New Year’s fitness resolutions are a bit like bad boyfriends – they don’t stay around for long! Even so, the new year is a great time to reassess your activity level. Instead of setting lofty, hard-to-maintain exercise goals, let’s look at some small, sustainable changes that can collectively add up and pay dividends for your health. Here are three easy ways to ‘hack’ more activity into your life.
- What brings you joy?
When you think of exercise, your immediate response might be: no! But take a moment to think about the things that you have done that you actually found fun. It’s easier to commit to an activity that brings you joy.
This might mean re-joining a sport you once played – many sports clubs have modified programs for older adults. It might mean joining a dance club. Whatever has made you laugh in the past can bring you joy again. And with a little internet research, you might just find a variation that suits your age and stage of life.
- Can you do it with a mate?
Committing to something new, particularly exercise, is much easier when you have a friend. This might mean commuting together or just sharing a commitment to attend. Research shows that we’re much more likely to stick to a fitness regime when we do it with a friend. Ask your friends what activity they enjoy doing, and whether you can try it too. Or perhaps you can take them along to that dance class you found in step one?
- Double up on the walk
No, you don’t have to walk twice as far! Just add another enjoyable activity onto your walk. This could mean listening to a book or podcast via headphones. Or perhaps just taking notice of all the things you see around you: the changing trees, the sounds of birds calling, and the feel of the breeze on your skin. All of these minute details can give us joy. Walking mindfully and taking your time to breathe in the fresh air will change this activity from a chore to a delight. See step one!
Exercise hacks ultimately need to be about the long haul: small and sustainable activity bites that add up to a positive impact on your body and your mind!