Category Archives: Daily exercise options

Getting motivated to exercise: Strategies to get yourself going

Exercise may not be easy. Getting motivated to exercise may be even more challenging. If you are feeling low on motivation, read on for ways to deal with those pivotal moments. To move or not to move? How do we find just enough spark to get us going on those days where leaving it until tomorrow seems like the best option, even though we know it’s not…

Here are some strategies to get ready, set and go. Run through these options before deciding to throw the towel in:

Turn your excuses upside down

I started evaluating my week thus far and what I had already accomplished. I had done a HIIT run 2 days prior, a weighted workout the day before. I didn’t want to repeat either but I wanted to exert myself beyond a few stretches. I couldn’t use the stationary bike because my right kneecap was still bugging me. I tried to stream a recorded exercise program but it didn’t work. Finding excuses not to exercise comes with little effort. I know the pattern. Give yourself enough time and you can talk yourself out of anything. I flipped the switch and threw the excuses out of the window.

Use music to inspire or improvise

Even though my list of options was apparently limited, I finally decided to look at my playlist for my Sunday’s Essentrics class and made a rough new playlist of songs. Then I improvised. I allowed the music to lead me. I had a loose structure of what I wanted to do, but I essentially allowed myself to “wing it”. If you have exercised before, you can probably string a few activities together to create a workout. If you like music, use it. Everything doesn’t need to be so set and directed. I made it through a workout and didn’t allow the perceived barriers to limit me.

Get your get up on and get over it

One of my colleagues revealed to me one of her ways of getting motivated to exercise. She wears her exercise clothes under her work clothes. One, it’s a constant reminder and two, it eliminates just one more step towards getting started. It’s winter now so the extra layers are possible. Shorts and t-shirt under her pants and whatever she had on top. She left her dress socks on and didn’t bother to change to sweat socks. Her layered get up provided just enough to get over any procrastination and into the exercise arena. My related strategy is to get changed even if I don’t have a plan and then I just get started. No questions asked.

Pick the right duration

The right duration is the one you know you can complete. What is the minimum amount of time required? Do you require a costume change? If you only have a certain amount of time like 30 minutes, make your exercise goal realistic (20 minutes) so you don’t trash it because of apparent time constraints.

Pick the best time of day

If you have committed to starting a new routine, when will you most likely get it done? Be really honest. If you are generally not early to rise, why bother setting the alarm at 5:30 am for a one hour work out. Really? Maybe 30 minutes is more realistic and incorporated into your day just prior, during, or immediately after work or errands. If you like exercising in the evening, maybe commit to an online class or schedule an online workout with a friend. Don’t count on finding that whim to get going later on. If you are saying to yourself, “I’ll do it later”, then do it now.

Try freestyling

Take at least one 15 minute break from whatever you are doing and walk from one end of the building to the other or get outside and go around the block.

Figure out what you like to do and why you are doing it

Increase your success of getting motivated to exercise by finding a form of physical activity that is more than just tolerable. If you really hate lifting weights then find something better for you to do. Do you want to feel fitter, lose or maintain your weight, improve your outlook, or relieve yourself from stress? Do you have a sore neck and back from prolonged sitting? Are you finding it harder to do the things you love because you don’t have the energy or mobility?

Whatever your goals are exercise has a lot of fringe benefits. I have multiple reasons why I exercise. Most of all, I want to move with the same ease as I do now for the rest of my life. Challenging myself on a daily basis makes the process easier. Give yourself a physical activity challenge everyday and “give in” to moving.

Essentrics with Andrea

Creating Space to Exercise

I have been dreaming of my own personal exercise studio with all the gagetry needed to both receive and give amazing exercise experiences. What do you need to make an ideal exercise space?

My exercise space

I don’t have the luxury of a separate space in my home for exercise, so I already use a multiple use space for yet another use. Gratefully, the space that I do use does not have any furniture that requires re-positioning. I have an open wall when teaching for my backdrop. My camera depth is limited so boxes on a counter serve as my tripod when virtual.

One thing I am noticing is that lighting can be a problem, especially on overcast or winter days. I may need to invest in more lights so I can be visible to myself and others while on the screen. For different levels of exercise (standing, lying) my computer has to be re-positioned so I can still see well. Did we ever imagine that we would be fiddling around with a computer while exercising?

