Get physical, 15 minutes at a time, and remember how good you feel!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started “getting physical,” it was that every small thing you do adds up. You read on websites that “15 minutes here and there make a difference.” So you add in a 15 minute walk 1 or 2 nights after work. That’s not a bad start, but it’s true that they mean these quick bursts of exercise to happen much more frequently. I aim for 3-4 a day, because that then means I’ve added one hour of physical activity in each day! That’s the kind of time that will make a difference.

Doing my best to remember this, whenever I find myself shunning my workouts, I start adding back in a few minutes here and there of simple movements until I begin craving an actual more intense workout. That’s where I finally got back to today. The winter time is especially hard for me to keep up with working out. It’s not necessarily the cold, it’s more the lack of sunshine. I lose my motivation. I’m not good at being active inside. But I’m going to make an effort. It’s my goal to get my body strong enough and my mind confident enough to bike wherever I need to go in the city by the spring. In fact, it’s supposed to be like 45 degrees tomorrow, so I am promising myself I am going to get a bike tire pump and get on my bike, for at least an hour tomorrow.

There are two things which I think really pushed me over that barrier into saying, “Okay, it’s time to seek out a workout.” First, I’ve been consuming a large fruit smoothie every day this week with a greens powder and almond milk. I haven’t had any fruit in a really long time actually. This was a great boost to my overall well being the last few days, so I’ve been feeling physically ready to do a workout. No fatigue, good digestion, free from aches and pains. The second thing that really got me itching for some endorphins was when I went out to sweep the front porch. Sounds strange right? Well our front porch and stairs and sidewalk all connect, and I kind of started getting carried away. When I went to return the broom to the backyard, I decided the whole thing needed cleaning. So, I went to work. My heart rate definitely picked up and I could feel the muscles in my arms and back working. It felt great.

So, to ride that high, I decided I’d download some Workout of the Day Apps on my phone, and I went through the Arms and Butt one, both the 10 minute versions. They were definitely a good reminder of why I need to get back to working out, haha. But really, even though I was feeling a little shaky, my muscles were almost screaming out with gratitude.

Then I did the 45 minute Crunch: Candlelight Yoga on Netflix Watch Instantly. If you’ve never checked it out, I highly recommend it. It’s very soothing and easy and it’s a great full body stretching workout. It always gets me feeling significantly more limber after just a few days in a row, and you’ll become motivated to maintain this type of stretching in your daily routine. Not to mention, you’ll sleep better and be in a better mood. Or at least, that’s what it does for me. My muscles get so angry at me if I add yoga back in regularly and then take it away. But once you remind yourself the difference it makes in everything from posture and weight loss to digestion and stress management, you won’t deny your muscles the privilege either.

Let me perfectly clear. There are plenty of days that I do not want to work out and there are plenty of weeks that go by that I do not. The same with unhealthy eating, the best way to break it is slowly. Like I talked about at the very beginning of this post, a little bit here and there makes you crave more. It really is exactly the same as the process of incorporating whole, nourishing foods. Give your body a little, and it will ask for much more. It’s a great cycle to be in. The more I continuously exercise, the more my body continues to avoid empty calories, and literally, those foods do not taste as good to me. If you’re taking the time and making the effort to work your body hard, why negate all that? Healthy foods lead to a quicker recovery rate (that means less sore for less time, but still able to work hard!), healthier digestion which aids endurance and overall performance, and it also allows your body to develop muscles and shed fat with more ease (and you’ll have more of a shot maintaining it.)

Everything I’ve said, of course, is just my personal experience. In fact, I’m thrilled that I’m finally writing it all down because when I’m feeling that the last thing I want to do is get off my butt and do 10 squats, it will help motivate me. Eventually, remembering these positive feelings, and embracing the feeling of being strong, limber, and fit, will help me maintain a consistent exercise schedule. At least, the gaps between times when I’m working out consistently and times when I’m spotty are getting shorter in length and less frequent. Victory!

How do you motivate yourself to stay working out or get back on the wagon if you’ve taken a little too much time away? How do you feel when you consistently maintain a workout schedule?

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Just breathe.

Last night, I did yoga for the first time in probably a month or more. My favorite to get back into it is a relaxing routine found on Netflix Watch Instantly, “Candlelight Yoga.” It’s perfect for right before bed.

I was feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to get much of a good stretch in, but that at least I would be starting the routine. Once I got going, though, I actually surprised myself. It always amazes me how quickly the body responds. And then I remember, if I do this every day, think of how great and limber you’ll be!

It took me a long time to get into yoga, because the “fat girl” perception is that it’s about twisting and contorting your body, requiring a lot of flexibility, and really, that’s not what makes you good at your practice. It’s all about the breathing and learning to release tension. Sure, that can eventually translate into releasing tension on and around the muscles to get very flexible and limber, but in the beginning, it should just be about breathing and feeling where the breath goes. Once I figured out how to “breathe out” a muscle, the stretching came very easily and naturally and felt correct for my body. That’s another thing to remember. Sometimes you’ll get a full stretch on in one pose, and then others you might only get 1/3 or 1/2 the way. Don’t tear anything, yoga’s a workout but also supposed to RELAX, remember?

I think yoga would have benefited me especially when I was heavier to allow me to connect more with my body. I had no care of really how I felt, or what I was doing to my body, because I didn’t understand that it was so valuable. I didn’t understand that there was another CHOICE (I believe now that obesity is a choice. There’s a way out of it for everyone, if you really want to live.) I had no knowledge that stretching and exercise could really make me feel better, despite how difficult and depressing it may have been during my attempts. Once you start to learn that your body is not just some blubbery flesh sock filled with blood and guts, and realize that your body is more of a vehicle, a home to yourself. Think about what happens when a car sits without moving. Tires rot, rust creeps up, engine gets filled with dirt and dust. You have to get it moving, get it running. Our bodies are no different.