How to start exercising when you're out of shape

October 7, 2022

"I hate exercising!"
"I'm too tired!"
"I'm too busy!"
"I'm too fat!"
"I'm too old!"
"My health isn't good enough!"
"I have an injury!"
"I'm already thin!"
"I am too stressed!"

It is easy to devise excuses not to exercise, and you may quickly find yourself demotivated, but there are solutions, whether it's lack of time or energy or fear of the gym. Make exercise something you look forward to rather than something you dread or feel like a chore with these easy tips.

1. It's all in your mind!

Exercising has many benefits for your physical and mental health (it reduces stress, increases energy, helps you sleep better, and changes your overall mood). However, if knowing how and what exercising does to your body only helped, we would all be fit! That's why making exercise a habit starts with a shift in your mindset.

It doesn't happen overnight, so ditch the all-or-nothing attitude.

Spending hours at the gym on your first day back is not the way to go: It will hurt your body and cause soreness and injury. Instead, start slow and give your body time to adjust to the new workload, then increase it gradually. Integrating physical activity into your week can affect your mental and physical health. 

Practice self-compassion and be consistent

So it's been days you have been dieting, and your weight is stagnating? Don't beat yourself up, body-shame yourself, or push yourself too hard. You are doing your part, and with your current fitness level, it takes a bit of time and willpower to get things kicking in and start seeing results. Don't let that demotivate you; instead, start looking at your unhealthy choices as opportunities. The mistake we all fall into is that we expect too much, too soon, which leads to frustration: you didn't get out of shape overnight, and your body won't be fit again overnight. Focus on consistency; your body will follow along while your mental health and mood improve.

Did you know that you could gain up to 5 kgs in one year because of stress? 

2. No excuses

Most of your excuses are in your mind; let's take a few, for example:

"I hate exercising!": look into an activity that doesn't feel like exercise, go dancing, take a walk by the beach or a stroll in the park, go window-shopping at the mall, or go biking with a friend!

"I'm too tired!": don't we all have this one? It may sound untenable, but physical activity can reduce fatigue and boost energy levels long-term. Getting to the gym or up to exercise is the hardest part, but once there, you'll feel an energy kick. The more you are consistent, the more energized, refreshed, and alert you will always be. 

"I'm too busy!": It's all about priorities. You don't need a full hour of intensive workout; instead, you can squeeze in 5 to 15 minutes daily, making a difference. For extra benefits, try to get moving during the weekend.


So how do you make exercise a habit that sticks? 

First, make sure you are getting started safely:

  1. Get medical clearance if you have any health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or other,
  2. Warm-up: every workout must begin with stretching. When done correctly, it will increase your flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow, improving your overall performance. 
  3. Cool down: It's essential to end your workout with a cool down allowing your heart rate to regain its resting rate. It can also help prevent soreness and injuries. 
  4. Drink plenty of water: keep your body hydrated to maintain it at its optimal performance. But, how much should you drink? INGO Health and INGO Smart Water Bottle set personalized dynamic targets for you.
  5. Listen to your body: don't overdo it; if you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop! Ignoring the pain might lead to injury. 

Now that we have established the baseline, how do you concretely make working out a habit?

  1. Set realistic reachable goals that you can commit to every day.
  2. Set reminders and triggers that will make exercising a reflex: go from work straight to the gym, leave your sneakers next to bed not to lazy out when you want to go for a morning run.
  3. Give yourself immediate self-care rewards when you reach your (daily) workout or fitness goals, such as a new sports t-shirt, a cup of coffee, a manicure, or watching a movie. INGO Health earns you points for every goal met that you can exchange for vouchers and discounts!
  4. Have fun! Choose activities that make you feel energized and that you would look forward to. They should fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste. 
  5. Make it social: if you're into competing, you may want to challenge your friends or play a squash game, or so, or else you might want to consider joining a running club or a dance class. Whatever makes working out fun and exciting for you!
  6. Pair it with something you enjoy: how about walking on the treadmill while watching your favorite show on Netflix?
  7. Be mindful while you exercise, focus on how your body feels, watch your breathing, how your feet hit the ground, and even how you feel inside, which will ease your stress and negative thoughts and improve your overall mental state. 

INGO gamifies health to help you instill healthy habits daily. Reach your personalized daily goals, earn points and get rewarded for your efforts with vouchers and discounts. Discover The Game and the Smart Water Bottle

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