In most countries, the lockdown related to the Coronavirus pandemic literally means being locked inside the house. Not being allowed to leave the house except for essential trips to the doctor or the grocery store means that you’re not allowed to do outdoor sports, like running, outdoor yoga, etc.
For those of us who find exercising difficult already, it has just become even more difficult. So, how do we exercise and stay fit despite the lockdown?
As a Health Psychologist, I believe that taking a goal-oriented approach is most effective in order to achieve behavior change. This basically means it all comes down to setting a goal and sticking to it. How?
The key to translating your intention into actual behavior is to define precisely what type of exercise you’ll engage in, where and when you’re going to do so.
What type of exercise do you choose to do? Your main exercise should be one that you actually enjoy. You’ll be much more successful in the long run if you actually like the type of sport that you do. While the lockdown means that our choices are limited, there is still plenty of variety to choose from at home. You can buy a treadmill, a rowing machine or install a basketball hoop on your garage…the bottom line is that you should have a good time exercising.
Where you exercise is also an important factor because it makes it easier to exercise if you have a space reserved for only that purpose. If you exercise in one place again and again, you should start to associate that space with exercise and this will make it easier for you to get into the habit. Whether it’s the workout room in your basement, your garden or an online gym doesn’t matter, as long as you are consistent. You can even partner up with a friend virtually, in order to make things more fun.
When will you exercise? Setting a time for exercising is important for a number of reasons. First, research shows that defining a day and time at which you exercise, makes it more likely that you’ll actually stick to your schedule. Second, making time to exercise means that you prioritize it, so that it automatically becomes more important. Third, setting a precise time is a way to control yourself. If you never make it on time, it’s much easier for you to realize that you’re not sticking to your schedule. This way, you can also figure out which factors you should adjust in order to make exercising easier.
While the lockdown essentially gives us more time to exercise, it also gives us more excuses not to. The trick is to acknowledge that we ourselves are the main barrier to exercising successfully and that we need to change in order to achieve our goals.