Advertising
Advertising

4 Ways to Finally Start Exercising and Participating in Sports

4 Ways to Finally Start Exercising and Participating in Sports

How many times have you promised yourself that you will begin exercising next Monday, or when the new month starts?

Whenever that Monday comes, you usually find an excuse not to start. Or the best scenario, you start something that turns out to be way too painful, boring, or taking too much energy.

I don’t know why it happens, but we usually make the diet or exercise decisions when we can’t button our favorite pants or devour an entire chocolate. But the moment the guilt disappears, we forget about the promise. Some of us are bound to laziness; there are too many unpleasant sensations, side effects like dirt, sweat, and much more. The unwilling brain can find dozens of reasons not to participate in anything away from the couch.

I can understand your attitude if you’re not into sports, but the reality is: if you aren’t physically active, you’ll get weaker and develop some kind of illness. Still, it’s not that scary; working out and participating in sports is a very fun way to burn calories, develop muscles, and boost your overall health. It doesn’t have to be that hard.

Let’s get you out of that chair and develop some healthy habits – this time for real.

Advertising

1. Find something that will interest you

stretching-498256_1280

    As a regular couch potato, any activity will get you somewhere. Depending on how long has been since your last outdoor recreation or visit to the gym, the more painful the first encounter with activity will be.

    The trick is to find something that will interest you, and use some possibilities to your advantage. Even if you’re ultimately not interested in sports, I can guarantee that you can have fun trying out different sports with your friends. Any sport out there can be good: lacrosse, table tennis, golf, soccer, paintball, swimming, cycling, or bowling. You never know until you actually try it.

    Just be creative and give the sport a chance. Here’s what you should do next:

    2. Find a partner

    Advertising

      To start and endure in the decision to exercise or regularly participate in sports, find someone to accompany you. It can be your emotional partner, a friend, sister or brother, or anyone else you like to spend time with. Doing it this way, you will connect two useful things – physical activities and socializing.

      To have some extra motivation, arrange some activity linked to a workout that you both will enjoy, like a post-workout dinner. That can be a reward for a productive exercise or sports session. If you’ve decided to hit the gym, try to find a partner who has experience in exercising. Your partner can assist you with weights, show you how to do some exercises or correct you if he or she sees that you are doing an exercise incorrectly.

      If you choose some other sports activity, such as group training or running, a partner can give you advice that will help you achieve better results. Of course, there is the competitive aspect; try to beat each other’s records will improve both of you significantly. If your partner has no experience in training, you will have someone to answer to. You can’t evade the training when your partner awaits you. Even when you aren’t in the mood, you’ll have to meet your partner and go through the workout.

      3. Get yourself a new equipment

      fitness-1677212_1280

        One of the things that always helps you stay motivated is getting some new sports equipment. It would be a pity that a fancy new pair of shoes or a new tennis racket gets left behind in a closet, right?

        Advertising

        If you do workouts in the gym or some group aerobic sport, a new sportswear will always be handy, such as stylish sports T-shirts & shorts and a pair of good sneakers. As soon as you refresh your outfit and look at yourself in the gym mirror you will feel much better. Besides the sportswear, getting yourself the equipment for the sport might lead you to pick it up more often. For example, if you play tennis, buying a new racket could be a good motivator.

        Here’s an interesting trick; get yourself the clothes and the equipment somewhere you can see it every day. Some people go a step further and put it right next to the bed so as soon as they wake up, an upcoming workout reminder is there. Another interesting method to get you out of the house: get yourself a set of golf clubs and put it in your hallway. The sight of your new fancy equipment will increase the probability of a new golf session. It won’t require much sweat, but you’ll still be outside and active.

        The space in which you exercise can play a vital role in how you feel. If you are getting bored of the same old gym or program you are participating in for some time, try to find something new that can get you more interested in and don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, the most important thing is to enjoy whatever you are doing.

        4. Music is a great motivator

        5628423451_437ce89189_b
          Image Credit: GoToVan, Flickr

          A good motivation plays a key role in keeping you primed during your sports activities or workout session whatever that may be, and is there a better motivator than music?

