I’m back! My apologies for the one week hiatus, but it was much needed. I came down with a cold and sore throat combination prior to heading away for Thanksgiving and I just needed the extra time to relax and recover.
I am sure you can all relate to this as it is mid-October. It is a time when everyone feels run down, sick, and tired. It is dark when we wake and dark before we usually get home. It is raining, windy, and in some cases. beginning to snow. If you are a student, midterms have hit. This is the time when most of us leave those fitness or health related goals behind with September, where we were so eager to set ourselves up for success. Being a fitness instructor at the University of Toronto, I have definitely noticed a decline in my classes’ sizes within the last week or so. When I run into participants I haven’t seen for a while I get the same answer-“School is just so busy. I have two midterms and three assignments next week but after that, I will be back!”
Hold up; exercise is the example in this case but just hear me out. What if any time we had a stressful situation or week in our lives we just stopped everything and focused on that one particular event? Clothes wouldn’t be washed, houses wouldn’t be cleaned, and food wouldn't be cooked. But, is that ever really realistic? Chances are, probably not. We all need clean clothes and food to eat, and if you are anything like my mom, you need the house cleaned too.
Exercise makes us feel better. We not only relieve stress and sweat it all out, but we get an endorphin rush and can better focus on those challenging tasks once we return to them. Physical activity is such a natural part of my day that sometimes I find it difficult to wrap my head around people skipping out on it. Now, it doesn’t have to be a heavy lifting leg day to be considered exercise. Attend a yoga class, go for a run, walk, anything to take a break physically. Chances are, we will come back to those stressful, time crunching situations with a clearer mind and a new perspective. From my experience, I feel better and more focused to tackle whatever was causing me an issue before.
Below are a just a few simple ideas that I will share to help us all stick to our fitness routines and goals through what seems like the busiest, least motivating times.
- Call up a friend. If you are a student, plan a study-then-workout date. If you are just someone stressed out from work or family find a friend who can attend an exercise class or go for a walk with you. Friends make us more accountable and follow through with our good intentions to make a workout happen. You never want to let your friends down, right? This is also a good social break from studying, home life, or work stress. Kill two birds with one stone.
- Plan it into your day. Whether it is in between meetings at work, your kids’ activities, or your studying schedule, add exercise to the list. Once we write it down, it becomes more likely to happen. I don’t know about you, but there is something extremely rewarding when we can cross something off of our to-do list in a day.
- Check out the Nike Training Club app. It is free to download and has workouts ranging from 5-45 minutes. Little to no equipment is needed so the workouts can be done anywhere. This is my go to when I am crunched for time and don’t necessarily want to think about my plan. It is easy to navigate and have videos to demonstrate each exercise. I simply select a workout that fits into my schedule that day and crush the workout.
- Attend a fitness class. If you are part of the University of Toronto community, definitely come find me this week! Drop-in classes happen at the same time each week and I find I have a lot of regulars. I feel like I hold my participants accountable when I notice they aren’t in class and ask them the next week. Since the times don’t change drastically ever, you have something that is consistent within your schedule.
- If all else fails, go for a walk. Whether it is 5 minutes around the block, or 5 kilometres around the city, enjoy some fresh air. Clear your mind and reset back into your work.
Happy Mid-October everyone! Embrace life’s stressors; and remember: Instead of neglecting exercise, make time for it and the rest will go your way.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.