If you are more fortunate, there may be more things that you can look into like improving your technology for your virtual experiences. It really helps if you can hear an instructed program clearly. Something simple like earbuds if you can tolerate them can allow you to zone in to cues and music.

I think back to all of the physical spaces I have moved in for the sake of fitness, conditioning and the creation of movement. There have been some that were amazing and others that were not so appealing.

Here is a summary of the factors that made the exercise experience more or less pleasurable:

The Good. Light, good audio/acoustics, clean/uncluttered, easy access, not isolated, fresh air, some sense of newness/modernity and if not, unadulterated classic style, soft floor(wood versus concrete), no carpet.

The Amazing. There were a few spaces where the atmosphere was further enhanced. They all had a cathedral-like structure (very high ceilings and lots of light). No doubt the feeling and sensations that came to me when in those spaces included: Spiritual. Expansive. Uplifting. Energizing. Welcoming.

The Not So Good. The spaces that I didn’t care for much and that I believe ultimately influenced my movement experience included: old and decrepit, cold(I mean really cold), yellow tinged walls, low ceilings, dark, cluttered, and significant distractions from outside sounds.

We can’t all have perfect personally controlled spaces to move in. Especially when exercising in our homes, there may be a limitation of physical space and/or a shared space that can’t otherwise be significantly altered.

I don’t have a magical solution to creating an amazing space but if you start with the basics, like reducing clutter and improving lighting, this can go a long way to improving your exercise atmosphere.

But don’t wait to have the perfect space to get started. The exercise experience is obviously more about what you do with your body than where you are.

Defining your space physically and mentally will ultimately help you fulfill your goals. Removing both the tangible and intangible obstacles, with practice, will make your everyday commitment to movement and physical well being more regular and automatic. Make positive connections with your physical space and build on the possibilities a day at a time. Making space available may simply be deciding that here and now is the best option. Go for it. Let’s move!

Essentrics with Andrea

COVID and Jogging in the city: the pros and cons

Jogging in the city is definately an option. It really does push the body, increasing your heartrate and improving your cardiovascular fitness. It can increase the strength and endurance of your lower body, but really involves the entire body to some degree. It doesn’t require much more than a pair of shoes and requires little to no planning. You can easily vary the intensity and frequency. It can include others if you choose. It can make you feel stronger and more energetic. It can give you an endorphin high and zen like focus. It gets you outdoors and into nature.

But I will have to say, in the early stages of the COVID era it appeared that everyone including their dog and their cat were out jogging. At one point the streets of Toronto were rampant with joggers! No joke.

“Might as well go for a jog”. I remember feeling that way a very long time ago.  Actually, about 25 years ago.  When I was younger and my joints were more resilient to effects of pounding the pavement.  My reasons were I wanted to get fit.  Superfit to be exact.  Jogging can get you there. Lose fat.  Increase tone. A run could shake off whatever negative stuff I was feeling, and yes, I benefited from the endorphin high.  That was a given.

But then I might see several patients in pain as a result of running, and they couldn’t stop. My job was to help them mediate the balance between regeneration and degeneration. I have pushed myself to my own physiological limits several times in the past. A more calculated and reflective approach is now needed to stay clear of injury.

Back to the COVID jogging phenomenon. I will note that the volume of joggers on the streets has dwindled with the re-opening of gyms, and people likely returning to work, changes in schedules, etc. But now that the gyms are closed again, I am wondering if the jogging population will rise yet again?

Winter is also coming. Toronto sidewalks in general are not that great in terms of snow and ice clearance, so where are you going to take this jogging phase?

With the first round of COVID, there were actually fewer people on the streets, so there was indeed more space for the increase in joggers. Now we are essentially back to normal street capacity so it might get busy! Watch yourselves!

I have already been re-evaluating my COVID exercise routine. I think I may spend more time learning and creating new Essentrics routines or something similar of my own, with a strong emphasis on music. I have also been focusing on accomplishing true HIIT routines now that I have a heart rate monitor.

Just keep moving. The more variety you have to choose from the more likely you will keep up a physical routine, regularly. Having options already built in is great. Just think about the bends in the road that are no doubt going to present themselves (including the ice and snow). Have your back up plan ready so you don’t loose the momentum you’ve created.

Onward and upward!

Cheers joggalicious movers! See you on the street! 

Essentrics with Andrea