BeyondBarre Contributing Author, Susan Treadway (rehabholistics.com)
Having a solid fitness routine is one of the best ways to ensure you get the recommended amount of physical activity to keep your body running strong. But heading to the same gym at the same time, day after day, week after week, turns working out into just another chore. And who wants to go out of their way for a chore? If you’re going to stay dedicated to your active lifestyle, it’s important that you make it enjoyable for yourself. If your workouts are starting to feel like drudgery, follow these tips to make your fitness routine fun again.
Mix Up Your Workouts
Most people have a type of exercise that just clicks with them. For some people, nothing beats the simultaneous intensity and calm of a yoga session, while others live to get their hands on some bare rock or bike through the rolling hills. But no matter how much you love something, do it too much and it’s at risk of growing stale. Instead of doing the same workout day after day, incorporate variety into each week. Maybe you hit the barre studio three mornings, but the other days you go trail running with your dog, head out for an evening of dancing, or take martial arts lessons. Don’t be afraid to experiment; even if you’re not good at something, you have nothing to lose from trying.
Over-training makes you prone to injury, adds to stress, and leaves you less enthusiastic for the next workout. If you’re unfamiliar with the signs and risks of over-training, read this explanation from Breaking Muscle so you know the symptoms and the reasons why overtraining is so dangerous. Learn how to listen to your body and take a day off when you need it. Rest is just as important to your health and well-being as activity.
Keep It in Balance
Fitness is important, but it’s not everything. Rather, exercise should fit into a bigger picture of how you care for yourself. Not only will physical activity be less effective if you’re not fueling yourself with proper nutrition and sleep, but if you’re prioritizing fitness over important self-care habits, it could be a sign of exercise addiction or disordered eating. Your fitness habits should exist in harmony with the other important things in your life, like your health, self-esteem, and relationships. If it’s interfering instead, you may need to restructure your schedule or talk with a mental health professional. It also might help to actually schedule a relaxation regimen into your schedule. Adding meditation and mindfulness can ge a great way to help you achieve a balance, and greatly contributes to self care. Try setting up a meditation space in your home where you can retreat regularly to reflect and relax.
Know It Won’t Always Be Fun
Your fitness routine should generally be something you enjoy, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be days when you’re dragging yourself out of bed to get dressed and get active. Motivation ebbs and flows, and days will come that you don’t want to exercise, but you need to. When your spirits are low and you want nothing more than to stay in bed all day, following through with your fitness routine becomes an important act of self-care—something that helps you feel like you. As Mental Floss points out, exercise wards off depression, makes you better at putting daily stresses behind you, gives you more energy, and even improves your overall satisfaction with life. Now that’s some true self-care.
Fitness should be a positive thing in your life, something that adds to your joy and makes your sorrows a little easier to face. That doesn’t mean working out isn’t ever hard, especially when you’re just getting started on a fitness journey. But if your exercise routine feels like it’s taking more than it’s giving, ask yourself if you’re applying these rules in your life.
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