Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Exercise…oh wait, there’s a couch to lay on!

I wrote a few months ago about getting back into yoga. It really has become one of the best things in my life, so much that I’m now doing it twice a week. Having a Monday night class is a great way to start the week and doing it again on Saturday mornings makes me feel like I can take on anything the weekend throws my way.

Part of the reason I wanted to get back into doing yoga so much this year was not just to help with calming the frantic mind I have, but really to feel better about my body. I’m still carrying the physical manifestation of my divorce in the form of 20 or so pounds, which I’ve come to terms with, but after my Dad died, I really made a push to be more aware of how I’m feeling and try to be better about long-term health. Five months of yoga later, the scale numbers haven’t changed a whole lot, but my clothes are looser. Most importantly, I’m feeling great.

People talk all the time about how exercising always makes people feel better because it gets the blood/endorphin flowing, but I struggle with the getting going part. There are days that I leave work ready to go home and lift some weights, take a walk/jog, or do a workout DVD in the basement. But after a 45 minute or more drive, I walk in the door, see the couch, and settle in with my book, the news, or mindless iPad Pinterest scrolling. It’s probably my worst habit.

I know I should be doing more yoga and moving outside of the structured classes because on days when I don’t do something, I feel it in every part of me. I have a mostly sedentary job and at the end of the day, those hours of sitting add up. I know what I should be doing, I know how it will make me feel, and yet.

I read somewhere that if you just put your sneakers on, then it will compel you to get going, get out the door, etc. I know it takes 21 days for something to become a habit and this has worked for me before with other things like quitting soda ( back in college) or coffee ( 6 years ago, cold turkey, but since have returned to it!).

I like having that quiet time after work to decompress and walking or doing something that will make me feel better is just as important as sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a book when I get home. I don’t think having a buddy will work for me, though Q and I take walks before or after dinner pretty frequently, and are active on the weekends with small hikes/nature walks as a family when we have his son. I’m trying to use the exercise time in basement with weights or on the treadmill to watch some of my guilty pleasure TV shows, which is a nice incentive, but it doesn’t always get me motivated from that just home, tired feeling.

I’m realizing I have to retrain my brain to think “exercising is an investment in you” instead of “an hour after work can be so productive.” My logic is that after dinner is down time, relaxation on the couch with Q, etc. But that time to invest in my health is actually more important than sifting through the week’s mail or whatever mundane activity I fill my evening with. For example, instead of mindlessly watching one of Q’s shows ( I love him so much, but alien conspiracy theories just make me crazy), I could go downstairs and watch HGTV while lifting some weights.

It’s hard for me to find the balance here between doing things that are good for me/my body/health/life and becoming obsessed with it/letting it take over my thoughts. I don’t want the latter to happen, but I’m feeling like if I don’t hyper focus on this one thing, then I won’t get the results I want ( a change in habit, a desire to WANT to exercise, and hopefully some fewer pounds on the scale). It’s a struggle, and I know that I may never be that person whose hobby is their physical fitness, but I’m wanting really badly to at least get my arse in gear.

I’d love to hear any thoughts/advice/techniques that work for you!


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2 thoughts on “Exercise…oh wait, there’s a couch to lay on!

  1. I *have* to work out in the morning. I will talk myself out of it if I wait until after work. I will find EVERY excuse! And, honestly, I’m just tired and the last thing I want to do after getting home is spend 30-45 minutes working out. I’d rather wake up at 5am and go to bed at a ridiculously early hour than wait until after work. That’s just what works for me, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone! I think you just have to find what schedule works for you. Just like finding the workout that you love, you have to figure out what time of day is best for you. And understanding you don’t have to work out 5 or 6 times a week for an hour. Two yoga sessions a week, then maybe one or two other workouts? I think that seems perfectly fine, especially as you build a regular exercise habit!

  2. Yeah, it’s hard to motivate yourself after a long day at work. I usually make a point to go to the gym directly from the office… because if I go home first (and eat dinner!), nothing will happen after that (MAYBE a walk around the neighborhood with J, if we’re lucky).
    I think what Stephany said is right: find your best time of the day for excercise and then try to stick to a schedule. You go to yoga twice a week, why not pencil in two more workout sessions?

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