How To Mix Up Your Exercise Routine
How To Mix Up Your Exercise Routine by Amelia Mayer
Every time I have a baby (I just delivered my third), I feel like I am starting over with exercise. And honestly, this isn’t always a welcome feeling as I begin to feel muscles I hadn’t used in months. In the past, bed rest and pregnancy-specific aches and pains required extra healing time and extra “get back in my groove” time. The good news is that each time I have also found myself with renewed determination and drive to feel strong again.
As I am finally able now to begin seriously working those muscles and pushing my body a little harder, I have also reevaluated where I want to concentrate my efforts. To be perfectly honest, with three little ones, my time is extremely precious and hard to come by. Right now I can barely find time to sleep, much less take on strenuous training.
It’s gotten me thinking about how important it is to mix up routines and exercises throughout life in order to keep things fresh and interesting. Whether you’re coming back from an injury, recovering from the birth of a baby, or just needing a swift kick in the pants, new pursuits keeps you motivated. I’m not saying that runners should stop running nor should yogis stop practicing yoga—I simply mean that it’s beneficial to introduce the new. For runners, maybe it’s a different route (trails vs. roads or distances vs. hills). For me, it’s meant walking some days, biking others, and building in some quick at-home strength training every day (and by quick, I mean squeezing in 10 minutes here and there.)
It’s easy to get caught up in our routines, in what feels comfortable and what we know. But the truth is that newness not only challenges our bodies, but our minds and hearts too.
Some of my best tips for challenging your body and mind with new movement:
- Exercise it with a friend. It’s always more fun that way.
- Look into what is easily available in your local area. We are extremely limited here with “organized movement” so I have found online workouts through Barre3 very helpful.
- Borrow the gear you need to try. It’s crazy to go out and buy a new boat or bike or skis or stand up paddle board when you’ve never tried it. Look to friends for loans or find local gear shops with inexpensive rentals. You’re not the only one looking to try before you buy!
- Give yourself a break and know that you aren’t going to be an expert right away. Practice, research it, ask around for tips from the “pros” and have fun.
- Stretch yourself to try something you never thought you would before. Drop into a yoga class or join a hiking group.
- Check out the library (the real, live one, not online! ;)) and check out trail books or read up on how to get involved with a new sport.
- And, of course, have fun.
Our bodies are the only ones we have – it’s our job to push them to their potential for strength, endurance, happiness AND joy!
Read more from Amelia on her blog, Tales of a Mountain Mama.