Hi everyone! In these weeks in which several days pass between one post and the next I really miss hanging out with you! Blame it on work and the endless things that are usually keeping us busy. Today it’s a beautiful gray and rainy Sunday and I get to cuddle up next to Nala and see what you’re up to.
In busy weeks like the ones I’ve been having lately, the subject of postponing exercise comes up again and again. Sound familiar? Because exercise seems like such a strenuous activity, we put it on the back burner thinking we need to save up our energy stores for our busy schedules. Here’s the thing, we’ve got it all wrong! Nothing improves mood, energy levels, enthusiasm and the feeling we can take on whatever the world sends our way as much as keeping an active lifestyle, especially though daily exercise. That’s right, you heard me correctly, we need to be exercising daily!
Here’s where another little enemy of ours rears its ugly head, let’s welcome “Mr. All or Nothing Mentality”! You know who I’m talking about, the one that every Sunday after a big slice of chocolate cake appears and says “must run 5 miles tomorrow and every day after”. So what tends to happen “tomorrow”? You might find yourself running 5 miles and never doing it again, you might run 2 and not only give up, but put yourself down in the process. Some of you might not be able to even face the 5 miles. We’ve developed this idea that we need to go all out or go home and it’s gotten us into plenty of trouble.
It’s this little enemy of ours that keeps making us fall off the wagon when we attempt to diet, it’s what keeps us from making prolonged healthier choices, it’s what keeps us from volunteering, it’s what makes us burn out at work, it’s what makes us feel frustrated with the people we love, and it’s the only real thing standing between you and the actual changing of habits.
What if we started to change this way of thinking by making doable promises to ourselves, by keeping it manageable and then taking it from there. When you treat yourself with kindness and respect your limitations, that’s when change starts happening. I know some people can run those daily 5 miles, my own father in law runs a 10K every morning and approximately a half marathon every Sunday! Some people can get up at 5 in the morning and swim for an hour, and some can spend 4 hours at the gym and keep it up for good. Here’s the thing, all our molds were broken when our mammas made us! We’re all different, especially regarding our internal makeup, the way we face challenges and the way we want to live our lives. Note that I’m not talking about our busy schedules, these are excuses that serve us nothing, and it’s because we think that unless we can run like a tornado’s chasing us, it’s best to finish that load of laundry and face the gym tomorrow. I’m sorry, but after today, that way of thinking needs to go out the window, I’m sharing a few of my favorite resources for staying active and healthy, no excuses, but no tears either.
This little gem of a website offers everything from yoga classes, to weight and cardio classes, as well as great healthy cooking videos (including vegan ones)! You can pick from your favorite style of yoga and do a lengthy practice with a full class, or even take 10 to 20 minute classes if that’s all you’ve got. No money for a gym membership, exercise class or yoga school? These babies are free and you can do them at home while your pot of beans is cooking on the stove, or really early in the morning before the hustle and bustle begins.
App it up!
Last week, thanks to the free app of the day, we discovered the 7-minute workout – High Intensity Training app by Lolo. I must say that after trying many strength training apps for doing a little weight lifting after my runs or walks, this is one of my favorites! It lets you customize a 7 minute weight lifting routine depending on the equipment you have at home (which can go from a simple chair to more advanced equipment. The app changes your routine daily so that you mix it up, and you can manually change one or more of the exercises you have programmed on that day, in case you have an injury or don’t have your weights on hand, or if you’re simply not up to doing push ups on that day and that’s the exercise that’s going to make you avoid exercising (you know what I’m talking about!). I also love that you can preview each of the exercises for a few seconds to ensure proper form, and you can even make a playlist in the app itself! I’m not even going to get into the 7 minute issue, EVERYONE has 7 minutes. I love using it as a brief weight lifting routine after my run or walk, but if I’m pressed for time, you bet I’ll at least rock it our for 7 minutes.
Any Hulu users out there?
If you’re a Hulu user, you really have a buffet of options. From my favorite series from Alan Finger “Yoga Zone”, to Colleen Saidman’s quick yoga classes, to endless options for weight lifting, pilates, dancing and so much more. All you have to do is type in the type of exercise you want in the Hulu search field, or search through the exercise category and you’ll have so many options you can do at home.
My beautiful sister in law is my go to girl for anything new I’m thinking of trying out or want to do myself. Her answer is always, look for it on youtube and you’ll find out how to do it! Exercise is no exception, especially when it comes to searching for a yoga class or other exercise classes like pilates. You can find almost any type of class on youtube, including my favorite short yoga classes for beginners, the Alan Finger series Yoga Zone.
Down to Earth moving
Running and walking are activities you can do for free and that have incredible benefits. You all know the advantages of doing cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis by now, it lowers your blood pressure, raises those awesome brain chemicals that make us feel good, helps fight depression and anxiety, helps us maintain a healthy weight, and so much more. Those of us who run, walk or both, know that it’s also the best way to connect with yourself, feel the ground beneath you, work out the issues that are troubling you, or on the other side of the spectrum, give you a blank state of mind as you focus on putting one foot in front of the other. There are no excuses here, running or walking is free. Here’s where we get caught up in the running trap, if we’ve set a goal of 4K a day, and one day we’re seriously tired, or it looks like it’s going to rain, or you’re pressed for time, instead of saying “ok, I’ll run for 2K…”, we all say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that 2K is better than noK. Do what you can, and a desire to go further will follow once you’re enjoying the ride. If it doesn’t, give yourself a pat on the back for doing something, and keep it up.
Jam it out
When I was little, my mom would put on a record and we would ‘crazy dance’. If all you have time for is one tune, go for it! Just the smile on your face afterwards is going to lift you up for the rest of the day. The Beatles are great for this, but if you want to go really nutty on “the dance floor” play The Fratellis and start sweating!
Find what you love
For some of us it’s yoga, running or hiking, for you it might be boxing, spinning, walking in the woods with your dog, chasing your kids around a park, some of you might love being in the water, others might prefer a group sport rather than simply exercising on your own. Some might discover they love riding their bikes everywhere. Take a little time thinking about what activities put a smile on your face, and experiment with those. Habits stay put when you’re enjoying them!
The truth is that we all have time for being active, and if we don’t, we need to make time. You don’t have to become an Olympic athlete, just start moving, every day. Forget about what others can do, find what works for you and start there. We need to start moving every single day, no exceptions. Stop saying you’ll start tomorrow because tomorrow you’ll be able to do more than today. Do whatever you can today and then rock it out tomorrow as promised. Coming from a household where illness was another family member, trust me, when it comes to being sick, you don’t want to feel better tomorrow, you want to feel better now. So start getting healthy and active now, and do it in a way that makes you smile.
TOP PHOTO CREDIT
The photo of the male hiker at the very top of this post was taken by Robyn Lee, and is shared through Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Dervs. 2.0 Generic.