I want to motivate myself to get moving, but I don’t know where to start

Exercise – we all know it’s good for us, we all know it can make us feel more energised and helps us to concentrate, but what does it actually mean to be physically active? And why does it feel extra hard to get motivated at the moment?

The odds are that you are probably already doing a bit of physical activity at the moment without even knowing – walking to grab a coffee from your local café, taking the kids to the playground or stretching in the loungeroom. What is important at this point of lock down is that a lot of our incidental exercise has been reduced, such as walking to and from lectures or meetings and active transport, as well as our structured classes or sport trainings.

Keeping active should be enjoyable, so it’s important that you find something that works for you. We’ve outlined six ways you can keep active over the next couple of weeks, some structured and some not so structured. If we break down the recommended physical activity for adults 18 – 64 years, we should be accumulating between 150 – 300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Now, how many of us aimlessly scroll through social media for 40+ minutes per day? Try swapping out some screen time for some physical activity instead!

1. Get outside and go for a walk, run or cycle

Let’s cut to the chase, how many of us were actually getting outside and going for a walk pre-iso? Rather than dwelling on our limited ‘outside’ time, let’s see this time as an opportunity for movement without the normal pressures of life.

Put your headphones in and listen to some of your favourite music or a podcast you enjoy, or you might like to enjoy your time outside noise free. Either way, we know you’ll benefit from taking your mind off of study or a project you’re currently working on, clearing your head and listening to some good tunes. The best part of wearing a mask while I’m out walking is that now no one can see us lip syncing!

There are a lot of great apps you can use to track your walks – you could even run a challenge for your friends or family (see below)!

2. Break up your day with short bursts of movement

You might find it difficult some days to get an hour away from your desk, but there are still a lot of benefits of shorter bursts of movement over the course of the day. The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend an accumulation of 150 – 300 minutes (2.5 hours – 5 hours) of moderate physical activity per week. If we break that down, it’s between 20 – 40 minutes a day and we know you’ve got this!

Break up your time spent sitting by walking around when you’re on a phone call, stand during certain lectures/meetings during the day and make an effort to move every 30 – 60 minutes by getting out of your chair and moving around the house.

Looking for some mobility inspo? Check out our #ActivationInIsolation YouTube playlist that has exercises you can do in your home with no equipment.

3. Join an online class

Most of us are pretty zoomed out, but if you are looking to connect with people and do some physical activity along with it, online classes are a great option! There are so many options out there from slow flow yoga practices to Mat Pilates for every level and high intensity classes to get your sweat on.

Online classes are a great option for anyone who misses their local group classes, or for those who might be lacking a bit of motivation. The team at La Trobe Sport think we can talk on behalf of all instructors who are missing taking their classes in person and love seeing people join their online classes!

Not sure where to start? Join La Trobe Sport for our online classes, booked via the MindBody app.

4. Dance like nobody’s watching

Sometimes there’s nothing better than letting your hair down and moving your body to the beat (or off the beat if you’re not that way inclined). Grab your housemate or your favourite pet and get those endorphins flowing and dance like nobody’s watching!

5. Create a challenge for your family and friends

Although we can’t play sport at the moment, we can still bring out our competitive nature and challenge our friends or family to hit some physical activity targets. You can help keep them motivated with daily or weekly targets, or even a special prize for the next family event we can all share.

Be creative and keep it fun! Remember, doing any physical activity is better than doing none, so celebrate all the little wins!

6. Tackle the weeding

We are starting to see the flowers blossom and the sun is shining a little more for longer in the day in spring! You might have noticed the garden looking like it needs a little TLC, so grab a rake and your gloves and get out and be active in your garden. If you don’t have a garden, you might like to plant a little veggie or herb patch in an area you do have or contact an elderly neighbour or family member to help in theirs.

You could even join the local community garden. The best bit? It’s all completely screen free!

Remember, physical activity should always be undertaken at a level that is suited to you. If you’re starting from no physical activity, start by doing some and build it up to the recommended level. Try and incorporate muscle strengthening activities a couple of times a week, whether by joining a class, through a virtual personal trainer or physical personal trainer or in your home gym.

Do you need help getting started? Get in contact with La Trobe Sport’s health and fitness team who are invested in you to help you reach your goals, educating and encouraging you along every step of the way! Get in touch with us via sport@latrobe.edu.au.