It’s a beautiful morning today! I’m not naturally a morning person, but I love being awake in the dark, quiet house and watching the sun slowly come in the windows. I am exhausted, though. I’ve been up late at night and early in the mornings the last few days, and my body feels drained. It’s so easy to fall into these bad habits, so something I’ve tried to do ever since I was pregnant with my first 8 years ago is to do some form of exercise every day. It began when I realized I was going to have to be intentional with being active because I didn’t feel like it many days in pregnancy and after the baby was born I just wasn’t able to get enough hours of sleep at night to give me any energy. I definitely haven’t been able to keep up every single day all these years, but having that goal in mind has usually kept me from going too many days without doing something. Some days it’s just a quick 20-30 minute walk and other days I’m able to go on a run. Some days I can do a full body strength routine, and other days I just do a few sets of push-ups or squats; it really depends on what I feel like doing. It might sound sporadic and I will never get a six-pack, but I feel stable, strong, and capable, and I’m not having to obsess over exercise every single day, and isn’t that the goal for most of us? To feel strong enough to lift and carry our children, do our jobs without back or shoulder pain, and to feel capable of taking care of ourselves and the business that needs to be taken care of without struggling physically?
This morning when I felt that exhausted feeling at the beginning of the day, I knew if I didn’t do something early, I wouldn’t muster up any new energy throughout the day to make a workout any easier later on. I used to get a nap in the middle of the day with babies, but I can’t always count on that anymore, so I squeezed in a quick lower body workout; a few sets of weighted squats and lunges in the morning sunlight, and I feel refreshed and accomplished. I like to do anywhere from 2-8 total sets of squats while holding dumbbells, each set including at least 20 squats and then I like to vary the type of squat each set. For instance, 20 regular squats, 20 sumo squats, 20 right lunges, 20 left lunges, repeat. Or, like this morning, two and a half sets of 25 squats while holding 10 pounds weights, and then somebody needed me and I had to go back inside! Working out one half of the body is an easy way to stay strong without having to stress the whole body. Sometimes I don’t mentally want to work my whole body, no matter how much I tell myself it’s good for me, and I know pushing myself too hard will make me want to quit altogether–there is merit in knowing yourself! However, something is always better than nothing.
I think it’s important to be realistic with our goals and not set an image in our minds to strive towards that is only going to leave us disappointed, but instead try to find a level of fitness that is sustainable in the long run. Quick fix workouts are helpful to jump start a fitness regime, but the level of intensity involved probably won’t be sustainable. I like to remind myself that slow progress is better than no progress, and my worth is not based on my fitness ability or appearance. The goal should always be to feel strong and healthy, and that can be accomplished with small daily amounts of work. It really is a balance of remembering to work on my fitness, yet not spend all my energy and spare time working out or thinking about working out.
Do you have a favorite quick workout for those days when you don’t feel like doing anything but you know doing something would be better than nothing? I would love to hear your ideas, let me know in the comments below!
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