9 Practical Tips for Creating a Consistent Exercise Routine

I think I can help you get fit—at least more fit than you are right now.

Think is the operative word, because I am no fitness expert. So, you rightly ask, “Why should I take advice from this guy?”

Only because I’m a lot like you.

It’s possible I understand where you’re at in the constant uphill battle for health and fitness. This is assuming you are an average joe (or jane), like me, who has basic physical mobility but doesn’t have the time or money for a personal trainer or gym membership to help that needy body of yours get and stay fit.  

My life is bounded, much like yours, by never-ending work/community demands, ever-present parenting/education needs, and over-arching spousal/home commitments. With all this and more pressing in, I have consistently come up short on the elusive…

Time and Money

Are we relating yet? These elements of pursuing fitness will always be obstacles to average folks like us who might otherwise get fit.

But let us not forget the third leg of the stool—or perhaps we should say the central supporting pillar—

Motivation

While I have legit reasons for lacking time and money, I can’t find any good excuse for lacking motivation. The motivation we need to be fit is a function of self-control.

With discipline working from the inside out, we have a chance at overcoming the tyranny of time, the deceitfulness of money, and the laziness of low motivation. What a freedom and joy that is! 

Track with me now on some discoveries I’ve made of simple daily disciplines, born of the spiritual gift of self-control, that not only help in pursuing fitness but also in retaining the motivation to become whole for life.

  1. Sneakers by the bed

    Here’s the secret to fitness you’ve been searching for all your life: Set out your athletic shoes the night before so that in the morning you will stumble over them, lace them up, and get moving. Excuse #1 eliminated: “I can’t find my sneakers.”
  2. Every day

    The only thing you’ll stay fully committed to is the thing you do every day. Commit to one physical activity per day, but make three your goal. As the positive results come in, this commitment quickly moves from a burden to a key space in your life you really hate to miss.
  3. Time in prayer & meditation

    Let your bodily action be an extension of your resting time. What starts in meditation, reading and quiet prayer can expand into intercession, contemplation, and absorbing edifying sermons/teachings/commentary as you get body, soul, and spirit moving.
  4. All you need is a floor

    You really don’t need a gym or a trainer—or the excuse of no time or money, but you do need a flat surface—most any floor will do. A mat to roll out can really comfort your stiff form as you engage in your movement of choice. Remember, though, save energy for getting back up!
  5. Stretch those aching muscles

    Great news: you don’t have to work out, run, or do any of the things you fear or loathe. You just need to start stretching those legs and arms (and everything in between) a bit more than you do when you’re trying to get out of bed. No need to push it—stretching feels good and leads to bigger things.woman lacing up her sneakers
  6. No shower until…

    After the sneakers secret (which you’re still marveling over), this is the discipline that will change your life: Turn on that shower and let it get steamy, but don’t let yourself get in until you’ve exercised some part of your anatomy. For me it’s pushups. For you it might be knee bends or extra stretching. The strenuousness of it matters not—the regularity matters all.
  7. Find somebody you love

    Find someone you love (or at least like a little bit) and go walking—every day, rain or shine. Your pet can be a perfect companion and will appreciate the time spent outdoors! My great joy is getting that time with my lovely wife who keeps such a pace I get a workout just trying to keeping up.
  8. Just a little extra

    While this is not about distance, time, or repetition, it’s a great feeling when you can increase those factors to boost your physical and mental well-being. It only takes a little extra effort. For example, if you’re going 1000 steps, do 50 more; going on a 15-minute ride, go 16; planning on 10 knee bends, squeeze out 11. It’s that simple. If you’ll always give that little extra, you’ll be going farther and faster than you can say, “I can’t find my sneakers!”
  9. Call the experts

    Now that I’m encroaching on the territory of those who actually know how to advise you, it’s time for me to be quiet and go stretch, or something. So, the last discipline I’ll share is marked by the godly humility that says, “I really don’t know how to eat right or how to exercise properly. Who can help me?” The answer: certified personal trainers, certified health coaches, and Registered Dietitians to name a few.

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