Life happens. We can be sticking to a workout program for awhile and then boom... we get sick. Or we take a vacation. Or we get injured. Even the most dedicated among us face these challenges, you are not alone!
In order to avoid a fitness relapse, we must look ahead at possible obstacles to exercise and make plans to overcome them. That way, when life happens, you'll be ready!
Here are some of the most common obstacles you may face in maintaining your exercise regimen and how to overcome them:
1. Injury or Illness
Sometimes you just can’t (and shouldn’t) exercise due to injury or illness. But don't let this set you back too far, and spiral into weeks of inactivity. Instead, focus on what you CAN do, what you're body is ABLE to do.
Sprained your ankle and can’t run? Try swimming, or focus on upper body strength training. Have a cold and feel totally exhausted? Go for a nature walk and get some fresh air and sunshine. The key component during illness or injury is to keep up your momentum with some kind of activity, no matter how small, so as not to break your regular exercise habit.
When life gets crazy and you’re feeling overwhelmed, exercise might seem like too much. Though you probably know exercise is a powerful stress-reliever, it still isn’t easy to act on that knowledge during high-stress times.
And, because exercise is a stressor on the body, intense exercise during tense periods may be counterproductive. To enjoy the stress-reducing benefits of activity and avoid relapse during chaotic times, focus on movement that you really enjoy, and that you feel energized by.
If a high-intensity interval class or an 8-mile run feels overwhelming, it may be. If exercise feels like an additional stressor, you’re far less likely to do it. Decide which types of movement feel energizing and/or relaxing to you, and focus on these when stress levels rise. Try dancing or yoga, or even go hiking at a state park!
**Side Note: Having a group of women who are also on a health and fitness journey to keep you encouraged along the way is CRUCIAL! If you haven't joined our FREE Facebook Group yet, come join us now and let us help you stay motivated!
3. Hitting Plateaus
Even with a well-structured exercise routine, you will eventually hit a plateau. If a change in physical appearance or a certain number on the scale is your only reason to be active, this can quickly lead to frustration and relapse.
To prevent this, create non-weight-related goals to drive your motivation. Make a list of all the benefits you get from exercise, such as increased energy and stamina, better sleep, enhanced mood or simply the joy of moving your body.
When you’re struggling through a plateau, pull out this list and reconnect with these motivations. You will see that you actually ARE progressing because you can carry the baby and the groceries around easier, you can play with your kids or your dog without getting out of breath so fast.
You have more energy throughout the day. When you're not seeing a change physically, remember there are still changes happening, you just have to be able to recognize them.
4. Lack of Time
The most common thing I hear from clients is "I'm just too busy, I don't have time!".
Jobs, kids, social obligations and other responsibilities can add up quick, leaving you with no time left at the end of the day to workout. When time is tight, physical activity is easily pushed aside.
Overcoming this obstacle requires a mindset shift and planning. Our bodies are meant to move, and when we learn to see exercise as a necessity to a happy healthy life, it becomes easier to make it a priority.
Plan exercise into your schedule and mark it on your calendar as you would any other appointment. This way, you plan AROUND it, rather than trying to find a way to fit it in at the end of your day when you're tired.
If you still find lack of time is an issue, start with just five minutes of activity daily. We ALL have 5 minutes! These five minutes will add up to modest health improvements, but more importantly, they will instill a habit of regular exercise you can build upon.
When it's a beautiful day outside, it’s easy to get out and move. But when the weather gets miserable, it can become alot harder.
Instead of waiting for a sunny day, plan a strategy for the change in seasons. While your normal routine may take you outdoors or to the gym, your crappy weather sessions might look different. Put together a warm and dry place you can move during winter months. This may be in your basement with an exercise video! Create an inviting space that inspires and motivates you.
Remember that all movement counts! If you wait for perfect weather, you’ll be inactive much of the year.
When you start to notice you are falling off track of your health and fitness goals, stop and take notice of what is happening around you, and what may be causing it. Then, come up with some strategies to work around the obstacles.
And most importantly, always remember you are never "finished", there is no end game in health and fitness. You will ALWAYS be learning and growing, this is a lifelong process.
Enjoy the journey!