Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exercise Thoughts

When it comes to exercise, I think the key is to be consistent. But there are so many things that can derail your exercise routine (time, energy level, boredom…). I find it helpful to reflect on my exercise routine once in a while, and here are my current thoughts:

  • Do what you love (most of the time).I truly believe you’ll only stick with something if you truly enjoy it. I love to hike, and I really look forward to my hikes. However, I probably wouldn’t lift enough weights or do any HIIT if it were all up to me. That’s where the “most of the time” part comes into play.
  • Plan your weekly workouts.This is key for me. My workouts are much better when I plan them at the beginning of the week. Right now, I plan them on my Facebook page. Do I always stick to the plan? No. But I more or less accomplish everything on the list (just not always on the planned day, and I sometimes substitute different workouts.)
  • Lift weights.The older I get, the more important this gets. I can really see and feel the difference when I don’t lift as much for a while. However, I tend to get really bored with weight workouts really easily. The key is to mix things up. I put together different weight workouts that I alternate at the gym and also like to do circuit-type workout DVDs at home (Right now, I really like Jackie Warner’s Circuit Training and Timesaver Workouts). But sometimes I feel I just can’t lift one more weight. Then I take a week or two off from lifting weights. That always does the trick, and I enjoy my weight workouts again after a little break. Right now, I think I am a bit sick of the gym and will do Jackie’s DVDs again.
  • Pay attention to balance and flexibility. – This is another area that is becoming more and more important the older I get. Yoga and barre workouts are really helping with balance and flexibility.
  • Get outside your comfort zone. - I do this by trying new classes. A great way to try new forms of exercise are Groupons and similar sites. But honestly, it’s been a while since I tried something truly new. It’s about time to get adventurous again!
  • Move more throughout the day. – By being mindful of moving as much as possible throughout the day, you can really increase your overall activity level. This can mean parking further away, taking the stairs, getting up to talk to a coworker instead of sending an email, etc. I also really like “mini exercise bursts” (especially when I’m grading a big stack of papers). For example, I’ll do 50 jumping jacks, 10 push ups, 25 squats, and 50 crunches. If time permits, I’ll repeat the exercises once or twice more.
  • Rest enough. – I used to not be very good about this point. About a year ago, I hardly ever took a day off from exercising, and it wasn’t healthy (and I wasn’t healthy). While I truly believe in taking rest days, I also know that I need to move a fair amount every day, or I just don’t feel right. So I’ll still go for a walk and/or do a short yoga routine on my rest days. 
Questions: What are your exercise thoughts? Do you plan your workouts at the beginning of the week? If not, do you think planning them might be helpful? What was your last workout?
Be well,