This is my first post on my self-hosted blog. As you may have noticed, things look a lot different around here. Well, hang in there. It will soon look (even) better– prettier and easier to use, at least that’s the idea. While I am working on it, I truly appreciate your patience. I am not planning to slow down on my posts!
Now on to the title of this post. Everyone starts the new year with an intention (call it a goal, a plan, a resolution, etc.) to take a better care of their health in the new year. We all know the proverbial “January Gym Syndrome”. It is also not a secret why it is often hard to not fall off the exercise wagon somewhere into early February. I can think if a couple of reasons off the top of my head:
(a) It is the coldest time of the year. All I personally feel like doing is curling up on the sofa with a book, and eating comfort food (no shortage of hearty soup recipes to choose from, including this easy Chicken enchilada soup), (b) Social events and celebrations have not stopped after the New Year’s Day: Superbowl parties and Valentine’s Day make it almost impossible to keep on track, and (c) if you are like me, and had a surgery, and got strict doctor’s orders not to exercise.
Nothing like having something taken away from you to realize how much you need it: I can somewhat deal with the (a) and the (b), but not being able to do any physical activity for 6 weeks at all was, shockingly, was very hard: working out has become my main source of energy and stamina to go through daily business.
I talked before about my exercise routine, and that I am not naturally athletically minded. However, over the last 5 years I apparently formed enough habit, and not having access to regular work outs felt like going through withdrawals (well, not that dramatic, but you get the point). Which is a good thing, in my book. BUT, at the same time, this long break from my daily work outs combined with all the holiday food, made resuming regular exercising “bumpy”. I don’t feel as energetic and productive, even my brain is getting mushy.
But all is not lost, friends! I narrowed down these 3 simple steps to get back to exercising, and so far they have been effective:
1. Start with baby steps. As in, micro steps. I was actually following my surgeon’s orders doing this, and it worked. Do not try to be a hero, do not set any goals. Just go do something easy for a few minutes. I walked with the baby in the stroller for about 20 minutes a day at medium pace.
2. Be consistent. It is crucial to stick to your activity of choice daily (or almost). I know it is hard to find time, but it is not impossible. The goal here is to form a habit, an automatic behavior. Ideally, you’d need to do it around the same time of the day. I went on my stroller walks before lunch, and stopped at the park to let my daughter play before heading back home.
3. Make a mental emphasis on the rewards. Exercising is not punishment for unhealthy eating. You are doing it because it is a great way to take care of your health. For me, work outs are cherished “me time”. I can’t get manicure or massages every day (wouldn’t it be nice?:). But I can squeeze in 15-20 minutes (45 on a good day #tooambitious) of uninterrupted time to focus on my thoughts.
It will most certainly not happen overnight, or even over a few days. But, it will definitely happen, and it will make you feel amazing: ready to deal with that bottomless to-do list.
How do you feel this time of year? Are you going strong (share your secret!), or are you finding yourself parked in front of the TV or computer more often than you wish? What helps you get going every day?