Exercise doesn’t have to be so torturous: 5 tips to make fitness easier – Calgary

Exercise is hard. And doing something that’s hard over, and over and over again can be torturous. 

But science also tells us that, at least in this case, it can be good for you.

As we head into the fall and get back into our established routines, here are some tips for the non-masochists out there who are looking to make regular physical activity an easier and lasting part of their lifestyle.

1. Think local

One barrier that’s easy to reduce is travel time, suggests fitness coach Geoff Starling, who sat down with The Calgary Eyeopener to share his insight.

“The best place to look is in your local neighbourhood,” Starling said.

Inquire at your community centre or in your workplace. Chances are you’ll be able to find a gym or a social fitness group nearby that fits your criteria.

2. Tie it to something you already do

Tack your exercise onto an existing activity — like dropping the kids off at school or your morning commute to work — for a “guaranteed path for success,” Starling said.

“It’s like if you need to take medication during the day, you attach it to having breakfast or brushing your teeth.”

This reduces the likelihood that you’ll forget to do it. 

Cycling to and from work is one way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Geoscientist Duncan Findlay has been commuting by bike in Calgary for 5 years. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

3. Buddy up

If “forgetting” to exercise is really more of a deliberate choice than an oversight, stop working out alone.

“Knowing that Geoff is standing at the gym at 6 a.m. waiting for you is a huge motivator to turn up,” Starling said.

Depending on your comfort level, that may mean roping in a colleague, family member, neighbour or personal trainer to join you in whatever fitness activity you’ve chosen.

4. Consider a one-on-one approach

Ultimately, forging a lasting fitness regimen is about finding something that works with your budget, your schedule and your personality. This is where one-on-one training can be helpful, said Starling.

Trainer Tim Martin spots Paula Moors as she works on her incline dumbbell press, part of her personalized training plan at GoodLife Fitness. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

For those who may have had negative experiences with exercise in the past, those working through physical injuries and those who have high mental barriers, personal training may hold the key.

“Having someone lead you through that process or ease you back in,…

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