As people start running their own business and get very busy with work, one of the first things to fall off their agenda tends to be exercising.
It doesn’t take a genius to see why. In the morning, we’re eager to get on with work. The day flies by. By the evening, we’re far too exhausted and don’t have a single drop of energy left in our body, so crashing on the sofa seems like our only option.
As a work-life balance coach, I’ve come across countless examples of entrepreneurs who had no problem engaging in physical activities in the past and dropped their exercise habits as soon as their workload ramped up and the pressures of running a business sky-rocketed.
Below is a sample of what I’ve heard from clients who want to get back to living more healthily and exercising regularly. Do any of these resonate with you?
“Before I used to run regularly, but I don’t seem to be able to make myself go, even though we have free access to a running track where we live. We also have a free swimming pool in the building and I haven’t tried it yet.”
“I used to go to the gym regularly but don’t seem to be able to make myself go even though I’ve been paying for a gym membership for months.”
“I keep on skipping my pilates class because work always comes up at the last minute or I’m too tired to go.”
“I used to love swimming in the sea, but I don’t seem to bring myself to go now.”
“My gym is open 24/7, so technically I can go at any time, but I’m just too exhausted and I never have the energy for it.”
Why you should be concerned about your sedentary life as a home-based entrepreneur
Many of my clients, like me, tend to work from home. Working from home has amazing benefits – it saves you a lot of time, money, stress and energy by avoiding commuting to work on a daily basis.
On the downside, working from home makes it easier to lead an even more sedentary life, since we don’t even leave the house to go to the office. It’s easy to only make a quarter of the 10’000 steps recommended per day.
I’m not surprised by those findings, because if I don’t go out for a walk or a run, my trusty FitBit keeps count and shows it to me in black and white at the end of the day.
The NHS (the UK’s National Health Service) is already concerned that modern life has made most people less active compared to previous generations. We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to.
The Department of Health calls inactivity a “silent killer” because studies associate our modern sedentary life with a higher risk of developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as gaining weight. The latter is often the main reason why my clients want to exercise more.
The NHS recommends:
“Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down.”
How to break the sedentary lifestyle
There are two strands to this. The first one is to include moderate to vigorous exercise every week. The second is to move more throughout the day, especially if you’re tied to your desk throughout most of your day, which you probably are if you have a service-based online business.
I’ve set up my FitBit so that it reminds me to get up every hour if I haven’t done 250 steps each hour between 8am and 10pm. While I don’t strictly follow my watch’s reminders all the time, I’m trying to move for a little bit most hours. In fact, working in 50-60 minute stints improves our productivity and promotes our ability to focus, too.
As for the moderate to vigorous exercises, start with figuring out what type(s) of exercises are right for you. What type of physical activities do you enjoy so that you can stick to them?
If you’re anything like me and like variety, compile a list of your favourites so you can change it up and avoid the boredom of doing the same old workout. Plus, it’s good for the muscles to spice up your exercise regime.
Allow the type of exercises to change over time – what you used to do in your teens may not be the same as what you do in your twenties, and it may be different to what you do in your forties or fifties and so on. It’s not so much about age and your ability but more about how you’ve evolved as a person and what activities you enjoy more now.
Even if we do the same type of workout, how we prefer to do it will change over time. For example, four years ago, if you had asked me to run in a group with other people, I’d have run in the opposite direction. Now, I’m a huge advocate for parkrun – a free, organised 5km run held every Saturday in parks all around the world – and spreading fast.
I’ve not been to a gym for at least nine years, while in my late teens and early twenties, I loved going around the different types of machines in the gym and running on the treadmill.
In my mid-twenties to early thirties, I fell in love with going to classes – yoga, body combat, Ceroc, street dance, legs, bums and tums, HIIT, spin – I did all sorts of types.
Nowadays, it’s a combination of running along the River Thames or in our local park and picking a routine from one of my favourite exercise channels like BeFit, Pop Sugar Fitness and Yoga with Adriene.
Keep active when on holiday – Up until I met my husband, I could never imagine myself lying on a beach topping up the suntan for a whole day. Even now, when we’re on holiday, we’re more likely to be trekking up mountains or through jungles, skiing down snowy slopes, kayaking in beautiful lakes or rivers, or swimming with pretty fish and stunning corals.
7 ways to get your workout done even when you don’t feel like it
Now you’ve been reminded of the benefits of exercise and risks of leading a sedentary lifestyle, you’ve figured out what activities are suitable for you and you’ve seen how to add more movement to your days.
But… you still come up with reasons and excuses about why you don’t get to exercise. Here are seven ways of turning this around:
Check-in with yourself – what’s the real reason behind putting off exercising?
If the sofa appears way too appealing, remember how much better you’ll feel after you’ve exercised.
How can you make it easier to do the exercise you want to do? Would prepping your gym bag ahead of time help you pick it up and get going? Could you buddy up with someone else to workout together?
Far too many people commit to an exercise regime that they can’t sustain and easily fall off the tracks. What can you commit to so that you can continue doing it in the long-run?
When you look at your diary are there some days that are more suitable for working out? On which the days of the week are you least likely to need to shift your workout?
Prioritise your exercise, pick days that you’re least likely to be sidetracked by something else and protect that time. Block it out in your diary – treat it as an important meeting. Add flexibility whenever necessary.
If you’re short for time, consider doing a shorter physical activity or squeezing in a bit more walking throughout the day.
You’ll never regret you’ve exercised, you’ll only regret not exercising. *
(* assuming you don’t injure yourself, so be safe)
Put these strategies into place and watch what happens over the course of the month.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you…
What are your reasons for not exercising?
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, or you can never find the time and/or the energy to workout, let’s chat and see how together we can turn things around for you.
To book your complimentary, no-obligation consultation click on the Let’s Chat button below.
Photo Credit: Mathew Kane - Unsplash