“The key to success is to focus on the goals, not obstacles.” – Anonymous.
Finding the motivation to get out and start moving can be a struggle, even for the fittest of people. At the end of the day, any exercise is better than none, and every little bit counts toward better mental, physical and overall health.
With winter almost behind us, it is time to make sure your body is in the best possible shape to keep those nasties away or recover from a flare-up. Keeping to your regular management regime, including your regular medications, a balanced diet and of course a regular exercise routine, is key to keeping your body at its best during a time when it needs the most active immune defence.
Lung Foundation Australia’s Pulmonary Exercise Manager and Exercise Physiologist Emma Gainer said if you didn’t manage to do as much exercise as you would have liked over cooler months, that’s ok, it’s never too late to start or to get back into it. You may have had an infection or flare-up in your condition which prevented you from being able to do your day-to-day exercise.
“Either way, you’re not alone, there are lots of people to help you on this journey to make sure you feel comfortable and confident exercising,” Emma said.
“Getting back to a regular exercise routine will help you feel less breathless and see improvements in your physical capacity to do everyday activities, like doing the groceries or cooking dinner – giving you a sense of control over your lung condition.
“I like to explain that exercise is like medicine and it should be treated in an equally important fashion. It can be adapted to your individual needs at any point in time and gives you a number of health benefits. So, when you do start exercising again, it’s crucial to gradually build up your exercise routine and tolerance.
“It is also important that you revisit your goals and exercise to make sure it suits you and your current situation, so you can actually achieve your goals. A goal you made one year ago may now be completely outdated, irrelevant or unachievable because circumstances do change.
“When setting goals and re-evaluating them, your exercise professional will likely talk to you about SMART principles. They ask questions, such as is your goal specific and relevant? Can you measure its success? Is the goal realistic to achieve?
When developing or reviewing your exercise program, there are three areas which your exercise professional will cover. These include cardio exercise, strength training and regular stretching.
Emma said, each will have different benefits, for example cardio exercise will help your body to use oxygen more effectively where as strength training will make you stronger and more able to tolerate every day tasks.
Emma shared her top tips to approaching exercise and keeping motivated:
- Be informed and know why: Understand the value in the power of movement. To get long-term benefit it is important to think of exercise as another medication you are taking – it is contributing to better health and management of your lung disease.
- Approach gradually: Build on your exercise regime slowly to ensure you are confident and comfortable.
- Plan ahead: Keep a schedule of when you will exercise to keep you accountable and track your progress. Ensure you have a backup plan for when you can’t execute your plan – for example bad weather, flare-ups, holidays and anything else that may pop up in life.
- Set SMART goals: Include short-term targets along the way. Don’t forget to also ensure your closest support network understand how important your goal is so they can encourage you on your journey and keep you motivated as well!
- Choose exercise options that you genuinely enjoy: If you are doing something that you do not like you will never stay motivated to continue long-term.
- Buddy up or join a group: This keeps you accountable and makes being active social and more enjoyable.