How To (actually) Start Exercising

Things I might say,

Exercise is not my thing. I don’t like doing it. It’s hard. How do I make time for it? How do I do it? I know it’s good, I know I should do it, and I do want to do it, but why do I not?

Oh, the exercise conversations that could happen with all those people who know it’s good, want to do it, but for some reason just don’t, like myself. Well, until the day before yesterday, when I finally got an exercise session in!

A little background, I’d say I’m pretty healthy overall. I’m about 5'10" weighing around 135lbs. Maybe a bit on the thinner side, weaker side, but nothing too crazy. I choose to eat vegan and healthy usually and I skateboard sometimes. I also live in a 5-floor walk-up in Brooklyn, which has me going up and down 72 stairs if I leave my apartment to go out and come back.

So my lifestyle might seem healthy, to a degree, and it is, but that also might be one of the causes for me to not be exercising purposefully regularly, outside of skateboarding. Maybe I have a great excuse, “I’m healthy enough to not exercise!”

It’s almost like I might be tricking myself into thinking that I’m good and being satisfied with the health I do have without understanding how much better and healthier I could be if I took exercising more seriously.

Well, I’ve been trying. Or so I may say. But if I’m not getting around to doing it then am I actually trying? It’s hard to defend that I’ve been wanting to exercise when I just haven’t been doing it. I could probably convince myself and some people that my reasons are valid, but it’s better that we just call them excuses and understand that I don’t, as of now, know how to have an exercise habit or routine, hence if I want one I should build one.

But how, right?

Well, the key is to actually start. Like get a session in. One session. Purposefully. Make sure it happens. A start. Because without a start how will there be a continuation that would build to a habit?

I also just turned 33, so that was an opportunity for me to have a “fresh start” at this new ripe old age. And guess what.. I started. I finally started to exercise!

First step was that I decided I wanted to start exercising this week, period. At least one session.

What I noticed was that on the day I wanted to do it, which was this past Monday, I opted to go skateboarding instead.

Now, skateboarding is a form of exercise, no doubt. With skateboarding you could break a sweat, get tired, have your muscles get sore, it’s a lot of activity for the body. But something I’ve been interested in has been to workout more muscles and focus in on certain areas of my body more actively. While skateboarding can use a lot of muscles some don’t get used as much as others, nor are as isolated.

But what I noticed is that I’m like somehow repelled to exercise and even on a day where I wanted to bring out the yoga mat and get a workout in I opted to skateboard instead, which is simply funner for me. So while that’s an alternative and better than nothing it is still a barrier to the more overall healthy lifestyle that I’d like to develop.

So here’s what happened on Monday. I went out to skate, but it ended up drizzling and the ground started getting wet right as I was beginning my session. That brought me back home and because it was important to exercise that day, somehow someway, and since the tiny bit of skating didn’t qualify it was time.

Yes, time to whip out that yoga mat and do a workout. This was the moment.

But now, I’m such a newbie to the world of exercise. I know about push-ups, sit-ups, running, some stretching, but not much in the big picture.

Anyone smell more excuses as to why I haven’t been exercising?

Enough was enough, it was like,

For 30 minutes I better do something. It doesn’t matter. Go jog in the rain or do push-ups or whatever you know, just do something. Look at one of those exercise apps on your phone you downloaded for some reason. Find a YouTube video with a workout routine. Just do something and stop the nonsense!

So I took my phone, opened up a folder called Fitness, and in there were some exercise apps, so I just opened one, it happened to be the Adidas Training app, and I just took the steps to sign up and get started.

Little did I know the apps initial questions were something I wasn’t ready for, but were very good to have.

One of them asked how often or which days I wanted to exercise. I didn’t know. I just wanted to start. But that question put some pressure on me to where I should commit to something. If I just wanted to exercise on Mondays I should schedule that. If I wanted to move and groove 5 days a week I schedule that. It was my choice. But I didn’t know how often I wanted to do the healthy thing called exercise, nor what I was ready for.

Nonetheless, I chose something. And it was 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That decision alone I feel like did something. It was like a commitment. Like, okay, you’re scheduled to exercise 3 days this week. Mentally prepare for that. And today being Wednesday I’m prepared to do a workout today that doesn’t involve skateboarding. I’m like on a program on the app or something. I don’t know. But your boy here is looking to exercise 3 days this week! (but will I do it?)

So okay, after the initial signing up and questions in the app and pushing some buttons I got to what I think was my personalized exercise session based on my current health and abilities.

And there I was, doing a warmup, a session, following the apps instructions, seeing visuals of how things are to be done, there was a timer, a voice, and eventually I got to the cool down, and that was that. Around 30 minutes or so later my session was done. I did it! I started!

That’s how to start. To just start. I know it might sound so lame. When you don’t know how to start you ask how to start. But it’s simple, just start. What we might tend to do is put all these barriers that prevent us from starting. Whether we think we’re healthy enough already, don’t seem to have the time, don’t know how to start, what to do, et cetera. That’s not good. Instead put a barrier that prevents you from not exercising. Like a timeframe, a schedule, a slot in your calendar, or the next 30 minutes you have right now. Just start and see what happens after.

After my little workout I felt good. It’s hard to really fathom, but I want to say I also felt clarity in my mind. It’s weird to make sense of it. And my workout wasn’t really intense. Pretty basic actually. And I was able to do it. I worked out muscles that haven’t had much action lately. I ended up sweating a bit. But didn’t get overwhelmed.

The session I did was solid I’d say in many ways. It wasn’t so hard to where I was discouraged by it. It wasn’t so easy to where I felt I was wasting my time. Instead it was easy enough for me to do without issues, but almost touched the point of being almost hard. Kind of weird to explain, but something was right. And that little workout, just starting, motivated me to continue.

But two big questions remain, “Will I continue?” and “Will I make exercising a habit?”

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Arthur Lugauskas

Arthur Lugauskas

What if I was just a figment, would that make my writing not real, instead imagined?