MOVE IT, MOVE IT!
A huge part of making health a priority this year involved exercise. I have always been a person who loved being active and never was one to shy away from vigorous exercise or sport. But I had gotten away from it, and it showed. I felt and looked tired. So, I knew what I had to do. I had to work in opportunities to my move my butt, plain and simple.
So how did I do it? I workout in my garage before or after work. I fit in runs after everyone else in my house is in their pajamas snuggling in bed. I also joined an indoor soccer league which is a source of fun and camaraderie, not to mention a good motivation for me to stay in shape. My wife and I signed up for a half-marathon in December as a fun goal. (This will be our third one as a couple.) Oftentimes, this means training while pushing three kids in a jogging stroller!
But I am human. There are times when I try to talk myself out of working out. If I don’t have enough time to complete an entire run or gym work out, I find myself saying I’d rather not do anything at all. There are a hundred excuses in the book. It’s too cold/hot, early/late or just plain old fatigue from modern life. Those early morning workouts can be hard to face. We are starting out cold. Maybe you start but don’t want to continue the workout. You’re not feeling it. But trust me, give it 5-10 minutes. Moving your body and getting the blood flowing will fill you with the energy to continue. And the post-exercise euphoria state can last more than 2 hours after you have completed your workout. This has been found for a variety of workout intensities. (Basso, 2017)
I have to remember that working out at any point in my day is better than doing nothing.
Can’t fit in a full daily workout? Knock out a few sets of body weight exercises. No equipment needed, which means little to no time setting up or cleaning up.
Don’t have the time for a long-distance run? Instead of running that 10 miler, run 5 or 1. Just get out there and scale your workout to the time you do have. If you have a trampoline or rebounder, even 5 or 10 minutes of jumping is a good way to get the heart rate up and it's also a way to move lymph, which is great for overall health and immunity.
Have to get some house cleaning in today? Put on some music that pumps you up and move that body while you are vacuuming or dusting. It will boost your mood and happiness is contagious. If you have kids, involve them. Making it fun will increase the odds that you will exercise longer and that you will do it again.
Don’t have the time or money to join an exercise class at a gym? YouTube is your friend. My wife has discovered a fun and challenging channel called @growwithjo. Her videos range from 11 minutes to over an hour and you can find one for every mood, music, vibe, and fitness goal there is. Here are just a few titles: 20-min Morning Tabata, 30-min Mood Boost, Bruno Mars Dance Workout, Gospel Dance Party Workout, 12-min Country Dance Workout, PCOS-Friendly Beginners Workout, and Encanto Dance Workout (1.8 million views and counting)!
Remember the goal is just to move your body more. We are aiming for 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day; vigorous meaning you break a sweat and are not easily able to carry on a conversation. An Apple watch, Garmin or other fitness tracker can help you stay accountable. And it feels good to see the digital proof of all the hard work you’re doing!
There has never been a better time to get moving. We can prevent the gradual decline in functionality and risk of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease that comes with a sedentary lifestyle. And we could all use that boost of happy chemicals (dopamine, oxytocin, seratonin, endorphins) in our brains that comes with moving. What's your favorite way to get in some exercise? I can always use some more fun ideas.
Come back for Part 3 when I talk about the most important ingredient of this whole enchilada- getting your mind to work for you, not against you.
If you could use some support on your health and wellness journey, reach out to me to discuss options. Keep moving forward!
Basso JC, Suzuki WA. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain Plast. 2017 Mar 28;2(2):127-152. doi: 10.3233/BPL-160040. PMID: 29765853; PMCID: PMC5928534.