Despite our best intentions to stay active, for many of us, our activity level is the first thing to go during the week. It’s pushed aside for checking emails or getting kids to camp. Finding a way to get daily exercise becomes a chore rather than a release. And it’s quickly bumped off the schedule…. until the weekend. Then we become what I call, “The Weekend Warrior”. With the freedom of the weekend, we try and make-up for all our missed exercise opportunities in just 2 days. The Weekend Warrior wants to run 5 miles when he would normally only run 1, or she wants to bike 20 miles instead of 5. And why not? You finally have the time to focus and make exercise the priority of your day!? Viva la weekend!
Well the problem is this habit is not only a shock to our sedentary system, but it can end up causing injuries. Consider the in inactivity that happens during the average American week. We drive to work, sit all day at our computers, inhale a quick lunch at our desk while checking emails, work another 5 hours or so, get home and collapse on the couch with a take-out dinner and the remote. Then we try and go from 0 to 60. Common injuries for a Weekend Warrior are throwing your back out, tendonitis, knee problems, and muscles so sore that you are hurting for days. Perhaps you hurt so much from your weekend of health… that you have to take another week off before exercising again. And the whole cycle starts over.
So, what are the solutions to our overscheduled, under active society that we have created for ourselves? There are a few. If we truly want to change, we need to make consistent efforts. Think tortoise rather than hare.
* The #1 easiest and healthiest thing that you can do is walk, any kind of walking! Park a little further away from the door. Rock star parking is for rockstars, everyone else needs a little walk every day. Walk to a local restaurant, rather than drive. And walk the dog. Your furry friend would like a walk too.
*Add some kind of bodyweight exercise to your day:
- planks ( I love plank! It’s the perfect core work out. Just hold it for 30sec-1min. 3-4 times.)
- push ups ( Start on an incline, keeping your head higher than your feet. Try pushing off the edge or your bed or wall to build strength. )
- mini squats building to deeper ones (15 squats, 3-4 sets)
- lunges (I like reverse lunge. You step back into the lunge rather than forward. 10 lunges, 3-4 sets)
- All of these should be done in balance. Start with a smaller range until more strength and stability is achieved.
* Yoga is another practice that can add quality to your life. Just a few sun salutations in the morning can make your day.
The key is some kind of daily physical practice, aim for ½ hour. But every spare minute can be a benefit. Try adding several 10min burst of squats or yoga behind you desk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Even if you “have NO time” to dedicate to exercise during the week, these small additions will keep your joints lubricated and heart pumping.
If you are like me you may prefer company with your workout. I’m so much more likely to make time in my schedule if I’m planning with other people. Here are some of my favorite and fun work outs in Austin:
Skate for fitness Friday at 10-11:30 $10 Adult Skate http://
Yoga Yoga http://www.yogayoga.com/
Black swan yoga amazing teachers, fun classes http://www.blackswanyoga.com/
Dancers Shape http://www.dancersshape.
Austin simply Fit http://austinsimplyfit.com/
Daring Diva Dance (Nia) http://drdebkern.com/daring-
Just get your body moving, everyday, and be sure to progress gradually!! (Especially with starting a running program. Run slower than you think.)
With weights and conditioning try and work the whole body. But be aware of any stress you are putting on your body. If you do a heavy leg day of squats and lunges, then the next day you should work on your arms. Mix it up. Focusing on an even fully body work out with a rest day sprinkled in between.
As always please check with your doctor when starting an exercise program especially if you have health concerns. Be well and Get moving!