Laurel Dierking, MEd, NFPT

Lets face it, for most of us, it may already be a challenge to have any kind of exercise routine, let alone stick with a consistent workout schedule amidst the demands of life. Between family, work, traveling or vacationing, life can sometimes make it difficult to maintain our ideal exercise program. Nonetheless, it should ALWAYS be a priority to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Exercise is a method to accomplish all of those important aspects in one! We know that exercise is a natural stress reliever, energy provider, calorie burner, meditation, and even the much needed alone time that we can so easily talk ourselves out of for any number of reasons. If you notice that you are frequently talking yourself out of your exercise routine that you worked so hard to build, it may be time to do some self-evaluation.

Boredom, over-exertion, negative thought patterns, stress and poor eating habits are just a few common occurrences that can lead to self-sabotage. The good thing is that it is not the end of the world and ideally exercise is something that you will continue as long as you are able-bodied. So, remember that you are human and we will go through emotional ups and downs. If you miss a week of workouts, don’t hold a grudge, move on, and get back on track! Be patient with yourself and pay attention to your own habits and thought patterns so you can better learn yourself and how to push through the madness!

Change It Up!

One of the most common reasons why people fall off the exercise wagon is boredom. After four to six weeks of a consistent exercise regimen, it is necessary to switch the modality of work. For example, if you have been going on a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood 5 days a week for the last 6 weeks, your body has likely adjusted to this workload and is no longer improving its cardiovascular health (only maintaining its current state) and is no longer creating new muscle strength. So, switch it up! Increase your intensity by jogging short intervals, or run/walk on a new trail! Ride a bike instead of walk, or go swimming instead. The possibilities are endless. Find a new modality of exercise that excites you and go for it!

It is crucial not only for your physical well-being to switch up your routine, but also for mental health. Making your body adjust to a fresh routine forces your brain to create new neurological pathways and enhances nerve receptors. Otherwise, our body will shut down nerve pathways that are not being used. Taking a new way home, trying a new exercise, or changing up the scenery is a natural mood enhancer and gives you the opportunity to observe new sites. This alone is a powerful way to become more aware and be present in the moment.

Think Positive!

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what are your thoughts? How do you describe or talk about yourself to other people? Is there a negative connotation behind your thoughts and words? Do you view yourself in a positive, compassionate way? Negative thoughts about ourselves have the power to break down your work ethic and can foster self-sabotage. There is no other enemy in this case but ourselves. So ditch the negative thoughts and stay focused on your goals. Allow your body to build up strength and have self-compassion for all the hard work you are doing. Exercise is ideally a long-term commitment that will not yield results overnight. Be patient with yourself and learn to love and accept your body, no matter where you are with your goals. This is THE most important aspect of holistic health.

What habits are consistently coming up as excuses to not continue your progress toward health? Which of those can you drop? These are questions to ask yourself. It would be easy to list all of the negative effects of not exercising, but lets focus on the positive! Why would you stop?! You can only gain by continuing your exercise routine. Focus on the way you feel after your workout and the benefits of moving forward with new strength. Keep moving forward, be creative, and above all, love yourself the entire way.

About the Author:
Working within the health field for three years, Laurel Dierking MEd, NFPT, is passionate about cultivating body, mind and spirit awareness through holistic health practices. As a Health and Fitness Professional and yoga instructor at JKFITNESS, Laurel strives to guide individuals on a path to self-awareness, long-term functional fitness, and weight-loss management.

Disclaimer: Before starting any exercise program, please consult with your healthcare provider. This blog post does not reflect the views of the OAC, the National Board of Directors or staff. Information contained in this blog post is not based on scientific research and has not been validated. The OAC does not endorse any merchandise or program mentioned in this blog post.