Six days of the week, at around 2 p.m., I work out. It’s a midday refreshment (rather than another cup of coffee), which helps me catch the second wind and end the day. How severe it is depends on how I feel. It could be a peloton class or a heavy weightlifting session. Or it could be a more restorative exercise like yoga or hiking.
It seems like a simple enough endeavor, it’s on my agenda, and ready for me to take. However, there are many days when I don’t want to. I could sit in my gym clothes, my bag packed and by the door, wanting to get up and move my body. These are the moments when I step back to assess whether I should push myself, do something lighter than planned, or take it as a day to rest and watch Rick and Morty Restores.
This is a feeling most of us know all too well. There are days when you are motivated, other days when you have to muster your willpower to move, and others when you decide to just take a day off. But the movement, determined to do Something Even when you don’t feel up to it, there’s no need to be around fitness or setting a personal record at the gym. Often the best benefits of being active in some way are the ones we don’t see on Instagram – like owning More energy during the daybuilding strength, strengthening brain healthand others Mental health benefits. Movement provides nearly everyone with these benefits – No “perfect” aesthetic needed. And while a person experiencing a serious bout of depression or anxiety likely won’t have the same capacity for self-motivation as someone in stable mental health, everyone benefits from moving in in some way.
So how do we structure our lives and environments to ensure that we are moving, in some way, on those days when we struggle to do so? I’ve talked with several fitness experts to find out how to do this. This is what they said.
Remind yourself how good it feels to move your body, and paraphrase what counts as a movement
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, plus two days of strength training.
This doesn’t mean you need to visit your gym every day and lift heavy weights or attend a HIIT class. There is a difference between exercise and physical activity. The former refers to organized activity to achieve a fitness goal, while the latter can be anything that requires you to move — including walking, taking virtual yoga classes, dancing around your apartment, playing with your kids or pets, or some stretching. Lightweight. On those days when you’re not satisfied with your exercise routine, making it easier than usual can still be a way to achieve recommended physical activity standards.
We feel different every day because of sleep quality, stress, work, family commitments, and our mental health. Providing hard workouts for the days you feel great, and tweaking on the days when you don’t, allows you to take better care of your body in the long run. The pursuit of perfection is a sure way to de-stress. It’s okay to deviate from the plan in order to meet yourself in where you are and see why you’re not feeling usual. Does she need more sleep? Better stress management? Or more food?
“Any movement you can do will benefit your body, whether it’s in the gym or a structured workout,” said Katie Heinrich, professor of kinesiology at Kansas State University. “So maybe you’re in your gym clothes. You’re like, ‘Man, I just don’t want to go to the gym.’ That’s OK. Just move on. Put on a song you love to dance to. Or do 10 pushups and 10 pushups and 10 squats. Even just standing and moving is better than sitting.”
Find a friend for accountability
Having friends who support you in moving your body can be the deciding factor between taking a few steps in the day or bumping into the couch, according to Sammy Yli-Piipari, a physical activity specialist at the University of Georgia. Making physical activity a group endeavor can enhance a sense of community and make you feel like others are on your side — a powerful motivator. “Humans need to be independent. They need to be competent in what they do, but they also need to feel that the relationship is there,” he explained.
Plus, it’s hard to opt out of a pre-planned activity if friends or a coach are waiting for you before class. Yli-Piipari also notes that less obvious things, like scheduling an Uber in advance to take you to the gym, can help.
Create an environment that promotes sustainable movement
Our personal environments can Enhance or hinder our well-being A complex reality that is influenced by a person’s various advantages and disadvantages – and has a direct impact on how motivated we are to get something done. Getting your workout clothes on to work, packing your gym bag the night before, putting on your workout clothes in advance, or laying them on a chair you walk on often are just some of the tips from the experts I spoke to for building a movement-enhancing environment.
It is essential to assess how you can fit bouts of movement into your day. Maybe it’s a standing desk or walking around your room every hour. For others, scheduling physical activity in a digital calendar or planner in the same way you would note a doctor’s appointment is effective. For those of us who like to cross things off the list, writing down the exercise as if it were a task helps too.
But it’s also essential to be realistic about when this will happen. If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule morning workouts. If you spend your evenings arguing about family commitments or you just want to go out with your friends, a lunch session might be best. And if a one-hour block isn’t feasible, Heinrich suggests breaking it down into smaller chunks, which might work best for those with strict or unpredictable schedules. Parents can also squeeze in workouts by joining their kids for a run in the playground, or take a lap while they watch their kids play. (One of the big selling points of home workouts is the fact that you can watch your kids, attend a meeting, or cook a meal in the oven during your workout session.)
“Every minute of activity you can do creates physiological and mental responses in your body,” she explained. “And usually, if someone feels tired, and if you move your body, you will find that you feel better. And those aches and pains that you started feeling may go away.”
Know the difference between feeling lethargic and actually needing to rest
Everyone I spoke to was clear that movement isn’t always the best solution to feeling dazed. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is learn the difference between needing to walk and needing to rest your body. Fatigue can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes you have been looking at your screen for too long, and you need a break from the activities. Other times, you may need a nap. If your fatigue is severe or persistent, your body can be signal That there is an underlying medical problem that needs to be addressed. And of course, if you have a fever, pain, or injury, it’s a clear indication that you need to focus on getting better.
But Brittany Brandt, a fitness and well-being coordinator at West Virginia University, said that if you feel tired and want to skip physical activity that day, that’s okay too. She said, “Try not to put pressure on yourself for “breaking the line,” and instead give yourself some grace. Throwing in something small every day—whether it’s a walk around the block or a quick stretch before bed—your body will do much better than the stress of not moving as you planned for the day.
“People put themselves in a box sometimes, ‘Oh, I have to train Monday through Friday,’ or only on certain days, and if they go off course, they say, ‘I’ll try again on Monday,’” she said. But there’s no stigma on that. .You can move every day.”
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