          Music has the power to affect and boost our emotions in powerful ways, and that is why it has been known that working out with the help of music can give you the edge and push you much further. First of all, you should get a pair of good earbuds; besides that they are much smaller, earbuds are more resilient when dealing with moisture especially when used in sports activities, being soaked with a solid sweat.

          Advertising

          Also, they are a much better option regarding staying on your head while you are in motion, and some earbuds even have built-in stabilizing fins to ensure that they will stay in your ears no matter what you do during your workout. Now, when it comes to motivational music, everyone prefers something different. Try to find which kind of music suits you the best according to the type of sport or workout you are performing.

          Make a playlist of your favorite songs which will motivate you to get off the couch, start running, or push through some heavier lifts at the gym. It has been found that music with a strong beat often helps people’s movements to stay consistent during exercise.

          Get out and start the change

          You have one life, and you choose how to live it. It’s your turn; choose the sport or activity and enjoy it. You’ll get hooked in no time.

          More by this author

          Dejan Kvrgic

          Blogger, Writer

          Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women 30 Excellent Slow Cooker Recipes For Lazy People 5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones Bedroom Makeover 101: Enhancing The Most Important Place In Your Home 8 Fun Ways to Make Your Wedding Truly Memorable

          Trending in Exercise

          1 8 Yoga Poses to Help You Achieve Strong and Toned Inner Thighs 2 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 3 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 4 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 5 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on September 27, 2020

          5 Killer Stomach Workouts for Impressive Abs and Core

          5 Killer Stomach Workouts for Impressive Abs and Core

          Having a well-chiseled six pack is the ultimate fitness goal for many people, and it’s okay if you want great abs as well. Stomach workouts are great for building core muscles, but they’re also great for improving posture, supporting your spine and back, and offering a wider range of motion.

          The problem is that many people never succeed in carving out the core of their dreams! For some people, the problem lies in their approach to working out, while others have got their nutrition wrong. Either way, there’s a remedy, and you can commence your journey to an impressive six pack starting today!

          In this article, we’ll go over the non-sexy reasons for having a strong core. I’ll also be sharing some proven stomach workouts and core exercises that’ll help you carve out an impressive ab.

          Why You Need Rock-Solid Abs

          Believe it or not, there’s actually more to having a strong core than just good looks. Core muscles are required for just about everything we do on a daily basis, from sitting, to walking, running and throwing things around.

          Before we go any further, though, you should probably know that there’s more to the core than just the abdominal muscles (abs). It also includes hip and pelvic muscles, as well as mid and lower back muscles. All these muscles work together to support movement and maintain stability.

          Here are some benefits of having a strong core:

          1. Helps Your Posture

          When you engage in core-strengthening stomach exercises, the thorough working of the torso helps to maintain a balanced posture. The posture balance, in turn, helps to reduce the risk of vertebrae degeneration and disc herniation.

          2. Reduces Back Pain

          Having a strong core also helps to alleviate back pain by providing adequate support for the spine. Research has also revealed that having strong core muscles reduces the risk of back injury during workouts[1].

          3. Improves Athletic Performance

          You’re going to have a hard time finding a sport that doesn’t rely heavily on core muscles for effective performance. From running, to rowing, baseball, football, and tennis, every sport you could possibly think of engages the core in one way or another.

          So, if you’re planning to become an athlete, then strengthening your core is absolutely indispensable.

          Advertising

          4. Makes Life Easier on the Job

          Life will become a whole lot easier for you on the job if you can manage to strengthen your core. The reason is simple—just about every activity you engage in at work engages your core, from standing to lifting, twisting and even sitting.

          Therefore, if you’d like to be a bit more comfortable and energetic at work, then strengthening your abs and back muscles would be a great place to start.

          Now let’s get to those stomach workouts that will help strengthen the all-important core.

