This is a blog that I wrote some time ago during the early COVID days. I am not one to succumb to the pressures of stress. Generally, I feel that I can handle stress well but recent world developments have had an impact on my current primary occupation and financial sources of income. I would like to think that I can do it all, but as of late, I have allowed myself a bit more flexibility in my exercise expectations than I normally would during a regular week. Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress can be challenging.
To exercise or not to exercise. That is a question. I last put in a “formal” workout 3 days ago. It is not a long time, but long enough to trigger some guilt for not doing my usual (Essentrics) exercise workout at a rate of 3-4 times per week. On the brighter side, I have been walking twice daily for 25 minutes for the purpose of transporting myself to and from work, a safer option than taking public transit at this time. So I am getting some DIPA (daily intentional physical activity). All is not lost. The daily walks give me the time to refocus and distract myself from the ongoing foreboding threat.
I know tomorrow that I will without a doubt add in a formal workout in addition walking. But for today I am giving myself a relative break. Relative rest is what I like to call it.
Trying to balance the equation
When it comes to immunity, we know that the balance between stress and exercise can have an impact on our body’s response to fight infection. There is no exact prescription. It will be different for everyone depending on your starting point. Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress needs to challenge you and not degrade you.
I have benefited from exercise so many times that I could never truly give in. But it’s tempting. What is less tempting is to reduce my level of fitness to a point that my energy levels change. I am not worried that I have fallen off the wagon. But it really makes you think about what is important. It’s easy to make excuses so I will keep these periods in check, when intending to promote the preservation of energy through decreased movement, because at some point the equilibrium is lost and then you have to build it up again.
I’ve decided that my strategy tomorrow is to start my day with a workout when my energy level is higher. I know I can do it. I am looking forward to it. These times will always pass, its just that this one is truly out of my control.
Keeping it simple
I am setting my goals at a level that I know I can accomplish. Sometimes its a day to day assessment. I personally can depend on myself but if that wasn’t the case, who or what would I turn to, to help motivate me and keep me on track? For the last 2 Saturdays at around 1pm I have been doing an IGTV workout with Jillian Michaels. I think it really helps to know that you are not alone, and there are others working out with you at the same time. I’ve also considered giving my own Zoom class to private clients(my colleagues) to replace their weekly Wednesday Essentrics. I have also started using the Nike app again combined with some cycling.
Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress means that I will always go with my flow. This means that I will do some form of intentional activity but there are no hard set rules, just options. The more options you have then the more likely you will just get started and then see where your flow takes you. For example, my options could be stationary bike, treadmill, stretching, Nike app, Essentrics TV, or learn new Essentrics choreography. I also have Zoom Essentrics and HIIT class options with a preferred teacher.
My only “should do’s” are actually cardiovascular exercise where my heart rate is elevated, either in a fat burning zone long duration or HIIT. Keeping the VO2 max healthy is all about our capacity to perform. If only I could accurately assess my VO2 max, that would be wonderful.
Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress can be challenging. Trying to find balance in my self when the world is full of unpredictability is all I can do. Keeping it simple and allowing myself to have options decreases the internal pressure. Keeping the heart and lungs healthy are key in maintaining energy levels. Its almost always worth the effort. Picking the right level of effort will ensure that I will follow through, finding myself on the other side of having fulfilled the need to move my body. Approaching each day individually with unique DIPA goals have made it easier to say yes to today. I will intentionally move my body for the betterment of my current health and future quality of life. Onward and upward!