Falling Off the Saddle: Fitness Edition
It's time to get back in the habit of exercising again.. .but just how do you do that?
Hello out there! Remember me?
If you barely do, I can’t blame you. With everything coming at all of us - especially these days - life can be downright dizzying, disorienting, and deafening.
So, thanks for hanging in there and returning to read thePause. I am so glad to ‘see’ you here!
What accounts for my absence is nothing different than what happens to all of us from time to time: We get busy…overwhelmed…everything seems to need our attention, yet sometimes we have to choose which things get put on the back burner. Obligations can be overwhelming; schedules over-stuffed.
We swear up and down that “I’ll do it tomorrow” but tomorrow never seems to slow down nor stand still long enough.
My short break turned into a very long break.I’ve neglected this newsletter, which I’ve been writing religiously since 2020, when I launched it during the early days of COVID.
Falling off the proverbial saddle is not limited to writing We fall off in so many other areas of our lives - diet, exercise, relationships, staying organized, paying bills, cleaning the house (add yours here).
And once we do, it can feel so difficult and overwhelming - impossible, really, to get back on. It feels like standing outside a challenging jump rope game like Double Dutch and watching, dumbfounded, unsure of exactly when to join in. The timing has to be precise…or if it’s not, you need to just take a deep breath and JUMP.
So here I am, with the hope of sticking to my every-other-Tuesday publication schedule.
With Thanksgiving behind us and more holidays on the horizon, you may have also let some things go. One of the most common? Exercise.
Fitness is often the first thing to go. No time. No energy. No motivation. (Note: If you’re anxious about not working out, remember this: exercise is a great way to reduce feelings of anxiety!)
Here’s how to rise above those hurdles so you can get back to your workouts after a break:
Set a schedule. What, another thing on your list? Sorry, but yes. Because if you don’t schedule a day and time for your workout, it gets pushed to the back of your list (or off your list, altogether). Some people think you must work out in the mornings, or at a particular time of day to get the most benefits. There is no “perfect” time to work out other than the time that works for you.
Begin gradually. If you jump right into where you left off, you could get injured or discouraged when you can’t keep up. Start at a pace that is comfortable for where you are now - and gradually increase the duration, frequency and intensity as your body adjusts.
Nix the negative self-talk. Don’t be hard on yourself (Replace “I’m not fit enough to do this again” with “I’ll get back to where I was; the more I do it, the easier it will become.”)
Remember your form. It’s the key to getting the most out of every exercise, and without proper form, injuries are more likely to happen. Muscle memory builds from doing an exercise correctly - and repeatedly.
Add variety and stretching. Switching between different activities can help keep boredom at bay. (Gardening, dancing, and a walk with a friend all contribute to your health and fitness.) Stretching will help keep your flexibility and range of motion at their best.
Try “just five minutes.” Sometimes 20, or 30, feels impossible. Tell yourself you’ll give it five minutes and see how you feel. If you’re truly exhausted, then abandon your plans. But chances are after the first five minutes, you’ll be warmed up and you’ll want to keep going.
Remind yourself of the benefits. This one works really well for me. I tell myself how important exercise is for my bones, my muscles, my mood, my overall health, and how good I always feel once I’m finished.
Think outside the box. Remember that lots of things will benefit your fitness; try to incorporate them during your normal days. Pace during phone calls; do some squats and counter pushups while you’re in the kitchen cooking; walk up and down the stairs; do jumping jacks or lunges while you watch tv; stand on one leg while you’re brushing your teeth.
Rest up. You may be tempted to go all-out, now that you’re back at it. But your body needs recovery time to avoid overuse injuries (like tendonitis, for example).
If you like what you’re reading, please share!
(It may not qualify as exercise, but you’ll make me happy!)
Things I like; things I covet…
Speaking of being kind to yourself, it’s always the right time to treat yourself to a relaxing candle, like this lavender-scented one.
If you’re prone to procrastination (really, who is not?), this calendar, or one like it, might keep you in check.
There’s something about elephants that make them a natural planter, don’t you think?
I have this thing for spoons, and these look elegant and nice to hold.