Health and wellbeing has become a top priority this year. As we all need to feel better and go through this pandemic, exercise remains essential - despite new limitations like social distancing and isolation. For those of us who hate working out, what are the options? Here are useful tips and suggestions to help you get more active, feel healthy and stronger!
5 tips for people who hate working out
Tip #1: Exercising is not necessarily one size fits all
Many people join a gym or go running, but not everyone has to. To start and stay motivated, find an activity that feels enjoyable and is manageable for you. Everyone has their own preference. Don't be shy, exercise can take some trial and error!
Tip #2: You don’t have to focus on gains
Working out is different for everybody; different body types respond differently to physical activity. Just because results are not immediately visible to you, does not mean you have not become stronger, be it physically or mentally.
Tip #3: Progress comes in all shapes and sizes
Sure, some people thrive on setting goals and beating challenges. But if this is not you and the idea of one goal after another isn't natural, just focus on enjoying the experience. As long as you find something manageable enough to keep in your routine, that is already progress in itself.
Tip #4: Start small, and work towards what you feel okay to do
The workout doesn’t have to be 30 minutes or even an hour right from the start. It is better to do a little today and come back tomorrow, than exhaust yourself and not think about it again for another six months (or a year). This is also to prevent injuries from overdoing new movements.
Tip #5: consider having a workout buddy
It is proven that having a partner can motivate us to workout more regularly (see Köhler effect). Find a partner and workout together regularly: It will keep you accountable and allow you to share the journey to fitness together. You could also find several friends to do different activities together! If you don't any name in mind, Hong Kong has social groups or apps like Meetup where you can find buddies for activities such as hiking, running and more!
5 Workouts that might be right for you
This is a great option for those less accustomed to speed-required or weighted training. Yoga involves a combination of physical postures and a focus on breathing. Yoga emphasises releasing tension and achieving relaxation. Trying to hold some of the positions will help you find better balance and also ease any tense muscles from having been sedentary for a while. Some of the long-term benefits include better sleep, better stamina, lower blood pressure and many more.
With resemblance to yoga, Pilates is also a low impact exercise that involves different movements to strengthen muscles as well as improve posture and alignment. Pilates can involve equipment such as a reformer but for starters, a simple yoga mat and adequate space will do. Pilates makes use of a diverse range of movements that works the whole body, and you are to do each movement in slow, but controlled reps. Also focusing on form and breathing, this is another option for improving strength and flexibility.
There are currently many apps and online videos to guide you through exercises such as Pilates and yoga, and the sessions often only last 5-10 minutes. Check out this guide to find out more!
Dancing is a great form of cardio exercise and involves endless varieties. All it takes is for you to play your favorite music and move along to the rhythm. It can be upbeat for more fast paced or slow for lower effort movements. If you were not much of a dancer before, don't worry! There are many classes available such as Zumba or Hip Hop classes, all accessible on YouTube or through local venues in Hong Kong.
If you hate the heat and breaking a sweat, this one is for you. Skating is a great form of low impact cardio exercise. You get the whole body moving and can improve your overall balance, without having to sweat in the hot humid Hong Kong weather or be short of breath. There are 6 large ice rinks in Hong Kong. Currently, local ice rinks are closed following the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance but check official guidelines for the latest information. In the meantime, perhaps you could consider getting a pair of roller skates and go skate around parks!
Consider starting out earlier and take the stairs, or get off one stop early and walk the extra distance if you head to work. If you are working from home, it can also be house walking; simply move around while you are going about your daily routine. This won’t take much more than 10-15 minutes; it can stimulate blood flow and you won’t even have to think much about it.
Be Like a Kid
A bonus one. This one isn’t necessarily a form of exercise, but more like a state of mind. When you are bored at home, try to imagine being a kid again, and get up and shake and wobble a bit, or do an extra twirl, rather than staying seated on the couch. You could also imagine the house as an obstacle course and play a game of ‘the floor is lava’. This could be fun to play with your children too! Just beware of any breakables before getting started!
We hope you will give these exercises a shot and find one that works for you. Sign-up to our newsletter for updates on COVID-19 and more wellbeing articles like this one!
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.