Slow Progress


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 bad sleep habits and then begin skipping exercise. Something I’ve tried to do ever since I was pregnant the first time 8 years ago is to do some form of exercise every day. I started doing this when I realized I was going to have to be intentional with being active because I didn’t feel like it most days in pregnancy and after the baby was born I was never able to get enough hours of sleep at night to give me any energy. I definitely haven’t kept 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 have enough energy 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 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 I knew I had to exercise early because I was already exhausted before the day began. New energy wasn’t going to magically appear later in the day to make a workout any easier, so I squeezed in a quick lower body workout on the deck. A few sets of weighted squats and lunges were enough to feel 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. This morning I did three sets of 25 squats while holding 10 pounds weights, and then one of the kids needed me, and I had to quit. There are days like today that I have to remind myself that something is always better than nothing.

I think it’s important to set realistic goals that won’t leave us disappointed.  Instead, try to find a level of fitness that is sustainable long term. 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 to remember to work on our fitness without spending all our energy and spare time working out or thinking about working out.

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