Exercise: Prioritizing consistency over perfection
At times it may seem impossible to prioritize your ideal workout or self-care practice. If you’ve found yourself trying to keep up with what once was realistic for you, even though your life may have shifted – you’re not alone. With a newborn baby in my family’s life again, I quickly found it necessary for me to adjust my regime, otherwise, I’d fall off the exercise train altogether.
Even before kids, I struggled for years with finding enough time each day to maintain a balanced exercise routine. I found myself shortening or cutting out a warm-up which would lead to aches or minor injuries; even to the point of suffering through a couple more significant injuries as a result of this, which completely derailed my regime and left me unable to do what I wanted – all due to trying to squeeze in more than what was realistic for me at the time and being inconsistent altogether with what I was asking of my body.
In the past couple of months, I’m happy to share that I’ve found what works for me was to incorporate a flexible daily movement plan with the shorter duration of time I had, rather than try and block out a significant amount of time only to find it reduced when life threw me a curve. Sure it would be ideal to work out for 90 minutes but I found that this just wasn’t happening during this time in my life, and therefore nothing was happening at all.
The new approach has become, “Ok today I have 20 minutes in the morning, what can I accomplish in 20? Later I have 40 what can I fit then?” Once I shifted my mindset to the reality that daily consistent movement (even if for only 20 minutes) produces far better results long term than wishful thinking that I was still in a time of life where I could have my full 90-minute warm-up, workout, cool down – the next obstacle was to remove the thinking out of it and have a complete routine put together for me in those 20 minutes.
Knowing I couldn’t be the only one attempting this, I turned to the internet for support and found a few options. The first is yoga-focused, the second more resistance training, and the last is an app package that offers both yoga and a HIIT option (free 1mo trial, subscription required to continue). These are simple suggestions of a place to start:
Each of the links above allows you to start with how much time you have, pick an area of the body, or the whole body…and get moving, without the added mental block of having to create your own practice/program. The amount of time each day for movement may change, but the key is always doing something.
Personally, I’ve noticed improved flexibility, strength and a decrease in nagging aches and pains and the best part is I can always find at least 20 minutes a day so it’s been very easy to stay consistent. If I fall off for a day or two it’s very easy to get back up and running because I don’t have the hurdles of trying to find the time and motivation for something that’s frankly unrealistic for me during this (temporary) chapter of life I’m in.
Small changes over time get big results, so start with what’s attainable daily, keep it consistent, and enjoy the long-lasting benefits.