          5 Amazing Stomach Workouts

          Before diving into the specific workouts that will finally send your abs out of hiding, there are a couple of anatomical jargon you need to be familiar with. These are just fancy names for the muscles that make up the abs, and they are:[2]

          • Rectus abdominis (front abs, commonly known as six-packs)
          • Internal and external obliques (side abs, found around the waist).

          Got it? Great! Keep those in mind because I’ll be mentioning them a lot in the coming paragraphs.

          Now, let’s move on to the actual workouts.

          1. Crunches

          Regardless of the negative media crunches may have received over the years, one thing is for certain—they work…when done correctly!

          Crunches are great for eliciting muscle activity in the rectus abdominis, and this helps greatly in strengthening those muscles.

          How to Do Perfect Crunches
          • Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet closely together and flat on the floor. You may want to hold on to something with your toes to make it easier.
          • Place your hands behind your head (without interlocking them) or across your chest.
          • Keep your elbows open to the sides.
          • Gently tighten and pull in your abs.
          • Curl forward, lifting your head and shoulder blades off the floor towards your knee.
          • Hold it for a moment and lower back down slowly.

          Several variations of the traditional crunch have been developed to focus on other core muscles ignored by regular crunches. One of these is the bicycle crunch or bicycle kicks. The bicycle crunch impacts the external obliques (on the side of the waist), in addition to the rectus abdominis, and this helps to work the torso.

          Advertising

          How to Do Bicycle Crunches
          • Start in the same position as a traditional crunch.
          • Lift your right knee off the floor, toward the left side of your chest, and simultaneously lift your left elbow to meet your right knee.
          • Repeat this process for the left knee and right elbow, and keep up this cycle until your abs are thoroughly worked.
          • Be sure to completely lift your shoulder blades off the floor to keep the action concentrated on your core.

          Check out this video on how to do the bicycle crunch:

          2. Planks

          There’s a good reason why the plank has gained so much attention in the fitness industry—it works. Not only does it crush the rectus abdominis, but it also greatly impacts the external obliques and transverse abdominis, making it one of the best stomach workouts.

          In simple terms, it rocks your abs in a way regular crunches don’t and also doesn’t give you back pain, no matter how long you hold out doing it.

          Planks aren’t just a great workout for abs, though. It also does a great job strengthening the arms, shoulders, and glutes.

          Just like the crunch, there are several variations of the plank, each adapted to focus on specific muscle groups that may have been ignored by others. Here, I’ll be discussing just two of them: the front plank and the side plank.

          How to Do a Front Plank

          The front plank is the basic plank position, and it targets your rectus abdominis. Here’s how to do it:

          • Start in the pushup position with your arms placed shoulder-width apart, and place your feet shoulder-width apart or together.
          • Rest your weight on your forearms, with your palms facing the ground, and maintain a 90-degree angle between your shoulders and forearm.
          • Raise your hips slightly, and form a straight line from your head to your feet.
          • Hold the position for as long as you can before your form collapses.
          • Rest for a few minutes and repeat.
          • If this isn’t challenging enough, raise an arm and a leg to increase the difficulty level.

          How to Do a Side Plank

          Apart from strengthening the front abs, the side plank also works the external obliques and transverse abdominis, helping you to carve out that dreamy physique in your midsection.

          Here’s how to do it:

          • Lie on your right side, supporting your body by placing your right forearm on the floor.
          • Place your left leg on the right leg while maintaining this position.
          • Lift your hip off the ground, maintaining a straight line from your shoulder to your feet.
          • Lift your left arm into the air to maintain balance.
          • Hold this position for as long as you can (one or two minutes is fine).
          • Rest for a few minutes and repeat for the other side.
          • To increase the difficulty level, you can raise the top leg.

          Advertising

          3. Russian Twists

          The Russian twist is an amazing workout for just about every muscle in your core as you twist from side to side. The obliques are the more obvious beneficiaries, though, as the side-to-side motion really impacts the torso and helps to carve out an impressive side.

          And just like the other stomach workouts listed so far, no serious gym equipment is required. All you need is some floor space and the will to keep going!

