It is now several weeks since the first of the year. Many of you have had all of the best intentions to get in shape. But statistics indicate that most people, after six to eight weeks, begin to lose the impetus to continue with a new fitness regimen they committed to only weeks earlier. Why the drop off when getting in shape is shown to be integral in overall well-being? Some people stop or slack off because what they have committed to is not realistic for their lives. Others stop because they are having pain or have become injured. If you feel the need to slow down or stop now is the time to pause and re-evaluate what is working and what is not. Now is the time to determine if there is a better and more rational approach to both looking and feeling good and achieving life-long health and wellness.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Did I enjoy the exercise program I was doing?
Did I fully understand proper alignment and body mechanics and how to execute all of the exercises I was doing?
Was I free of pain when exercising?
Did the program feel appropriate for my fitness level?
Did the program feel right for other obligations in my life?
If you answered no to two or more questions than now is not the time to stop but to follow the principle of the three R’s (Re-evaluate, Re-design and Re-fuel). Giving up should not be an option.
First, address any injuries that you have. Second, learn about your body and discover what is efficient alignment (you can check out an earlier submission to this blog on alignment or contact a recommended physical therapist to guide you through this). Discover what efficient posture is. What are your weaknesses and strengths? What muscles are weak? What muscles are tight? Find exercises that address these issues. Then do these exercises to augment the fitness activity that you love. Always consider any medical condition, past surgery or current injury before getting started. Apply the principles of efficient alignment and posture to the exercises that you love.
If you are injured you can and should continue to exercise without putting stress or aggravating the injured body part. You will feel better and heal better if you are keeping the rest of you in shape.
Work at intensities that are appropriate for you. If you are working too intensely for your fitness level your body will not be able to withstand the stress and break down will occur. Obviously you need to be challenged but you need to gauge where you are at present and what you may need. You can change your programs from workout to workout but you should always keep in mind proper alignment and body mechanics and what your specific fitness needs are.
Finally, figure out a schedule and approach that caters to your life and obligations. You may have to make some schedule adjustments and small sacrifices but it will be well worth it.