Muscles are Made for Moving
Finding ways to get up and get moving is essential for optimum health, and after I struggled for years to find motivation and consistency, here are my best tips.
For years I struggled finding a way to stay consistently active. I tried different activities at different times - softball, basketball, yoga, running, dancing, home workouts, gym workouts, martial arts, etc.. I would stick with it for awhile, then sooner or later would lose motivation, interest, ability to maintain the schedule, [insert stock excuse to not keep working out here]...and would take six months or a year to find something else to try. Once I got into my thirties, the lack of consistent activity started to catch up with me, and I soon found myself with debilitating back pain. Muscles were made to move. The amount of time that many of us spend not moving in today's society - sitting at a desk, sitting in the car, sitting in front of the TV - does a huge disservice to the health of our muscles, and most people end up paying dearly for that, sooner or later. Massage is a wonderful way to help take care of ourselves, but regardless of whether or not you get massages, if you are not getting up and moving, you are missing out on the number one most beneficial way to keep your muscles in the healthiest condition possible. Everyone has a different level of comfort and ability, but most people can find a way to get moving that will work for them. There are a number of excuses we can easily fall back on to not exercise - the most common being "I just don't have the time." I am here to tell you, as a mother of two kiddos running a household and a business on my own, if I can find the time, so can you. I promise. I did eventually find the workout method and routine that I was able to stick with in the form of Crossfit. At 6 o'clock in the morning. And I have NEVER been a morning person. Sometimes it takes a significant lifestyle change, and you just do it. It's been three years now, and I'm still at it. Sometimes there are disruptions. I had to take a few months off last year due to health issues, but as soon as I was physically able, I was back in the gym (even able to participate in our in-box competition, as seen in the photo above). Earlier this year, my kids' school schedule was making it difficult to get to a Crossfit class, so I went running a few times a week to stay active and dropped into classes when I could. This past summer I didn't work out much due to traveling (but I was hiking on my travels), but now I'm back on my normal schedule.
Sometimes life temporarily pauses my workout routine, but I squeeze in what I can and I jump right back in the moment the disruption passes, so that working out becomes the norm and not working out is only a minor blip. That is something I previously was never able to do, and I realized the reasons for the prolonged inactivity were lack of true interest in my latest chosen activity, trying to do something that wasn't practical for my life, and just not making workout out a big enough priority. Having finally overcome all the many obstacles that can make it difficult to stay active with regularity, here are my tips to get up and get moving, and sticking with it! 1. Keep an open mind I always thought I should be the kind of person that loves yoga. It fits with my interests and personality, so I tried making yoga my main thing, again and again. But, I could never stick with it for more than a few months at a time. It turns out that, though I enjoy yoga, it's not really my "thing". I discovered by starting Crossfit classes that weightlifting is my thing.
Weightlifting is something I always thought seemed kinda boring, but oddly enough, it turned out to be what I love and look forward to getting myself to the gym for. I enjoy the other types of exercises we do in Crossfit for the sake of a well-rounded workout, but the weightlifting aspect is by far my true love. I also thought I preferred working out solo, but low and behold, I love the social aspect of Crossfit, and it's another reason I find it easier to drag myself to the box before the sun is up.
So, I didn't know what I liked nearly as much as I thought I did, and I never would have known without trying something that seemed an unlikely match for me. If you haven't found your perfect match - keep looking! It might be what you least expect. People are not very good at predicting what they will and won't like without trying it. When you truly enjoy an activity, it doesn't feel like you are having to "force" yourself to exercise just to begrudgingly be healthy. 2. Make it a priority This is the most important piece of advice. If your physical activity is low on the priority list, anything and everything else that comes up in life will get in the way of it. You put it off one day for this, another day for that, and before you know it, you haven't exercised in six months, and your strength and stamina you worked so hard for has ridden off into the sunset, on the back of your motivation.
Like I said, I had to change my entire routine to make working out work for me. Making sure I get to bed early enough to get up early enough to get that workout in means structure and meticulous time management, two things I always rebelled against, as well as early to bed and early to rise, which goes against my very nature. But, workouts in the morning are the only way I can ensure I am consistent, and it turns out my sacrifices are greatly rewarded. Not being in pain because my muscles are strong and healthy, being in a great mood (thanks endorphins!), and having more energy makes everything I do in life easier and more enjoyable. But, that being said... 3. Figure out what is practical for you You may need to tweak your lifestyle a bit, but there are only so many mountains you can move, so take into consideration what will work for your life. Time is an issue for me, as it is for many, so the one hour Crossfit classes are a time efficient way for me to get in a great workout. Everyone has different considerations - budget, time, traveling to activity location, required gear, physical ability, etc.. If you pick an activity that isn't right for you or your life, it will become to difficult to maintain and you won't stick with it. 4. Mix it up Even when you find your main thing, there are likely to be other activities that you enjoy doing here and there, so don't limit yourself! In addition to my regular workout routine, whenever possible I throw in other activities that I enjoy, but can't do on a regular basis - running, hiking, yoga, sports, etc.. That one hour three times per week in Crossfit is my foundation, but I love when I have opportunity to partake in other activities. Variety is the spice of life. :) 5. Find your motivation There are many reasons people have driving them to stay active. Even when you enjoy the activity itself, there are going to be days when it is difficult to get up and get to it. That's when your motivation for doing this in the first place comes in. Whether it is for general health, weight control, increasing strength, being able to eat your favorite dessert more often, staying out of pain, having the ability to go on physically challenging adventures, whatever motivates you. Figure out what your true desire is and go with it. Desire is the secret to accomplishing anything in life. Set your goals, and use that as your driving force to keep going when the going gets tough. Put it on a sticky note on your mirror, a reminder on your phone, the background picture on your computer screen, or even create a vision board and display it somewhere you will see it every day! 6. Ease yourself in Baby steps. Many people make the mistake of diving in too hard and fast when they start a new activity or workout routine, or return to one, and end up injured and/or burnt out. Take it easy at first, and let your body become accustomed to the new activities and routine. Be patient, and you will find it won't take long to start seeing and feeling very noticeable improvements. 7. Bonus tip - How I get moving when I feel like CRAP Some days I wake up and feel like I am ready for a nap from the moment I crawl out of bed. I have no energy, I look in the mirror and for a second think I'm seeing a real life zombie staring back at me, and just an overall ickiness, for no discernible reason. I know I ate my vegetables, get plenty of sleep, have stayed active, and I'm not coming down with any sickness, and yet if I wandered onto the set of The Walking Dead uninvited it's not likely anyone would even notice me. The last thing I feel like doing is exercise, or mowing the lawn, or running errands, or anything that doesn't fall under "staying in bed and watching viral videos all day." This is going to sound a bit random, but the way I get myself out of this FUNK is to Dance. It. Out. Yeah, that's right. I turn on happy, bouncy, dancey music that I really like and just get to dancing around the living room. It might feel a bit forced at first, because I didn't actually want to be moving around to begin with, but within a couple of minutes, I can feel my mindset and energy levels start to transform. In my mind, at least for a little bit, I am young and carefree and the only thing that exists in the world is the music and the dancing and that very moment in time. After a couple of songs, I can get on with the rest of my day. Got any more tips to add? Comment below and share your ideas!
From the desk of Neelou Saleh Spirit of Lotus