While it’s true that 80% of your health is what you put in your mouth, you can’t just ignore the exercise part. Not only does exercise keep your muscles tone and your bones strong, it also increases your metabolism, keeps your heart and lungs happy and healthy, and releases endorphins. New research is even showing that exercise helps keep a healthy balance of gut bacteria! Bonus 🙂
So how can you get in a good flow? Well, I’m not an expert, but after years of struggling with this exact topic, I think I finally hit my groove. Maybe some of the things that have helped me get moving will help you along too.
- Find something you actually enjoy doing.
- Find something that is NOT terribly time consuming if you find your busy schedule is your biggest obstacle.
- Find a buddy to do it with. This can’t be someone you will always be dragging around. It has to be someone as motivated as you for this to work.
- Do it right! What I mean is, don’t start off at some ridiculously high level. You might injure yourself for one thing. But even if you don’t, if it’s too strenuous, you’re less likely to return to that activity. Little things done consistently yield results. Crazy intense work outs you only do once a month or once a year do not.
- If you’re broke, find something free, or at least really cheap. Guess what….every basic exercise is free and can be done anywhere! You can even find some great videos on youtube!
- Keep it simple. If you already work out and need a personal trainer or some crazy program to up your game, that’s awesome. But if you’re just starting to work out, YOU DON’T NEED THAT. Do some squats, some push ups, and some jumping jacks for 20 minutes. That alone, done consistently, will yield results. You can get fancy once you’ve established the habit of JUST MOVING YOUR BOOTY!
Let me share with you my little journey that I’ve recently made initiating these exact things. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing, but in hind site, the above steps are EXACTLY what I did to get my habits established.
For starters, I actually enjoy exercise, sort of. But getting in a flow has always been a challenge for me. I like to work out, but then life happens and I don’t make it a priority. It seems there is always something “more important” for me to do then exercise. Which is just poor prioritization on my part. If I don’t get my act together now at the age of 34, when will I? And I want to show my children that fitness is important.
My other excuse is money. I don’t always have the money to shell out for yoga, which is my favorite. And I hate doing yoga at home. I cannot zone out like I can at the studio. And the studio is expensive. I do have a gym membership, and I actually love lifting weights (Which is weird, because I lift toddler size weights). But going to the gym takes extra time because I have to drive there. Not having enough time is probably my number 1 excuse! And I hate tapes you do at home and I hate treadmills. So crap, what’s left?
Well, I do love being outside. And since it’s nice out here in Michigan, I decided, for the 3rd year in a row, that I was going to be a runner. By the way, the previous 2 years, I ran for about 1 week and quit. My knees always hurt and I figure, “oh well, runnings not that good for you anyways. It’s obviously too hard on my joints”.
This year I downloaded the couch to 5 K app. I think this is great if you have OCD like me! Here’s the thing, I have to see things through to completion. For instance, if I get started on a really great book, good bye world. My husband was ready to leave me when I found Twilight. One book finished, gotta run right out at midnight and buy book 2. Seriously, I’m a total freak. TV? Not a huge fan. So, I canceled our dish subscription because I was annoyed with how much TV the kids and the hubby watched. Guess what happened…..I started watching more TV! How does that happen? Well, we got Hulu and Netflix instead. What can you do with these programs? Binge watch. Now I go from watching football games and an occasional home renovation show to watching 7 seasons of True Blood in a month and having a Ted Talk on at all times. Terrible! But I MUST COMPLETE THINGS!
The point is, this app is kind of like that! Each week you are suppose to run 3 times. You start off alternating walking with 1 minute intervals of jogging. Each week the time you spend jogging gets longer and longer. Because there is progress each week, and I MUST get to week 9 as quickly as I can, because of my freakish temperament, I actually have to make myself take rest days. Because I want to run each day! (But I know my muscles need to recover)
It also helped that as soon as my knees started bothering me, I went and bought some stupid expensive shoes that I love. It’s like jogging on clouds and my knees are way better. My friend from work is also using the app, so when we work the same shift, we stay after and run together. (Because our hospital was built on a beautiful swamp and has really nice trails). I would never work out after 13 hours in the ER!!! NEVER! But, when you already have your clothes and you can’t let your friend down, you just do it.
The app also keeps me in check. It prevents you from over doing it, because the little lady tells you when to jog and when to walk. I was still running too fast at first, but once I figured out that was part of my knee problem and slowed it down, all was well. When I was running on my own in years past, I was running for way to long.
So what about my days off from running? Well, I have quit with the squats for now. Which makes me sad, (because nobody raps about little butts, you have to do squats! I even have a t-shirt that says so) but I’m terrified of wrecking my knees and not being able to continue running. But, push ups are fun and easy and can happen anywhere. And again, they are FREE. Much like running 🙂
So, I started off with getting a bunch of co-workers to do push ups each hour when we were working. I figure they are probably the #1 quick exercise to give you the most benefit. After all, they don’t just work your arms, but they work your pecs (hello perky boobs), and your core. So runnings taking care of my heart and my lower half, push ups can take care of the top half. And then it was like the Lord just dropped another program right out of the sky for me to obsess over!
I just happened upon a website called 100 push up challenge. See challenge here. You start off by “testing” how many push ups you can do with good form. That dictates where you start in the challenge. 3 days a week you do push ups according to this chart. The idea is that by week 7 you can do 100 push ups consecutively.
Will I be able to do that many push ups by week 7? Who knows. I’ll keep you posted. But who cares, because now I have another structured and progressive physical activity to focus on for the next 7 weeks. And what’s even better? I have my oldest son Ethan, and 8 ladies I know are doing it with me! Misery loves company. Haha. Just kidding. But everything is better with friends right? So we just made a little Facebook group chat where we can cheer each other on each day. We’re not all in the same starting point, or even doing our push ups on the same days. But we’re all making progress, and that’s what it’s all about!
The moral of the story is this, I do not have some long, elaborate, or expensive workout routine. But I’m moving a little each day. It’s slow and consistent progress. I am dragging some friends along with me. And I am using free, yet well structured guides to motivate me. And in my opinion, that’s really all you need. By the way, if jogging isn’t your cup of tea, I’m sure there are fun and free apps just like this for other activities.
I hope this very long winded explanation of how I got myself into a fitness routine is of some use to you. I am not a personal trainer so please don’t take my advice as anything more than a concerned citizen trying to help another fellow fitness seeker along their path 🙂