Who else is glad that it’s FRIDAY?!
This week hasn’t exactly been stressful, but I guess it’s just been one of those weeks for me. This weekend, I plan on getting some good workouts in — boot camp tonight, training session tomorrow — and catching up on my writing and blog reading. And in general, I’m just going to try to pull it together! I want to make some more of my mom’s fab turkey chili too, and if I do, I’ll be sure to post a recipe! Or maybe just a picture because I’m still amazed that I haven’t minded being in the kitchen lately.
What about everyone else? What are you up to this fine fall weekend? Give me the details! I hope for your sake it’s something more exciting than what I’ve got going on!
And last item on the agenda… I need your help! I did some deadlift-y move the other day, and ever since, my hamstrings have been crying/screaming/preventing me from walking appropriately. I know I can foam roll and do the usual exercises, but anyone else have a creative or just really GOOD stretch that will restore my normal range of motion? Help!
No excuses. When it comes to exercise, that’s what I’m supposed to tell you, right?
Well, I would, but I know that we’re human and we’ve all got excuses when it comes to fitting in our workouts. However, the trick to getting past those excuses is to hear them and then beat them by using a little bit of strategy and planning. Here are a few of the most commonly heard excuses for not exercising (some of which I may have used myself) and how to get around them.
1) Not enough time. You work 10-hour days, you volunteer, you have a packed social life with a boyfriend, a great family, and tons of friends demanding your attention. Oh, and we can’t forget your standing appointment with your DVR that’s recorded all of your favorite shows. Sounds like you have a pretty full, pretty great life. But you know what’s missing? EXERCISE. You manage to fit all of these other things in, but you aren’t able to squeeze in a few sweat sessions? Grab your calendar and pencil in at least 30 to 45-minute workouts per week. Honestly, to improve your health, that’s all it takes. A little more if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, but if you’re already where you want to be, for less time that it takes to primp for work or happy hour, you can get your heart pumping. And please, please, PLEASE don’t let TV be your excuse. First of all, go ahead and say that one out loud. It just sounds silly. And second, if you must watch that show, why don’t you tune in while working out? Do an at-home strength program while watching or ask the gym if they’ll turn on your show when it’s on. You can’t be the only one obsessed with “Glee.”
2) Not enough sleep. Uhh, why not? I understand that the above crazy busy life may limit your time spent snoozing, but getting enough sleep is so important! I didn’t realize how much better I felt with more sleep until I switched jobs and stopped working 13-hour days (which is ridic, btw). I started getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep almost every night, and my mood and my health both improved! It takes a whole lot more to get me stressed or upset now, and I even lost a few pounds just because my body was rested enough to repair itself and do its thing. Rachel had been telling me I needed to sleep more for the longest time, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I became a true believer! But let’s just say that you’re still struggling in the sleep department, moderate exercise will actually do nothing but wake you up! That’s the great thing about it. And if you you’re missing out on Zzz’s because you just can’t fall asleep then exercise will help with that too! Regular activity = regular sleep schedule. Just make sure you get your sweat on at least 3 hours before bed so you can sleep soundly. Either way, get moving!
3) Not feeling like you can do enough in the time that you have. You think that that 20 minutes you have every weekday won’t do a thing, right? Not so! Bump up the intensity on most days, and you can really elevate your heart rate. Try intervals in your cardio, and limit or eliminate your rest between strength sets altogether. My favorite is treadmill intervals of 90 seconds at a steady pace with 30 second all-out sprints. For my resistance training, I like to do supersets between my back and chest or quads and hamstrings (biggest muscle groups burn the most calories!). You can still do a LOT in a little time. Trust me.
