The benefits of an active lifestyle aren’t just anecdotal.
Researchers investigating Firstbeat’s database of over 90,000 detailed measurements have shown clear connections between physical activity levels and how people experience stress and recovery. Their physiological stress levels are lower during the day, and they recover better at night. They report feeling more alert and experience less physical strain during work – even when being more active compared to those with lower fitness levels. Additionally, those with higher fitness levels typically have lower resting heart rates and lower daily average heart rates.
But how can you get yourself moving, when you lack motivation or if you simply don’t feel up to it? It’s a common challenge for many of us. Even those who have been active and exercised their entire life can lose the feeling that makes exercise worthwhile in the first place. One can, for example, get tired at work and opt for sitting on the sofa and watching TV rather than going for a sweaty workout. Sound familiar?
Rest and sleep aren’t necessarily the right answer. Battling stress and tiredness isn’t easy, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself. Good music, comfortable clothes, good company, and even new gear are all tools that can help jumpstart your process. The first few times are always the hardest. You may need to force yourself to go at first, but it gets easier. Soon, you will start to look forward to the feelings of energy and growth. Giving yourself an opportunity to get out, get up, and move can open the door to feelings of self-mastery, accomplishment, and true joy.
Here a few tips to remember:
- Try a few different activities. Find out what works for you. You are more likely to keep doing the things you enjoy the most.
- Little is better than none at all. In the beginning, just try to go for about 10 mins. Make each session a little longer than the one before.
- Listen to what your body is telling you and adapt your plans accordingly:
- When you are mentally overwhelmed, do something lighter like walking, yoga, stretching, Pilates, swimming, dance etc.
- When you feel more energized, dare to challenge yourself. Try running instead of walking, cycling in hilly terrain, or by doing a more difficult gym workout.
- Don’t underestimate the role of healthy eating and recovery habits. Together, they are the ingredients that make an active lifestyle a sustainable lifestyle.