Let me premise this by saying that I am not an exercise expert by any means. I am, however, someone who realizes the importance of being active. I have tried countless exercise plans and always find difficulty with following them. I will start off loving the regimen, but then will dread it a few days in. I will tell myself that “I don’t feel like it” and then I will end up not doing any exercise at all. So, recently, I learned that I need to just listen to my body and do what feels good to me that day. If you find yourself in an exercising slump, keep on reading.
- Use your surroundings: One of my favorite new exercises only needs a staircase. I put one foot up on the second step and my hands on the stairs where comfortable. Then I switch my feet (right on stairs and left on floor – left on stairs and right on floor). I will do this as fast as I can for as long as I can. It’s kind of like mountain-climbers, stair-climbers, and jogging all-in-one. Also, we have a metal bar in an open doorway (I’m not entirely sure what the intended purpose is, but it’s super sturdy) that I will attempt pull-ups on and do abdominal exercises with. You could also do “chair steps” by placing a sturdy chair against a wall and stepping up and then back down continually. There are so many opportunities for exercising while using your surroundings!
- Cater to your time: When figuring out what you will do for exercise, you first will need to figure out how much time you have. If you only have ten minutes, you might not want to commit yourself to running three miles. You don’t need a ton of time to get active. Little bits of exercise at a time adds up if you are persistent. Even if you just have enough time to do fifty sit-ups now and a mile on the treadmill later, it is better than nothing!
- Every little bit helps: Don’t have an “all or nothing” mentality. That’s something that I have learned to overcome. I always felt that if I couldn’t do a complete exercise routine, then what’s that point? A few months ago, before I started having some health issues, I was practicing handstands every day. That alone helped with my ab definition and that’s when I realized that the little things really do help. No matter how fun they may be.
- Take it easy: Don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s been really difficult for me to start exercising again. I used to run at least three miles a day and use weight machines regularly. That was about four years ago. Now, running one mile is a maximum for me. Ten pound weights are comfortable. At first, I was mad at myself. I thought, “how could I let myself go” so badly? I hated the idea of exercising because I couldn’t accomplish what I used to. But then I realized that it was a process before too. I started off with one mile and worked my way up. I eventually cut my mile time down by over four minutes. But it was all a process. And it will be process to get back to where I was. So I am taking a deep breath and giving myself grace because life is a learning process and it’s not always up-hill.
- Listen to your body: Some days I feel like doing ab workouts and walking/hiking outside. Sometimes I feel like running and/or jump roping. Other times, I feel like just relaxing and letting my body rest and that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot about my body over the past year. When I am frustrated or angry, I feel the urge to run. It’s almost like a craving. It’s my way of releasing tension and being able to relax. Find your release and figure out how your body communicates with you.
- Love yourself through the process: Don’t wait until you hit your goal to love your body. Because once you hit that goal, there will always be another one. Learn to love yourself and your body now. “Flaws” and all. Your body is beautiful and this process is about feeling your best. This is your first step.
Exercise and fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Find what works for you and what your body needs.