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Time to stop thinking about exercise as a chore?

Time to stop thinking about exercise as a chore and instead think about making it part of our daily lives, says Hannah Beecham, founder of the R.E.D January movement

by Psychologies

Ever frustratingly spoke the words, 'I've lost my fitness mojo'? I'm writing this with my hand held high! 

From squeezing in an early morning gym class, to running around the park on our lunch break before showering and inhaling a sandwich, sound familiar?

Exercise has always been part of my life, but during a recent period of low motivation, I got caught in a cycle of saying ‘I’ll start to exercise again from tomorrow'. Days turned to weeks, turned to months. The prospect of building my fitness up to where it was, started to feel progressively more daunting. I instead started to put my energy into researching new exercise classes, swimming memberships, bikes, gym gear. Anything that would help me get my exercise mojo back.

Before I started throwing money at the situation, I was introduced to a book. Do you ever find that some things come into your life when you need it most? This was one of those things.

'Another reason I think many of us should be cancelling our gym memberships is that it’s much better for us to see our whole lives as a potential workout… I believe we should stop talking about "exercise" all together and start thinking, instead, about "movement."' – Dr Rangan Chatterjee, The Four Pillar Plan.

The light bulb moment.

Looking back, it dawned on me that I had been imposing a strict exercise regime on myself for years. With an already busy life, it just wasn’t sustainable. Instead, my body and mind were left feeling drained and I just didn't have the energy to wake up before sunrise to go to a HIIT class. Surprising, ay?

Thinking about making movement a daily part of my life felt much less daunting. Things like getting off the bus a few stops early to walk to my destination. Taking the stairs instead of the lift. A lunchtime stroll. You’ll be surprised at how relatively small adjustments like this can make a world of difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. And what’s more, it will naturally become part of your lives. No stopping and starting when the winter months kick-in again.

‘When you start seeing the whole world as your gym, you start seeing all the opportunities you have to make moving a simple and achievable part of your daily life’ – Dr Rangan Chatterjee.

R.E.D isn't just for January. If you'd like some support with goal-setting and need a daily dose of motivation, join the R.E.D running community here.

R.E.D January's partner is leading mental health charity MIND. Every penny raised will fund their vital work. For more, see mind.org.uk/redjanuary 

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