How to start a new relationship with exercise

How to start a new relationship with exercise

Starting to exercise, beginning a new exercise regime, or trying a new form of exercise can be daunting. Each requires you to (literally) step into a new space, commonly with new people, and try moving your body perhaps in a way that you’ve never done before! Combined, this could be physically and psychologically uncomfortable. And for some, this discomfort may reduce your likelihood of exercising at all.

So, how can we get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Make a note of your apprehensions and see if you can add some ambiguity. Often when we have critical thoughts about ourselves and our abilities, we use very strong, rigid, all or nothing thinking. For example, “There is no way I could do a boxing session” or “I won’t be good enough to join a class”.

In both examples the thought is absolute, but it may not actually match reality. By adding some ambiguity to these statements, we can start to work with them. For example, “If I check out the facilities first to help me feel more comfortable, I could give a boxing class a go” or “I don’t need to be ‘good enough’, but I might check if it is safe for me to participate so I feel more assured”.

2. Note your apprehensions about the exercise. For example, many people associate ‘boxing’ with ‘fighting’, and may have concerns about participating. Yet, many exercises are facilitated in ways to make them fun, enjoyable, and leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. One way to explore this is to let your experience tell you (rather than simply your thoughts!). Be curious about your lived experience when trying a new form of exercise – note down how you felt before the session. Reflect and note down how you felt during the workout and then straight afterwards. And how about a few hours later? These are all important aspects to note, as depending on your exercise history, the type of exercise, and the intensity, the “feel good” effects from the exercise will occur at different points. By noting these aspects down, you can see how you feel about the exercise and let this valuable experience inform you.

3. When getting started or trying something new time is key, as it enables you to tap into positive process aspects. For example, by using an offer such as our 30 day free trial you have a great amount of time to see what it is that you enjoy or find rewarding from the process of participating. With a 30 day free trial, you might establish a morning routine where you exercise before work. With this new routine, you might find that you are more focused during the day, and that you sleep better at night. When you just focus on outcomes such as weight loss, the results may take longer so give yourself time and trust the process.

4. You might like to see if a friend, family member, or partner would like to join you on this new regime! Sometimes participating can feel less daunting with a familiar face. But also keep in mind that if this is not an option for you, a new exercise class can provide you with the opportunity to meet new people (and new people that have a common interest!).

Comparing yourself to others and worrying what others may think of you can be very common. But just remember that everyone who is taking part in the exercise session attended their ‘first class’ once, and no one’s watching you!

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