Planning for Success with Exercise
By Claire Smick-Kuhn, PT
There is no better time to start an exercise program than when you have made the commitment to improving your health with bariatric surgery. Planning is essential for anyone who is truly dedicated to starting an exercise program and improving their health and fitness. In our busy lives it is easy to find something to do besides exercise; with work, children and household demands.
Exercise can quickly fall off the “to do” list. Women in particular can have a hard time making themselves and their health a priority. That is why it is essential to have an exercise plan: exercise doesn’t just happen. You must know when it’s going to happen. Sit down, take a serious look at your schedule and think about when and how you can exercise.
If you struggle to get out of bed, hitting the snooze five times each morning, then morning may not be the best time for you. But I do encourage morning work-outs if at all possible for a number of reasons. First, exercise is a great way to wake yourself up and get your metabolism going. Secondly, most people tend to have more energy and the least pain in the morning. It can be really hard to convince yourself to go to the gym after a long day of work, particularly if your back and feet are already talking to you. Thirdly, when you exercise in the morning, you have one less thing hanging over your head for the day. Start your day feeling good about yourself and knowing that you have already crossed one critical item off that “to do” list.
Finally, many people feel guilty about exercising because they feel they are taking time away from their children and families. An early morning work-out when the kids are still asleep, lets you focus on your work and children the rest of the day with no self-recriminations. Make sure, however, that your children know you are exercising; by exercising on a regular basis you are showing your children that exercise is an important priority in your life, modeling a behavior that they will imitate as they grow older.
If you know you are not a morning person or already get up at the crack of dawn, then be honest with yourself. Don’t schedule your exercise when you know you won’t follow through; instead plan your exercise around your commitments. If you work an early shift, bring your exercise gear with you in your car and go to the gym immediately after work. Never go home first. There will always be a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes, and once you sit down it is almost impossible to get yourself motivated to get up and head out for exercise. If you have an hour long break for lunch, consider spending half of that time exercising. Find a co-worker to walk with you which makes the time really fly.
If your health is truly a priority, almost everyone can find time to exercise. You just need to plan for it. Mark your exercise time out on your calendar, schedule it five times a week and don’t let life interfere with your health.