I think fitness has become overcomplicated in today’s world. Many people find the idea of living an active lifestyle to be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of people who don’t have an exercise routine feel as though they don’t have the time or ability to get into one. We read magazines that tell us we need to do A and B for C minutes, then do X and Y whenever Z happens, and so on.
It doesn’t have to be that structured.
I used to think I hated all-things fitness, because I thought of fitness as a chore. I thought of it as something I had to schedule in and force myself to get through because I had to. Like going to the dentist.
Being committed to any type of exercise program does require scheduling in time for exercise, but fitness doesn’t have to be that regimented if you don’t want it to be. Instead, you can just live an active lifestyle.
Movement is amazing for our bodies and minds. Living an active lifestyle gives me constant energy and motivation. It elevates my mood and helps with my anxiety. It keeps me going. Ya know what I mean?
There are so many easy ways to fit fitness into your everyday routine. When you make small changes to create a more active lifestyle, it’s not so intimidating anymore.
When I used to “hate” fitness, this was my thought process: I don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym X times a week. I’m too busy with everything else. When I do go to the gym, I don’t even like it. Therefore, I’m just not an active person. Because I’m not an active person, I’m fine with basically never getting off the couch.
This thought process is so so wrong in so many ways. First of all, it’s an all-or-nothing mindset. I felt like if I wasn’t going to be an Olympic champion, I shouldn’t even bother.
Second, I thought I had to do the same type of exercise as everyone else around me – going to the gym and using the treadmill or elliptical for an hour a few days a week. As I’ve said before, I’m not a runner, but I used to think I had to be. Again, not the case.
As my health journey progressed, I started living a much more active lifestyle overall, and I realized how simple it is to fit fitness into everyday life.
If you can’t dedicate a straight 30 minutes to exercising, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be active and incorporate fitness into your day! Again, the key is in making activity part of your lifestyle. It all adds up.
Let me give you an example. Last weekend my friend Nina and I wanted to test out the porridge bar at Beaming and then shop on Montana Ave in Santa Monica. So, to make it a little more active, we left earlier than normal for breakfast and went on a walk around the neighborhood before grabbing our chia puddings and going shopping. Walking is definitely fitness, in case you forgot. (Joking, but also not. I think many of us forget that walking is a very valuable form of exercise!)
Get the idea? I’m going to share some tips I have for living a more active lifestyle, because I think tangible examples are much more helpful than magazine fluff. Just incorporating one or two of these things into your day can make a major difference in motivating you to maintain an active lifestyle.
- Wear workout clothes when you don’t have plans. Unless I know I’m going to be doing something that will not require being active, I’m wearing leggings and a tank. Being in clothes that make activity easier is motivating. For example, if you’re hanging out in jeans and a fancy top and your friend randomly asks you to go on a walk, you’re more likely to think, EH, I don’t want to change into comfy clothes. So just start out in comfy clothes. They’re comfy anyways.
- If you’re working at a desk all day long, GET UP. Set a timer on your phone so an alarm goes off once an hour. Get up and walk around for a few minutes or stand up and do a few jumping jacks, and then get back to work. You need some blood flow! Sitting on our butts all day is not good for us.
- Walk around or stand up when you’re on the phone. If my mom calls me, I know I’m going to be talking to her for quite some time. So I’ll go outside and walk around while I’m on the phone with her instead of sitting on my bed or at my desk.
- When you hang out with your friends, choose to do something active. When my friends and I just want to talk, we go on a walk outside while talking instead of sitting on the couch. Bring your friend to a free yoga class at Lululemon one weekend. Rent bikes at the beach. Go on a hike. Remember rollerblading? 90s throwback, but oh-so-fun, and very active.
- Test out different activities. If you haven’t found a form of fitness that you like yet, test different things out every so often. You can try walking, yoga, barre, running, weight-lifting, bodyweight training, surfing, swimming, boxing, Zumba, dance, pilates, racquetball, or any other sport. The options are endless! Once you find something that’s fun, you’ll want to do it more often. It won’t feel like “working out” – it’ll feel like hanging out. Never force yourself to do something that you don’t like. It can take time to find an activity that you really enjoy, but it’s worth it when you do.
- ACTIVELY watch TV. I personally watch TV while I’m doing my full-on workouts anyways, but if I’m not working out, I still try to “actively” watch TV. I’ll stretch or foam roll while I’m watching television, or maybe even do a quick yoga flow if I haven’t done much else that day. Commercial breaks are also the perfect time to get up and move for a sec. Boring commercials will also go by much faster if you do this, which is always a plus.
- Lunge around. I’m serious. This is why I’m not a fan of the “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse. If you’ve been sitting at your desk all day long and you need to get up to pee, lunge to the bathroom. If you’re hungry, lunge into the kitchen. Obviously, you’re not going to be doing this all the time, but a few times here and there on a day when you’re less active can make all the difference.
- Take the stairs. This is a classic tip, but so true. If you’re going to the tenth floor, I’ll give you a pass. We don’t always wanna look like Sweaty Betty when we get to an appointment. Or if you have a huge suitcase with you, I vote the elevator (story of my life – let’s not pull any muscles). But if you’re going to the second or third floor of a building, why not take the stairs? 50% of the time the stairs will be faster than waiting around for an elevator, anyways.
- Have a dance party. This is a huge stress-reliever for me. Sometimes I’ll be studying for hours on end, I’ll be really stressed out, and I just need to GET IT OUT. So I blast my favorite song and dance it out for a few minutes, and then I’m ready to get back to work. If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you know this works.
- Wall-sit while you check social media. If you’re checking social media at your desk for a quick minute, you might as well go over to a free wall and work on those legs! Multi-tasking at its finest.
- Work standing up when you can. In middle school, I once spent a week at my cousin’s house while my parents were on vacation, and I vividly remember being made fun of for standing up while studying for an exam. At the time, I didn’t even realize I was doing it / that other people didn’t. When they asked me why I was standing, I said, “It helps the information circulate through my brain.” I don’t even know why I said that, but it’s still something I do. If I’m using flash cards or memorizing something, I tend to stand while doing so. Standing is much more active than sitting at a desk.
- Pair a full-on workout with something you enjoy. Like I mentioned before, I watch TV or YouTube videos or listen to podcasts while I’m working out. I already enjoy working out, but pairing it with something else that I love makes it that much better. Plus, I feel so productive when I’m doing two things at once.
Most of these are so obvious that you probably don’t even think about doing them. Right now you’re probably thinking, Well, yeah, but that’s so easy. Exactly. Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated.
Making little changes like the ones I suggested above will help you live a more active lifestyle, which will make you feel better overall. You don’t have to fit in an official “workout routine” to be a fit person or to live an active lifestyle! It’s just about moving around when you can, and doing what feels good for your body.
Do you have any tricks for incorporating activity into your lifestyle?! I’d love to hear. XO