “must,” an integral part of the day. Then a series of events made it impossible for me to exercise and in that time, the fences fell down. Once the fences are down, we have to build them again. That’s what Anastasiya’s method is about, I think.

    Thank you for reminding me that I need a friendly enclosure for movement. 🙂
    .-= Ande´s last blog ..Discover The Ease Of The Pooh Way =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Ande,
      I LOVE that analogy. When the fences come down, it is so easy for our discipline to run away. We have to re-build the fences and lock the gate! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  8. I have made a promise to myself to do some exersicing everyday, even if it is only to go for a walk. When you have made a promise to yourself, you need to keep it 🙂 Exercising does not always have to be about planned exercise, doing some physical work can also be seen as exercise or if you are cutting the lawn.
    .-= Tom Sörhannus´s last blog ..Tools &amp Tips – Dreams =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That is so true Tom. And it’s also good to make a promise to someone else. It’s hard to let down yourself and your best friend or spouse!