How To Get Back Into Working Out
I'm a big believer in our bodies knowing what's best for us. I've never been strict on diet but I tend to be mindful with eating. I try to listen to what I need and give my cravings the benefit of the doubt. I like to think that when I'm wanting cheese, I'm low on calcium or if I'm wanting something bread-y, it's that I need an energy boost. Equally, I'll try to eat slowly and pass on dessert if I'm feeling full or satisfied. Typically this helps me to be done when I'm done but lets me avoid depriving myself.
I don't tend to be as good at listening to my body when it comes to exercise. I've literally felt tingling in my legs for the last six months as if they are yelling me that it's time to go and that I've milked the new mother card for long enough. And, I've ignored them legs. In the last two months I started getting an ache in my left foot that has since been pegged as tendon damage purely from a combination of weakness and excessive use from carrying my 25 lb., 15 month old arm weight around.
Now that my body is lashing out at me in ways that I can't ignore and maybe because there is a Bandier sample sale around the corner and I need an excuse to go, I've set up a plan to get myself out of the fitness rut. Here's what I'm thinking based on a bit of reading and what's feasible while at home with a toddler:
1. One week of ritual stretching
This is all about beginning a habit with something less intimidating (and in my world view, less annoying) than a full fledged workout. Stretching is something that gives me time to decompress, get in touch with areas of my body that are sore and stiff and transitions me smoothly into this part of wellness. Here's a 101 on stretching so you can get the most impact out of it.
2. Start slow (I have no problem with this)
Sans a child and plus a salary, I was one to jump right into a full 10 week package at a barre studio but realistically I don't have the time or expendable income for it and if it doesn't go well, it will be a sure way to end this whole effort. So instead, I'm going to start with the tried and tested walking uphill on a treadmill or elliptical for 20 minutes, four times a week. It's a slight step up from stretching but again for any of us who have taken an extended break from fitness after children, it's just about solidifying the habit.
3. Find what works
I hear it takes 14 days to create a habit and about 3 to break it. So, after two weeks of doing some combination of stretching and light exercise to get into a mode of prioritizing moving my body, I'm going to try out a combination of these two work outs that I can do at home during nap time. Fit Star for a quick, intense mix of cardio and strength that you can do anywhere with your mobile and Yoga with Adriene on YouTube which was recommended in one of our Another Mother, Her Way series. Here's a good list of other at-home workouts.
4. Use a sticker chart
Remember Emma Chastain, the mother and author of by the way my favorite recent read? She suggested this simple trick that kept her on track for writing not one but two books while at home with two children. Her trick was committing to progress and holding herself accountable publicly and visually. Dan and I both want to commit to four days of working out so I'm doing these monthly calendar print outs for our bathroom wall so we can hold each other to it.
Is making time for exercise something that comes naturally for you? How do you stay on track? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments! xo