4) Not exactly loving the whole ’working out’ thing. You’ve tried running because it’s supposed to burn the most calories, but you ended up getting bored or a case of shin splints. You’ve tried swimming because it’s supposed to be a great full-body workout, but you ended up doing two laps and coming up gasping for air, making you feel like an athletic failure. You tried a cardio kick class, but the instructor was just a little too peppy for your liking, you couldn’t follow the moves fast enough, and the guy behind you really could have used some deodorant. Whatever you tried, you hated it, and you stopped working out altogether. But why? Why did you only try that one thing and give up on exercise entirely? There are so many options out there! Try a yoga-cardio fusion class if you need something a little more zen. Get a mountain bike or a pair of hiking boots and find a trail if being in the gym is just not your idea of a good time (you can even do a little resistance training outside! Squats and pushups, anyone?). Hire a personal trainer that fits your workout style and personality if you like being in the gym and need a push, but don’t like sharing with other people. Whatever gets you moving, do it! And don’t limit yourself to what you see your friends or family doing. Find what’s right for you and start sweating!
Alright, so those are the most common excuses I’ve come across, but what others have you heard (or used yourself!)? How do you combat those excuses or the ones I’ve mentioned? Spill!
So I recently read an article on Self.com about a study published in Psychological Science showing that people tend to be happier when they have less down time. Those that are busier and have a rather full plate seem to be in a better mood than those who are constantly searching for something to do. Interesting, right?
I thought this was a pretty fascinating little find and wanted to discuss it with you, dear readers, but I was putting it off — until this morning. I was putzing around online, clicking through some of my favorite sites while trying to convince myself to get out of bed and be a productive member of society. When I visited Glamour.com and read the same thing on the Vitamin G blog and then again on BlissTree, I realized this might be more than just a little blip on the psychological health front. So I decided to do a little further research on the topic and here’s what I found:
Being busy –even the ‘OMG, how will survive until Friday?’ kind of busy — tends to work in our favor and causes a boost in those feel-good vibes.
Those who find themselves bored more often also find themselves bummed more frequently. The study suggests that not having much to do leaves plenty of time for ruminating on our lives — especially on what’s wrong with them!
Having a million things to do (and getting them done!) can give us a sense of accomplishment, which, at least for me, is a key component to happiness.
A packed schedule not only makes us feel accomplished, but it’s stimulating to our brains and increases our endorphins! And as we all know by now, endorphins make us happy!
According to the actual Pyschological Science article, even doing pointless activity will make us happier than doing no activity at all.
None of the articles specifically addressed how this makes us healthier, but my hunch is that, in general, when we’re happy, we’re healthy! We tend to have lower stress levels and we tend to take better care of ourselves when we’ve got smiles on our faces. Now, I’m definitely no psychologist, but I can tell you from my own experience that I’m way happier and healthier when I’m crazy, ‘I don’t have a second to sit down’ busy. I love seeing a long to-do list, and I like crossing each thing off even more. When I was a senior in college and constantly sprinting from class to an activity to a sorority function to the gym, I was deliriously happy! I was simply in love with life, and I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been. Even though my schedule was practically bursting at the seams, I made time to get everything done, including taking trips to the gym and making (mostly) healthy meals. And I even had a social life (we all know friends are good for overall wellness).
When I left college and moved to Chicago, I suddenly found myself with more free time, even with a 9 to 5. And at that job (oh, and the next one), I was incredibly bored because my work was mindless. I never felt a sense of accomplishment, I had way too much time to think about everything I wanted to change in my life, and I was so drained at the end of the day, that I just didn’t want to do anything — even the things I knew were good for me, like going for a run or visiting with friends. So when I switched to personal training, I was crazy busy all day, and I experienced this huge surge in those happy hormones! People I knew even noticed and kept commenting about how much happier I seemed and how I appeared to be more like ‘the old Heather.’ Now, I’ve switched to two slightly lower stress jobs with fewer hours (and no sales quota to hit, but that’s another story), but I’ve filled my schedule with other things I’ve been wanting to pursue, like my writing, exploring the city, and (gasp) having a social life. So, I’m keeping busy, but I’m not as stressed (best of both worlds!). I’m definitely happier AND healthier!
So I guess, in short (but really, when is it ever short with me?), I agree with these findings! If I’m bored, I start to brood, and I get cranky. But if I’m whizzing around getting stuff done, I feel great! What about you? Do you thrive on flitting around like a hummingbird like I do? Or does your perfect day include a little time to be completely sloth-like? Spill!