As a child, my free time was spent on activities and forms of development such as language learning, leaving exercise or physical activities as a low priority. So, unfortunately, I grew up but never picked up the habit of exercising regularly or playing team sports.
As an adult, I learned about the numerous benefits of regular exercise for physical and mental health, and I quickly understood how it was key to make it a part of my weekly routine. However, for years on end, I struggled to find a meaningful activity, platform, and routine that would work for me. I tried running, online dance lessons, swimming, and gym workouts, but I always found excuses to avoid them. My knees hurt, it was inconvenient, I was cold, I felt embarrassed or awkward, or I didn't have enough time to go to the gym and come back...
The truth is, finding a meaningful activity and routine that works for you can be challenging. Especially if you haven't built the habit of exercising over the years. If you're in a similar situation, I have some advice that may help you based on what proved to be helpful for me.
Have you considered getting a personal trainer?
A personal trainer will hold you accountable, keep you motivated, track your progress, and offer advice. They can also create a personalized plan tailored to your needs and goals, so you can see the most results from your sessions. It's definitely worth the money if you can afford it - and it's not as expensive as you think, especially if you team up with a friend or two!
Try out different activities
Explore beyond training, HIIT, swimming, or running. Why not try out yoga, pilates, weightlifting, Zumba, Les Mills workouts, gymnastics, boxing, or barre? You can also use platforms like ClassPass to discover new classes and activities near you. Experiment until you find the one that you enjoy and can stick to.
This year I discovered reformer pilates, and although I was intimidated by the machine at first, I ended up loving it and finding it extremely easy to practice throughout the week.
Don't do it alone!
Exercising with friends (and hanging out before and after) can be fun, create positive associations with the activity, and help you overcome feelings of awkwardness or inconvenience. By making the overall experience more enjoyable, it will increase the likelihood of you sticking with it.
Acknowledge your progress
Notice and celebrate your successes as you go through your journey. At first, success might look like showing up to your class on a rainy day. As Nadine mentions in her Goal-setting toolkit for the new year, acknowledge that even small steps are successes. When you are moving in the right direction, even if you are moving slowly, you will ultimately reach your destination.
Starting an exercise routine in your 30s may be far from easy-peasy, but with a bit of patience, persistence, support, and the right approach, you'll be on your way to a healthier and happier you. It's never too late to reap the numerous benefits that exercise can have on your health!