Health & Fitness, Get your fitness back

Gently return to sport with the Kaizen method

Do you want to get back into sport smoothly and make sure you keep your motivation? The principle of the Kaizen method is to achieve ambitious goals with minimal effort, something that is achievable day after day. Go from a minute to an hour of exercise with confidence and achieve lasting results by making progress step by step.

The Kaizen method to start sport smoothly

Developed in the 1950s by Masaaki Imai, a consultant and specialist in quality management, the Kaizen method is based on a continuous improvement process. First used in the corporate world, mainly to improve the quality of production methods, it has been adopted in all fields related to personal development because of its simplicity and efficiency.

The principle of the Kaizen method

Derived from the two Japanese words “kai” (change) and “zen” (better), the Kaizen method consists of the careful implementation of simple actions, which do not require a lot of effort or resources, and to think about how to improve said actions day by day. To be concrete about it, the method can be summed up in one sentence: “Today is better than yesterday, tomorrow better than today”.

Adopt the Kaizen method to get back into sport

Adapted to the field of sport, the Kaizen method is ideal for the resumption of physical activity without allowing yourself to lose motivation. By putting yourself in the Kaizen state of mind before each training session, you will simply ask yourself the question “What am I capable of today?” As a result, you will progress slowly but surely without even realising it.

To begin with, set yourself on an almost effortless and achievable goal. For example, perform a yoga pose, practise a minute of dancing in your living room, or even take a minute to do some skipping or another straightforward core exercise. However limited it may be, this small act will open the doors to much more important outcomes.

Get back into sport by making progress in stages

With the Kaizen method, you will not aim for perfection, but you will initiate small changes in your daily life, such as:

  • A preference for cycling or walking to the car travel.
  • Opting for the stairs instead of the lift when going to work.
  • Leaving the underground one stop before your usual station.
  • Getting up from your desk to go and take a break a little more often.
  • Going out for a short walk as soon as you get the chance.
  • Adding one minute to your workout each day.
  • Etc. 

Taken together, these small acts will help you make progress and, therefore, your physical activity will slowly begin to create a place for itself in your daily routine. All you have to do is set yourself a new goal that’s barely more ambitious than the day before with each new day. Your new mantra will become ‘A little is always better than nothing’.

Kaizen method: take stock regularly to better move forward

The Kaizen method centres on a permanent state of reflection that focusses on the progress you have made and what can still be improved. The idea is to gradually remove any obstacles that you may encounter and to find pragmatic solutions that work around anything that slows your progress.

Find simple yet permanent solutions

Daily improvements may relate to the length of your sessions or the frequency of training, but they can also take the form of small changes that will make it easier for you to get back into sport. For example, they might be:

  • Setting up a training schedule that is directly noted in your diary, just like your professional appointments. 
  • Installing a mirror in your home gym or filming your sessions to make sure you adopt the right postures during exercise. 
  • Equipping yourself with small, wearable devices – such as a pedometer, a smart fitness gadget or a heart rate monitor – to improve your performance monitoring and to help break your sessions up. 
  • Keeping a log of your sessions to keep a note of your strengths and the points you want to work on, something that will then help you to look for approaches that will improve your performance. 

With the Kaizen Method, each day gives you the opportunity to be better than the last.

Take the time to appreciate the progress you have made

Checking in regularly will also allow you to realise how far you have come. Gradually, you went from a mere minute of sport a day to the 30 minutes you wanted to achieve at the start – all of this without having felt like you were forcing yourself or having upset your routine. The Kaizen method is ideal for overcoming the fear of change because it never forces us to do more than what we are ready to achieve each day.

Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.