As a dietitian I hear about excuses all the time, and usually I have a quick comeback for them. But when it comes to myself, I find it a bit harder to give myself recommendations. These past few weeks have been hard as far as physical activity goes. I ran my very first half marathon in April and have since taken a little break, but boy do I feel it. I hit snooze in the morning way too many times and my energy levels are screaming for me to stop. Yes I get an extra hour of sleep in the morning, but then I miss my morning classes at the YMCA. I try to justify it by telling myself that I’ll do weights at the house prior to work, but it’s never as challenging as my classes at the YMCA. This morning I FINALLY got up on time, had the world’s best cup of coffee, and drug my lazy butt to class and I felt awesome because of it! My legs are sore, but it’s the good kind of sore. I’m walking a little funny today, but hey…it was leg day. If I can find a way to get out of bed in the morning so can you. Figure out what motivates you in the morning. For me, it’s the calm before the storm; the few minutes of silence before the kids wake up and the craziness begins. I was deleting massive amounts of emails today and came across an article from motiontrax today titled “Fitness Hack: 4 time savers that will help you fit fitness in”. Well hello article, where have you been the past two weeks. The author states that lack of time, motivation, knowledge and money are the key things that prevent people from being physical active. As I read the article I compared it to both my situation and also my husband’s.
First-lack of time. Who has enough time? There are never enough hours in the day. My day (on a good day): wake up @ 5am, drink coffee, leave house by 5:30 to make it to the gym class by 5:45. Leave gym at 6:30, head home, let the dogs out and feed them, wake the boys up, shower, wake the hubby up, and then get everybody fed and lunches made. Leave for work @ 8, work a few hours, run at the gym during lunch, work a few more hours, go home, pick up the kids, take them to sports, and get a small break while I watch them practice. Head home, cook dinner, get the boys bathed, and get into bed by 10pm. I’m fortunate enough that I can eat at my desk so that I can fit in a workout during lunch, but not all people are able to do that. Let’s look at the hubby’s schedule: Wake up at 7, shower, iron clothes, get dressed, and leave the house at 7:30 to take the youngest to daycare. Get to work at 8, eat lunch, work, go to class after work, go home at 9pm, eat and go to bed by 10. Hmmm…he has time to work out during lunch or wake up earlier to get a workout in. Maybe one of these days he’ll do that, but until then I’ll keep making caring suggestions on how he should/could work out with me.
Second-motivation. I am extremely motivated because I have to remain within a certain weight range to stay in the military, but I also like exercising and the endorphins that are released due to exercise. It makes me feel AWESOME, and I love it!. I will probably never have a six-pack or thin legs but I’m ok with that. My belly supports my cup of coffee in the morning and is actually acting a a prop for the laptop right now! My legs ran a half-marathon last month so who cares if they’re a little flabby and not very toned. My motivators aren’t for aesthetics, but based on the way I feel post exercise and because I kind of have to for my job. Ehhh, it’s still motivation. The hubby on the other hand…we’re still working on his motivation, but it surely isn’t for the reasons I listed above. I’ll have to post later about his YMCA adventures.
Third-knowledge. This particular issue shouldn’t even be an issue with the plethora of information floating around about different exercises. Almost anything can be considered as exercise. The walk across the parking lot to get into work…yep! Walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator…yep! Chasing your kiddos around the yard or house…yep! If it gets your heart rate up and gets your body moving it counts. Some exercises are better than others, but anything that gets you moving to begin with is a great first step. If you have never done any sort of exercise before start out with walking. If you’ve already mastered that, try speed walking and adding light weights into your routine. The general recommendation is 150 minutes of week of moderately intense physical activity (cardio) with two strength training (weights or body weight) sessions per week. Some simple strength training exercises that I like to do are pushups, squats, lunges, and planks. You don’t need any equipment and can basically do them wherever you please. You don’t have to hire a trainer (although one might be helpful to ensure you aren’t injuring yourself and you’re doing exercises correctly). I choose to go to the gym for classes because I’m not very creative, but when I don’t go I stick to the basic strength training exercises at home, run, swim, or bike. It’s fun and I like it. The hubby…he knows what to do, but he’s still stuck at number two.
Fourth-money. Man, that’s another one that we may feel like we’ll never have enough of. But if you think about the example above, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on exercise equipment. If you’re running, walking, or going to the gym ensure you have good shoes that will support you during your activities. If you’re swimming, you might need a bathing suit (or not depending on where you’re swimming). But the key thing is…you can fit fitness in anywhere. Are your kids playing soccer? Walk or run around the field while they’re practicing. You can still watch them and fit in a workout at the same time? Do you have to watch a TV program every week? Make it your workout time…whether your activities occur throughout the whole show, or just during the commercials; it is better than nothing at all. You don’t have to have a gym membership to get active. I make sure I budget for our gym membership, but I know when we move again (we’re military so it’s in our near future) I may not have that luxury for a while. It will be back to basics until we can budget for it again.
I’m sure there are plenty of other excuses that prevent folks from performing physical activity, but let me know what they are and I’ll give you an alternative. There are plenty of resources to assist you on your healthy journey.