How to Make Fitness a Lifestyle and Not Just a Routine
I've walked the fine line of working out and healthy living, and working out to lose a few pounds and working out obsessively, that for over a year, I never took a rest day.
Extreme exercise was ever present after having a child. I typically ran 6 days a week, about 28 miles a week. I also included an additional 60-90minutes of strength training on top. Occasionally I'd add a hot yoga session in on days that I didn't strength train. I was the fittest I'd ever been. I had energy that allowed me to play with my daughter and went to work happy that I had exercised. However, on days that I woke up late, or didn't get lots of rest (this happens from time to time as a parent). I found myself grouchy and frustrated, thinking "I have to get a run in." Then 1-2 after a run, I'd be a happier person.
However, I knew this wasn't healthy, in the back of my mind I often put exercising over personal health, I devoted EVERYTHING to making sure that I was able to wake up in the morning an fit into my jeans (which is ironic, because I worked out so much that I usually just stayed in fitness clothes all day).
Eventually, I have come to let it go and be more moderate in my exercise. Instead of size being my motivator, it is more about endurance. Do I have enough endurance to run 3 miles? Am I getting stronger? Can I do the splits? Focusing on cardio, strength, and flexibility, seems to be a better overall achievement when it comes to fitness and healthy living.
I have read several books on myths of exercising, and I'm sure you have seen articles boasting about shorter jogs being better for you than long distance. Sure you will shead more pounds the more you work out, but are you compromising your health as you are doing it?
Here are a few tips on how to focus on staying and keeping fit, while making time for other things.
1. Create a morning routine: I usually wake up, get coffee, read my Bible, and then make time to workout. Occasionally, I will meet up some of my friends for a stroller run, so on those days I have time for cleaning, blogging, or other activities that need my attention in the morning. I enjoy working out in the morning because there are still quiet moments and then I've already exercised and can actually put on those jeans.
2. Make time for other activities in your life: This past Christmas I got a Kindle Fire, and was so excited to be able to read on the fly, without working about a giant book fitting in my purse.
3. Have REST days: REST is just as important as exercising. Not only is it physically healing, but also mentally rewarding. It becomes part of your routine more when you have the availability of have a few days off. If you need to schedule them do so. I operate the fact that I plan to workout everyday, os if something comes up and I'm not able to, then I have a rest day, and something ALWAYS comes up. :)
4. Have fun: Look for activities that are fun. Incorporate some thing new into your routine, whether it is a new workout, location, style of exercise, keeping it new and exciting will help your will power on those difficult mornings.
5. Find a friend to workout with you: As I mentioned I have friends who run with me on occasion. We strap up our kids in the stroller and head off on a 3-5 mile route. It is so much more fun having someone there to keep you entertain as you climb hills or burn those thighs.
6. Self-evaluate: Check in from time to time about how you are feeling while working out. Try to step back and look at the overall picture. Are you spending too much time? Are you not spending enough? Is a part of your life suffering due to this schedule? This helps keep fitness in perspective. and that it is a journey and not a finish line.
I hope you find this helpful. Share in the comments below ways that keep you motivated and in check about your fitness.