Organize your exercise
So we all know that exercise and proper diet can contribute to better physical fitness. Right? If you were not already aware, exercise can also contribute to better mental health. Exercise and stress management have a close link. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, exercise relieves stress by decreasing cortisol (stress hormones) and increasing endorphins (runner’s high). Note: chocolate also helps the body produce endorphins but does not have the same effect on cortisol. Unfortunately chocolate does not produce the full desired effect. Sorry. Many regular exercisers claim they feel mentally fatigued when the miss workouts. Regular exercise has been shown to increase self-confidence and energy while lowering the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
I believe we all will agree that we are not as energetic nor can we think as clearly when we are suffering a bout of anxiety or depression. Here in lies the vicious cycle. We make excuses “I don’t have the energy to workout”, “I don’t have the time to workout” or “I don’t have the money to join a gym.” So how do you break the cycle, when will you finally understand what someone means by runner’s high? Below are some suggestions how to make time to exercise and how to get started. I will preface, like anything else it takes 2 weeks to create (or break) a habit so don’t expect miracles overnight.
- Schedule time in your calendar. No actually write or type it in your calendar. What, you don’t have a calendar? Organizing 101 – get a calendar (paper or electronic) and use it. Take it with you everywhere and write down all of your commitments.We all have the same 24 hours in our day. What is different is how we choose to use those 24 hours. No one says you have to exercise for 1 hour or more. Try getting up 30 minutes earlier or after dinner grab the family and go for a walk. It’s something, something more than you did the day before.
- Find an exercise buddy. If you have no friends or family members available to join you, check out sites like http://exercisefriends.com, http://fitlink.com or http://readytosweat.com. These sites have you complete a profile then match you with a compatible exercise buddy. Be completely honest when filling out the profile, highlight your strengths and weaknesses. Not your style? Try putting the leash on the dog and head out. Remember if they are not conditioned for long walks, they need to work up to it too. See if your local place of worship has a physical or virtual bulletin board where you can post that your are looking for an exercise partner. Also, check to see if your local shopping mall has an organized mall walking group. Many times this is organized by the mall or a local hospital. Often they will have a particular day a month that they offer blood pressure checks and provide health education. The benefits of an exercise buddy/mall walking group include accountability, companionship and security. The mall also protects you from the elements. If you know someone is counting on you or will be waiting for you to show, you are more likely to drag yourself to meet them. Time passes faster when you have a companion. This goes for most anything in life. Like anything else, there is safety in numbers. I suggest meeting your exercise buddy at a public place the first time. If you get an uncomfortable feeling, don’t leave. Always carry ID, your cell phone and the name and number of an emergency contact. You never know if you will need this. An undesirable person is less likely to approach a group exercising than an individual. The cell phone is also useful if you get caught in an unexpected storm.
- Check out sites by http://mapmyfitness.com like http://mapmywalk.com, http://mapmyrun.com, http://mapmyride.com. They provide tools for you to measure walking/running or biking routes. They also sharing tools so you can see routes other users have created. The site tells you the distance and have a rating system for users to rate a route. You can add stops to the route. You can email the route to friends to see if anyone is interested in meeting you along the route or post to your friends via Facebook. I email the route to myself so I can pick it up on my phone. I also leave the route up on my computer screen. If for any reason, I do not make it home, there is a map of my intended location. Another benefit built-in to these site is the My Training Log. It allows you to track your distance, # of calorie burned, your weight change, average # of hours of sleep and your average morale. These sites allow you to mix up your route by location, elevation and distance adding variety to your workout and preventing boredom.
So now you have some basic tools to help you start an organized workout plan. Hopefully you will be able to draw from one or two of these tips and create time for exercise in your day. If you stick with it, you will notice that your are able to think more clearly, sleep better and have more energy to focus on the important things in your life.
P.S. Did I mention, all of the basic services of sites I listed are free? No excuses. Get to it! Good luck!
Kim Oser, Certified Professional Organizer ®