We've been talking all about veganism, mindful eating, health and weight loss in our last few posts, and today we're giving you a practical follow up to our post A New Way of Looking at Exercise, which is one of the most personal posts I've written in the blog so far. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend starting there since it's all about the importance of finding the type of exercise that you can stick to depending on your preferences, life history and especially your first experiences as a child. I also shared what I do every day for exercise, and yes, I exercise every day, no, I don't always feel like it but I've managed to incorporate some habits that always make me get off my booty (which happens to love simply sitting in the couch with its best buddy Netflix).
Today however, we're getting into specifics. I'm sharing very practical tips for really getting into the habit of exercising and moving daily, and if you're a member at Brownble this post complements your new weight loss video series perfectly.
Let me start off by saying that no, it isn't mandatory that you exercise every day. Some people prefer longer workouts fewer times a week, some skip the gym and traditional exercise altogether and simply use the stairs in their office building day in and day out. It is true that we all need to find what works for us since we are absolutely not created equal. However, if you're like most people, you might be running once every two weeks, or you can't even remember the last time you lifted a weight or did an exercise class. Gym memberships go unused, you don't have time for stairs and the closest parking spot is always the chosen one.
Here's how exercising daily changed everything for me and why it might just be that shift in mindset and motivation you're looking for. I've been exercising regularly for years, but it was when I started doing it every day that I discovered something about myself: I AM NOT A START AND STOP PERSON! What does this mean? It means that when I lose momentum I REALLY LOSE IT. It is so hard for me to get back into a routine after I travel, or get back to work in full gear after Christmas, and it was very hard for me to exercise on Thursday, when my last day had been Monday. I needed superwoman willpower to lace up my shoes. I did it, because I love the way I feel after I exercise, but it was a fight with myself. All because momentum seems to be a total driving force for me. It was when I started some form of exercise every day that everything shifted for me.
Let's get right into some tips to help us exercise on a regular basis. and make "active" the new default setting. Remember to always consult with a health care professional before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any type of injuries or health conditions.
TIP #1: Try early morning exercise
You've heard this one before right? Set the alarm early? This was another cosmic joke in my life since I've always said I could never do this! It turned out to be the best tip ever for me because I would always find excuses or be extra tired at the end of the day after work. I now love the feeling of waking up before everyone else in the house and having time for myself to do my workout. I also discovered that I prefer working out on an empty stomach. If on any given day I plan on doing a strong and long workout I have half a banana to fuel me, and then I have breakfast as soon as I'm finished.
Tip #2 Exercise at the same time every day
Even if you try early morning exercise and it's not for you, exercising at the same time every day will give you a fixed routine that you can really get used to, plan and stick to. Once you see the hour is approaching, you can gear up by using our next tip, and you'll be less likely to miss a workout.
Tip #3 Ease into it
Almost every morning, especially in the wintertime, I open my eyes when my early alarm goes off and I have so many conversations with myself saying "stay in bed, you can work out tomorrow". Yup! I'm only human! It's rarely the case when I can just jump out of bed and realize I already have my running shoes on. As I lay there in bed trying to make excuses for myself, Vega and Nala (our dogs) start licking my face, jumping up and down, and force me to get up and take them for a walk. Once I'm outside with them, no matter how sure I was of not exercising that day, I always change my mind and decide to go for it. Why? Beacuse I eased my body into waking up and getting slightly active before I go head on. Walking my dogs is my favorite way of easing into exercise, but if you don't have a dog, just start with a light stroll, or walk to the store to get something you need, or start with a very gentle yoga practice or stretching routine.
Tip #4 Remember why you're doing this
What is your motivation? Why do you want to be active? Are you trying to stay fit or lose weight? Do you want to be an active role model for your kids? Are you battling depression, stress or anxiety and you know this is the perfect natural remedy? For me, it's simply remembering that exercise is my greatest confidence booster and it makes me feel amazing, fit and powerful the rest of the day.
Tip #5 Weights are your friends
I know, because I was one of them, that weight lifting can be scary especially for women. We have so many false beliefs of it bulking us up or raising our weight on the scale. Weight lifting HAS CHANGED my body and it has also helped me with my second favorite husband: running (don't worry Carlos knows about us). Weight lifting made my body so much stronger, which made all the knee and hip pain I would get while running, completely go away. It's so much more than that however, you feel strong and powerful and you can actually see and feel how your body can now do amazing things. It's the greatest confidence booster and it will motivate you to exercise more frequently. Read this post to see what I do for my routines.
Tip #6 Toss the scale
I haven't owned a scale in years. Why? Because unless you are overweight or obese and really need to focus on weighing yourself and getting those high numbers down, you don't need it. Weighing yourself constantly can really affect your emotional and psychological well-being when you don't see the numbers go down (even though you might be experiencing fat loss). A bad number can send you running to the kitchen for comfort, reduce your desire to be active, and what's even weirder is that the same thing happens when you get a good number! You pat yourself on the back and say I earned the ice cream sunday AND a whole weekend on the couch. It can also take you down a road of unhealthy obsessions with weight and dieting. How your clothes fit, or simply looking at your body in the mirror (hello!) and focusing on the way you feel, are much healthier attitudes that will keep you on track.
Tip #7 Find your blissful "day off" workouts
Have some ideas and workouts on hand, that are gentle and that you really enjoy, for days in which your body really needs a break. My favorites are yoga, or a long walk or hike in nature.
Tip #8 Nothing is absolute or perfect
I like to aim for every day, but we're all human and sometimes we just need to go to bed knowing that the next day will be nothing but relaxation. Nothing in our lives should be so strict and absolute that you can't give yourself a break. Take a rest day when you really need one, and really indulge in it.
Tip #9 Head outside
I know how comfortable a treadmill, gym or videos at home are, especially if you live in a place with difficult weather, but being a part of your surroundings and especially when this is done near nature, is just a little gift to the soul.
Tip #10 Above anything else, remember that the number one reason we should exercise is...
... to be HAPPY.
Tell us your story!
Let us know in the comments what you thought about this post, and share with us what some of your challenges have been in relation to exercise. I love hearing your stories!