Thursday, March 3, 2011

More Ways to Exercise

As winter drags on, workouts seem to require more mental energy than I have available. True, suited up and out the door I usually escape my motivational black hole, but getting to that point is becoming increasingly difficult as the season wears on. And the degree of difficulty is directly correlated with the temperature outside: the lower the temps, the lower my motivation.

I know I’m not alone in my struggle. One of my close friends, another obsessive runner type, recently took an entire week off running. This wasn’t an intentional, planned vacation for her. No, those are the kind that actually boost our energy levels and return us to mental rock star status. Instead, it was a week filled with disappointment and negativity… exactly the opposite of what she’s used to getting from fitness.

It’s time to remind myself of some important tidbits you’ll find in Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom (Andrews McMeel, 2011) when it hits the stores at the end of this month. In the book, my co-author and I devote an entire chapter (Chapter 8: Get Moving: There’s More than One Way to Exercise) to the various types of exercise we can engage in—from the therapeutic kind that helps heal an injury or muscular imbalance to those hard core athletic workouts that leave us wonderfully tired and exhausted. Somewhere in between those two workouts is the secret to my sanity for the next month.

As an endurance athlete, I think I sometimes take my fitness for granted. If I miss a workout, I feel bad in a guilt-ridden sort of way. I think about the impact my missed run or ride will have on my performance, but I usually don’t think about what it’s doing to my body. And that’s where the different kind of workouts fit in.

My goal for the next month is to focus on protective exercise (for me means stretching and strength training) that will get me ready to turn things up a notch in the spring. Lucky for me these are the same kinds activities that help me settle my mind, too. (Read that as lots of hot yoga. I did say hot, right? Hot as in NOT COLD!). I’m going to knowingly dial back a bit on my cardio be happy with whatever time I can collect.

What are you doing to push through this final month of winter (especially if you're in a colder clime like me)? Are you going to put your head down and plow on through, or slow down and watch the snow melt a little more?

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