Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Stress of Trying to Exercise

Let's face it, most of us are going to find a time in life where stress dominates our existence. Deadlines for work, soccer practices for kids, what to feed everyone, in-laws, etc... Life can and will challenge you. So how do you stay on track with your fitness during the most stressful times? And, how can you start exercising when you haven't been doing anything?

People ask me all the time what they should be doing. Often the conversation goes like this:


 Friend: Oh, it must me nice to workout all the time
Me: Actually I'm sure I do less than you think I do
Friend: I just don't know when I could even go to a gym or workout
Me: Don't make it into a big deal
 Friend: What should I do?
Me: Start by going for a walk, but don't turn it into a grandiose performance. Friend: That's not going to do much for me is it?
Me: Number one walking increases heart rate and burns calories. Is running better? Sure! But don't try to be a runner just to be a runner. (PS I'm not a fan of running to get into shape. But that's for a different post). Number two, you can reduce stress and take time to clear your brain.
Friend: Really... what else can I do
Me: A number of things, but try this. Pick 5 exercises that you know how to do and that don't cause you any pain. Do each exercise as a circuit, one after another, for 8-10 reps. Challenge yourself to do as many circuits as you can in 20 minutes. Or just pick two exercises like a Burpee and a Squat and do a Countdown. Do 10 Burpees followed by 10 Squats. Then, do 9 Burpees and 9 Squats followed by 8,7,6,5... you get the picture.
Friend: Wow! Thanks. I can do that.

Really the take away here is that most anything is better than nothing. I feel like so many people get intimidated by exercise that it becomes paralysis by analysis and nothing happens. Start with what you enjoy. If you prefer yoga, downdog and warrior your heart out. If it's running, grab your iPod and your sneaks and hit the pavement- again, not my favorite, but sometimes it's just easier for me to grab my music and go. If you'd prefer to lif something grab your kettlebells or dumbbells and your TRX and warm-up and lift for 20-30 minutes. Or, if you have no clue what to do try the Burpee and Bodyweight Getup Countdown. Bottom line, don't turn your exercise plan into major event.

If you have a question or comment about your own exercise plan, feel free to comment below.