          How to Do Russian Twists
          • Sit on the ground, and bend your knees to create a 90-degree angle between your upper and lower legs.
          • You may place your feet under something immovable or lift them slightly off the floor.
          • Tilt your back towards the ground at an approximate angle of 45-degrees with the ground.
          • Hold your arms straight before you and twist as far as possible to one side before doing the same thing on the other side.
          • To kick things up a notch, hold a mildly heavy object in your hands as you twist from side to side.
          • Aim for 10-12 reps on each side, rest, and repeat the process 3-5 times.

          4. Hanging Leg Raise or Knee Raise

          This is another exercise that will rev up your core and leave your abs strengthened for days. The most beautiful thing about this workout is its scalability. You can start off with bent knee raises, and then you can move on to straight leg raises, and ultimately to toe-to-bar raises.

          How to Do the Hanging Leg Raise or Knee Raise
          • Grab the pull-up bar, ensuring that your arms are straight and your feet are totally off the ground.
          • Keep your legs straight and firmly together.
          • Tighten your abs, and use your core to extend your legs forward until they form an angle of 90-degrees with your midsection.
          • Hold this position for a few seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
          • For the knee raise, bend your knees before raising them to a 90-degree angle with your midsection.
          • For either movement, make sure you get your legs up using only your core. Avoid swinging them up with momentum.
          • To make things a bit more challenging, try placing a medicine ball between your ankles or knees.
          • Aim for 3-5 sets in the 10-15 rep range, and you midsection should be burning for days to come.

          5. Ab-Wheel Rollouts

          Alright, this one of the stomach workouts that may require a trip to the gym, but trust me, it’ll be worth every minute of your time.

          If there’s one thing those infomercials got right, it’s the fact that ab wheels produce better muscle activation than crunches and leg raises[3].

          As you roll out on the wheel, your trunk fires up in order to maintain spine neutrality and prevent collapsing[4]. In other words, it does a great job of crushing your abs and carving out those much-desired six packs.

          How to Do Ab-Wheel Rollouts
          • Get into a tabletop position, and place some pads under your knees for protection.
          • Place your hands on the ab wheel, and take a deep breath.
          • Push your belly backward to prevent it from sagging as you roll out.
          • Roll out the wheel as far as you comfortably can, and keep your core tight.
          • Hold the position for a few seconds, and roll back in, fully engaging your abs as you do so.
          • To kick things up a notch, strap on a backpack containing some weight as you roll in and out.
          • Aim for 2-5 sets in the 10-15 rep range, and you’ll definitely feel it in your abs for days to come.

          Bonus Tip: Your Other Muscle Groups

          Before you dash off, don’t ignore other muscle groups!

          Advertising

          Here’s a little fact you need to wrap your head around—doing only ab exercises won’t give you six pack! Here’s why:

          Your abs are invisible because they’re covered by a layer of abdominal fat.

          Excessive body fat results from a calorie surplus, which means you take in more calories than you burn. And the abdomen is just one of the several fat-storage spots in the body.

          Lowering your total body fat should be the first course of action, and that requires a full body workout.

          Contrary to what some marketers would have you believe, you can’t directly target abdominal fat for elimination; there’s simply no scientific evidence behind this hocus pocus.[5]

          Although research has revealed that training a particular muscle group does increase lipolysis (conversion of fat into energy) and blood flow in that area, the effect is usually too negligible to matter.

          So, training a particular muscle group doesn’t make them cannibalize the fat covering them, although it does help those muscles to consume more energy as they get bigger.

          You may do hundreds of crunches and leg raises, but you still won’t see those abs if you don’t reduce the percentage of your total body fat 15% or more[6]. Fat loss is a full-body process, and that means you need to stick to a calorie deficit and train all muscle groups to achieve it.

          The Bottom Line

          There are no magic tricks to carving out an impressive core with stomach workouts! If you want great abs, you need to do three things—eat right, train right, and burn fat!

          Here’s the thing, thoughyou can do it!

          Start today, take it one day at a time, and a few months from now you’ll look in the mirror and love what you see. Stop sitting around; get out there and get it done!

          More Great Stomach Workouts

          Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next