How to up your movement sessions to 3-4 times per week


Physical visceral joy banner

Can one of those exercise slots be at home? One of them be with a friend or partner? One of them involve relaxation? One of them be ‘babysitting’ (take the child in a buggy?) Is it time for a a challenge?

Four people exercising

You can totally enjoy doing this. 4 times a week! Laura Lloyd 2016

Evaluation time: let’s have a little review.

  • Is your movement habit taking hold?
  • Do you have your own momentum yet?
  • Is your body starting to tell you when you miss exercise?
  • Is your head telling you when it needs exercise to sort it out?
  • Have you picked activities that you can do easily enough? Do you need a fallback, like an exercise video?
  • Are you haphazard? Do you need to review the habit change principles in our article on exercising 3 times per week? Do you now believe me that making a habit is shaky if you leave it to chance, and that you do need a chart on the fridge, a reward, a buddy and so forth?

Do you feel like you want to join with someone to train for something?

This is an important question. You need to ask yourself: Am I pushing myself in a way that won’t attract self-kindness? Or is this a fun, achievable target with someone I like spending time with? A 5K running programme really helped me start running, for example (and I mean really start, because I wasn’t a runner at all before), because it had all the little trainings broken down into achievable bitesize chunks, and *all* I had to do was be consistent.

Another advantage of this is that an achievable, fun goal helps you convince those around you to support you raising your exercise slots, you can always say to your partner that you’re ‘training’. You can show them the chart so they become involved in your progress.

Are you ready to do more, actually? 

Or are you still struggling to make two times a week into three? One mental trick is to use ‘yet’ instead of regret. As in, “I haven’t been to the gym three times a week yet” instead of “I should have been, I didn’t go, I’m so useless and unworthy etc etc”. 

Because if you’re not ready to do more, do what you’re doing. You have to do more when your body says “yeah, let’s go” and when you’re ready to make it a priority out of joy and sheer desire.

Or do you need to push yourself less to do more exercise, in order to do more?

If you’re going to add in a 4th exercise slot in the week, do you actually need to do something a bit more tempting, a bit more slow, like pilates or a yoga class, or a pelvic floor class or a sauna-and-swim session. Does this extra exercise slot need to be ‘light’ and fun?

Sometimes, if you have kids, the difficulty is in carving out enough childcare to make exercise happen. So maybe it needs to be family-and-relationship friendly? Like, arrange a night of the week to regularly have sex. Or plan in a family stomp round the lake every Sunday morning. Take the baby in the buggy out jogging or your child to a Nordic Walking with slings class or go to a mum-and-baby yoga sesh?

The next step comes from desire not driving

Listen in to yourself. What works. What doesn’t work. What you need next. What you really feel like doing. What you want to do. What kind of challenge your body is asking for. Don’t force it, you might break it. Make it achievable, make failure impossible. Good luck.

  • * *

What’s working, and what are you struggling with? Get stuck in to the comment thread below.