Exercising in a way that works for you

Exercising in a way that works for you

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’m not a fitgirl. I love healthy food, but exercise generally isn’t my thing. However, I have found ways to motivate myself and to find regimes that work for me. Therefore, I’d like to help you find a strategy for exercising in a way that works for you.

Group or individual?

Let’s start with the basics: do you like exercising alone or do you prefer to exercise together? Both have benefits, but both also have some downsides. For me, I like the fact that a group can motivate you to actually go. Motivating myself is often way harder, whereas when I have a partner, I don’t want to let them down as well. In addition, it’s a great way to combine social time and exercise time, so it’s perfect when you have a busy schedule. The downside is however that you’re dependant of them. If Thursdays are your ideal exercise day, but they have other things to do, you can’t go (at least when you really need each other, for instance in tennis or soccer). The biggest thing why I don’t like exercising in groups is that I feel judged quite easily, so if someone is way better than me, I feel like a loser and I won’t like going anymore.

Therefore I prefer to exercise alone. Although motivating myself is harder and I need to be more firm with myself, I love that I can go my own way. The biggest problem is normally just going, but when I am at the gym alone, I can easily exercise for two hours and no one is holding me back.

So, the first thing to decide is whether you prefer to go together or alone? Some sports can’t be done alone (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.) and some are by nature more individually (running, slacklining, surfing). The benefit of individually focused sports is that you can still go together when you do prefer someone there.

Long-term or instant gratification?

Then, you need to figure out what motivates you. Do you like to work towards a goal, like you do with fitness and running, or do you prefer an instant kick?

I personally prefer an instant kick, since it helps me to go do it now instead of tomorrow. Adrenalin is key for me, which is why the speed of windsurfing is perfect for me. However, some people prefer to work towards a goal, like run for an hour straight or lift 100 kilo’s. Of course, the little steps of progression they see every time they go and the feeling of endorphins racing through their bodies also provides instant gratification in a way, but not as intensely as for instance when you’re doing an extreme sport or when you can win a specific game. When you know what motivates you more, you can narrow down the search for the perfect sport for you.

What suits your schedule?

Although I love windsurfing, it always takes at least half a day to go. I have to go, get my gear, surf, clean and organise my gear and go back. Also, the weather conditions need to be perfect: not too cold and a little windy (but not too much). This often doesn’t really go with my full-time job, so it can’t be my standard way to exercise. However, dancing or fitness can be done for just an hour if I want to and it’s also possible early in the morning or late in the evening, which makes it much more flexible. But, when I’m being honest, I love windsurfing just a little bit more. So, what I often do is balancing exercises which also help me for those few times when I do go windsurfing. When you’re searching for ways to create a good exercise routine, you need to balance passion with the practical aspects of it. Will you be able to do this every week? Otherwise, you might want to combine different things to fit your needs.

Inside or out?

This might seem like a small thing, and it is once you’ve found the sport you love, but if you’re not there yet, the weather can be a big thing. I hate rain and I hate cold weather (yes I know, why do I live in the Netherlands), so I know I won’t go outside to exercise when it’s cold or rainy. So, having a work-out routine for inside is vital for my exercise routine and running wouldn’t really be realistic (at least not in the winter). If you don’t mind the cold or if you live in a country where the weather is more stable, this won’t matter as much. Although I can imagine the gym isn’t as attractive when it’s 30 degrees outside.

The extra’s

Next to the benefits for health and fun, you can also learn many different things from different sports. Windsurfing lets you understand wind changes and techniques, soccer helps you strategise, dancing enables you to be creative and fencing helps you react faster and estimate reactions of others. You can also try sports based on this. What do you want to learn and what do you normally love to do?

Date some sports

Finding a sport you love is just like dating. It might take a few dates to find the right guy. Sometimes, it may not be love at first sight, especially if you’re not especially a ‘sports person’. However, it will be worth it! I’ve tried almost anything: tennis, soccer, dancing, karate and more. I learned what I liked and what I didn’t like. Through all of that, I found some things I like enough to stick with it. It’s all trial and error. You just need to hold on and try things until you find the love you’re seeking!

In the end, it’s all about finding the right balance between finding a sport you love and finding one that fits with your lifestyle. So tell me, have you found the love of your life? Exercising is super important for your overall health. You’ll just have to find a way to exercise in a way that works for you. And, if you liked this, please subscribe to my blog or follow me on InstagramPinterest and Twitter, so you’ll never have to miss a new post!

Lots of love,

Lisa

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

25 Comments on “Exercising in a way that works for you

  1. This was really motivating! I’m the same as you, I love eating healthily but I just really don’t like exercising! I don’t mind dance classes, so am waiting for them to open back up again after lockdown and am going to sign up to some! Becca x

    • I hope they’ll open up soon there! Maybe in the mean time, you could find some Zumba videos on Youtube or something? I actually use Just Dance on the Wii for some dancing exercises haha.

  2. I love working out on my own, but still having some one there. When I go to the gym, I have friends that come with me. We don’t do the workout together, but it’s nice to know I’ve got someone there if there’s an issue. Thanks for sharing!

    Em x

  3. Sometimes I find exercising is not that hard but I kinda need motivation and someone to accompany me 🙂 Great tips here, thank you!

    • I feel you, once you’re doing it, it’s actually fine! Good that you know that about yourself, it can help you find something you’ll love!

  4. It took me a while to appreciate that with exercise there is no one size fits all. I used to detest the gym – well, I still don’t love it, but I was working with a trainer, and she was really good at kicking my ass, but in a good way. I’ve also loved adding walks to my routine. I love putting on a podcast and getting some steps in. 🙂

    • No that’s definitely true! There’s so much difference between what you like and don’t like, it’s just trial and error before you find the right thing for you. But it sounds like you’re well on your way with that, good job! 😁

    • Walking is actually super healthy, so no shame there, sounds like you’re doing great!

  5. Love how you linked choosing your exercise as to finding a guy. I am always advocating exercising but right now my fav is just going out for a brisk walk as I have MS and my abilities have decreased

    • Thank you! And I get that in your case it can be difficult to fitness hard, but walking is actually one of the healthiest sports ever!

    • I can understand, I don’t like it either if I see it as exercising, I like it better when I find something I can see as a hobby or creative outlet or something!

  6. Great post! Absolutely agree that finding the right exercise routine is like dating. Personally for me, I also find that some exercises I prefer to do by myself and some i have to do with others. For example, I prefer to do yoga by myself however I’m currently rubbing to train for a marathon but I have to go with my husband because I hate running alone.

  7. It’s definitely important to find the right sport for you! I love spinning and I’m so glad I can finally get back to my spin classes. I really love group exercise and often need someone else going with me to get to the gym, but when it comes to a spin class everyone is suffering through it together and it feels great!

  8. These are great points. For me, the biggest factor has always been time. This is why I work out at home. In the time it would take to get organized, drive somewhere and then drive home afterwards, I can be done.

    • Yeah I can understand! I have the same issue since I moved, cycling there is half the work-out already!

  9. Great tips. Finding a form of exercise you actually enjoy definitely helps you stick to it.

    • I agree! I’m not ‘sporty’ but when you enjoy it, it doesn’t feel as much as exercising but as a fun hobby!

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