April 3, 2017

Fitness: Use it, Lose it or Regain it

We’ve heard it all before: use it or lose it, when it comes to fitness or exercise. Isn’t that the truth? We can all relate to this. And we know the benefits of exercise, right? Whew. Sometimes life seasons can make staying active, well- difficult. Which can you relate to?

  • Maybe it’s just getting back into exercise in general, or movement, due to any injury, lack of interest, not a priority, babies and pregnancies, or motivation.
  • Or maybe the focus for you is mainly cardio and aerobic activity, so strength training hasn’t been a top priority.
  • Or maybe life got busy and your fitness, exercise, or training was just not a top priority for a period of time.
  • Or should we even address stretching? Yikes, I know… let’s move on…

Personally my hardest times were…

  • during high school (10th-11th grade where let’s be honest- this is a confusing and weird stage of life)
  • graduate school (for me- it was stress and juggling responsibilities)
  • and after having babies/juggling the work/life balance combo (loving yourself and the capacities of your body to birth a human [!!] while also wanting to feel “like yourself” again).

And note- it’s still a work in progress for me.

Every season of life brings it’s dynamics of how to move (for strength or a challenge, yet without causing injury), when to move (hence the work/life/family balance), and yet reap the benefits (body/mind/spirit- all equally important).

Muscles thrive on activity and when there’s no activity to stimulate or challenge the muscle, buh-bye. It’s true, use it or lose it. But we also have the option to regain it. #thankgoodness. Just because we may lose it doesn’t mean we don’t have the ability to regain it. Don’t lose hope. Maybe based on your personal circumstances, health history, or capabilities, regaining it may look different but it certainly is hopeful for the future.

Sometimes the hardest part is wanting to just jump right back into where you want to be, or where you left off. But your body is like, uh-no. I can’t do that anymore. So the mental reframing of the mind concerning where your starting point actually is may be more eye opening than expected. And honestly, annoying. Because we just want to get there. Forget the process or the journey, let’s just get to our desired destination. Ha.

But isn’t it the truth that the learning happens in the process or in the journey? ::rolls eyes:: Yeah, I know. I get it. So let’s make the journey fun, interesting, and/or joyful.

For example, in my Stress Management class I brought the class over to the Wellness Center to participate in yoga through exercise (one of the many stress management practices we practice), as opposed to yoga for relaxation (even though we do that too). I coordinated the instruction of the class to be with a top notch yoga instructor who has the heart of a teacher- soft, kind, explains poses thoroughly with encouragement, passionate about the practice, etc. It was fantastic. The mixture of yoga experience varied among the students- very experienced, somewhat experienced, and no experience in a yoga practice at all. But everyone tried, and that’s key. We had some people with wobbly feet, some with off balanced centeredness, and some awkwardness- myself included. But we all tried and we were in it together. That is key, because none of us were perfect (far from it!)- even those who were most experienced. #perfectlyimperfect. By the end of class we all agreed that we were sweaty and it was challenging, but we all had smiles on our faces from trying the activity together.

In the trying, with community, came the joy.

I was talking to some students as everyone was putting their mats and blocks away and she stated that she thought she was in really good shape, but coming and trying yoga again (even with a different instructor) was a good reminder that she has ignored some muscles along the way… and she had some regaining to do. 🙂

#truth. Solid reminders.

After our yoga class and everyone left. Movement with others is motivating for me. I’m real happy here. 

We do have the ability to use it and regain it. It’s not lost forever (whether it’s your health in general, your strength, your flexibility, whatever). We can do it and even enjoy the process (gasp!)– whatever that looks like for you. For me, it’s people. I’m encouraged by people and fun. So if I’m not at a group fitness class or participating in a community 5K, I’m at home using online videos and fun music. Or I’m infusing it into a “family dance party” or something (as challenging this is sometimes), or I just need to designate a “me time” where my hubs or secure babysitter because I need to prioritize myself. Personally my challenge is when I’ll do it, because if I don’t do it in the morning- it won’t get done. The morning is my glory time- however it works out.

Sometimes we just need a kick in the pants. Maybe that kick in the pants is a friend, or a spouse, or financially signing up for a class/program/instructor because if you put your money on it- you’ll go (because you don’t want to lose that money!). Maybe it’s the doctor saying, let’s go. Maybe it’s just to feel better or to feel less pains and aches. Maybe it’s the upcoming vacation as motivation, or the need to move around to enjoy kids/grandkids. Whatever the reason- let’s use it to our advantage.

We have hope! We have the ability to use it and regain it. While it may look different today, what has been lost is certainly not lost forever.


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