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Your Approach to Exercise and Diet Is What Matters!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sometimes getting up and moving around more isn't as easy as it sounds. We can force ourselves to do more, faster, in the pursuit of the "quick fix or solution" but then we risk injury or burnout. When we overdo or try to exercise too much, too soon, it is self defeating. The trick is to use moderation. Starting with baby steps is key, even if you've exercised in the past. Where you are right now, this very minute, is the most important thing. Get rid of the thinking that says, "I used to be able to run 3 miles without any problem. Or maybe it's ... Five years ago a group of us rode 20 miles on our bikes every Saturday. Or perhaps it's... When I was in my 30's I could do zumba, step aerobics or body sculpting 3-4 times a week." That was then, this is now.

As many of you may know, I'm the aqua queen. I was doing anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours of water exercise 6 days a week. Then I had a shoulder injury. I switched from using water weights to exercising without water weights. I tried to cut back on my workout times and even switched to just water jogging, with a flotation belt, instead of water aerobics or lap swimming. Eventually, I was forced to exercise out of the water. I walked on the treadmill for an hour and I rode the recumbent cycle for 60-90 minutes. The switch was actually a really good thing because I worked my muscles differently and the recumbent cycle didn't seem to bother my shoulder. Then, when I had shoulder surgery, I was forced to stop exercising for about 5 weeks.

Last week, I was given the green light to start riding the recumbent cycle again. I was very fearful of injury and very protective of my shoulder as well as the rest of my body. It was difficult to reel in my tendency to pick up where I left off, before my surgery. How easy it would have been to slide right back into the routine that "I used to be able to do". Imagine my surprise when I rode the recumbent cycle the first time and I was sore. Fear, led me to reduce my resistance level to 1-2 and my speed to 7-8. At the end of 45 minutes, I had only gone 5 miles and I was sore! I used to be able to ride 8+ miles before in 45 minutes and I felt energized, not sore. Therein lies the glitch in my thinking. As soon as I heard myself say, "But I used to be able to ride 8+ miles in 45 minutes" I knew what the problem was.

It doesn't matter what I used to be able to do. What matters is where I am right now, this very minute. The key to avoiding burnout or injury is to start from where you are right now. Try to forget the past and stay in the present. You are what you are, right now. Oh, my goodness! I just realized that the same thing applies to losing weight! Only use what happened yesterday as a learning tool. Once the lesson is learned, stay in the present. Proceed using moderation. Remember that many baby steps add up to big changes!
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