Time away from the sofa is time very well spent

Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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When all you want to do is sit on the couch, how do you find the motivation to get up and get moving?

We all have days when our motivation is less than sprightly.

We stayed up too late the previous night, we’ve had a busy week with work or family duties.

We’re worn out after trying some new fitness experiments. The weather is getting on our nerves. There are plenty of good reasons to take a day off from exercising.

An overabundance of physical or mental stress, after all, can deplete us without adequate recovery.

As healthy humans, we’re entitled, yes? All this said, what about the times when a day on the couch becomes a couple of weeks – or months?

What if we’ve, in fact, spent much of our lives on the couch (or office chair, driver’s seat etc.) and are trying to make our way out of the sedentary trap? If this kind of chronic inactivity describes your lifestyle of late, consider this article is for you.

Maybe some of you can’t quite identify with this problem. You’re ready to fidget your way out of your own skin if you’re as much as laid up for a single day.

You enjoy the gym or all manner of outdoor endeavour. Nonetheless, I’d venture to say many readers can connect with this feeling or at least know someone who clearly does.

Some people are simply comfortable not moving. Maybe they were athletes once upon a time but got rerouted by a sit-down job years ago.

It happens – especially in our culture these days. Never before has it been so easy not to move, and never have there been so many sedentary activities and occupations that are, indeed, genuinely enjoyable enough to take up an entire day when you let them.

Give your TV and tech toys to a friend for at least a full week (if not month). Get rid of any and all distractions (even if they’re treasured hobbies) for a strategic length of time. The break (and lack of related tools) will force you to find a new way to spend your time.

Eventually, you’ll probably at least leave the house. This at least opens up new possibilities.

So, you don’t want to get off the couch. Does this mean you don’t want to get off the couch at all, or you don’t want to get off the couch at 8pm after a long day when you finally get the kids to bed?

Seriously, not a lot of people in those circumstances want to go work out then. The problem in this scenario probably isn’t you as much as the unrealistic timing. You have a right to be exhausted at 8pm.

By all means, spend an hour of quality time with your partner and then go to bed if you need to.

What I wouldn’t suggest doing is staying parked in the recliner for another three hours only to feel exhausted again the next morning

and continue the endless cycle.

If evening doesn’t work for you, scratch it off the list of available times and find a time to get moving that does work. Maybe if you go to bed earlier, you’ll actually be okay getting up early to work out in the morning.

Hit the gym, work out at home or outdoors in the early morning hours.

Alternatively, get up early to go into work early and flex the time to make for a longer lunch hour.

It’s possible that keeping a saner sleep schedule might allow you to make better use of your evening.

A good sleep every night might mean you have the energy to take the dog for a run at 8pm or to do some body weight exercises before relaxing.

On weekends, set a hard and fast schedule rather than let the day’s random social calendar dictate things.

I hope this motivates you a little as I know how hard it can be to get moving.

· Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups. Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypo-presive Method Trainer. She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core. Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1