Congratulations! You have made the decision to incorporate exercise into your life. You’ve joined a gym or a yoga class, you’re going for a run on the weekends or you invested in some workout DVDs for at home. You have committed to getting healthier and you feel great about your decision. But you got stuck working late today. Or your kids came home from school with the flu. Or maybe you’re the one who isn’t feeling well. No matter how good your workout intentions are, all too often life throws your best laid plans for a loop. There are times when we just aren’t able to check everything off of our ‘to do’ list for the day and more often than not, the things that fall by the wayside are the things we do for ourselves – like working out.
Missing a gym session here and there is not the end of the world. However, there are a few small things you can do that will go a long way in helping you stay focused and on track, even when life tries to get in the way:
Prepare the night before
Each night, set out or pack your gym clothes. If you work out first thing in the morning, everything will be ready and waiting for you when you roll out of bed. And if you get your exercise in at lunchtime or after work, your gym bag will be all ready for you to grab on your way out the door. Most of us are rushed enough in the mornings, scrambling to get the kids fed, dressed and off to school, all while trying to get ready for work ourselves. Having your gym bag packed is one less thing you have to think about doing before 8am.
Go to bed on time
When you hit the hay later than normal, you know it’s going to be a struggle to resist hitting snooze when your alarm goes off in the morning. Although it is much easier said than done sometimes, making sure you get enough sleep will go a long way in keeping your energy levels high enough to accomplish everything you want to get done in the run of a day, including going for that run at the end of the day.
Schedule your workouts
If your life is anywhere as busy as mine, exercise just isn’t going to happen unless you map out time for it. A great tip is to plan your week’s workouts on Sunday evenings, before things get too hectic. Look at you and your partner’s schedules for the week, at what commitments you have with your kids, and then block off some time for yourself. And actually block it off – if you live and die by your blackberry or iPhone, add your workouts to your e-calendars so your device can remind you when it’s time to head to the gym. If your family’s activities are all written on the wall calendar in the kitchen, be sure to add on ‘Gym Time’ a few times a week. When you actually include your workouts in your daily/weekly schedule, you have a much better chance of following though with your plans.
Despite your best intentions and best laid plans, there are days when you hit the snooze button one too many times, or you have to stay at work a little later than you’d planned. Cut yourself some slack. Instead of skipping your workout altogether, simply give yourself permission to do a shorter one. Exercise for 30 minutes instead of 45, or 20 minutes instead of 30. Step up the intensity if you can, or just do a mini version of what you’d planned. Getting in a shorter workout is better than not working out at all!
Dalplex, Dalhousie University's main fitness and recreation facility, has been proudly serving the community for over 30 years, offering a wide variety of fitness, wellness and recreation programs and classes for adults, children, youth and seniors. Visit their website or follow them on facebook.