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Exercise Flexibility

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Flexibility is an important factor when it comes to living an active life, at least it has been for me. There is something to be said for habits and routines. Some people can schedule their workouts and stick to that schedule with very little deviation. Good for them! But that doesn't work for me.

For one thing, my daughter and son in law each work a full time and a part time job and their schedules vary some. So my schedule for child care changes. Sometimes I have time in the morning, sometimes in the evening, and sometimes I can go to the gym when there is child care available mid-morning, working around dropping and picking up the second grader and getting the grandkids to their commitments like gymnastics, swimming, and ballet.

So I know I'm going to run three times a week and that is the back bone of my fitness schedule. Saturday mornings are my Galloway group long slow run. My daughter only works 4 Saturdays a year and doesn't have to be to work until 8am, so I haven't missed a long run yet. My choices for the other 2 runs are Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-Thursday or Monday-Thursday. Friday, before the long run, is a great day for swimming, but sometimes it is cycling or Zumba or another class at the gym. I always have the kids long hours (til 8pm) on Sunday, so that is often my day of "rest". When I choose to rest on Friday, I get up early to exercise Sunday morning.

During the end of 2009 and all of 2010 I did cardio (walking, elliptical, cycling, aerobics) 3 days a week and usually full body strength training the alternate 3 days a week. In 2011 I backed off of strength training for running. I have missed very few cardio sessions in the last 5 years, a couple times due to illness and a couple times to accommodate healing. Last year the only cardio session I missed for no good reason (busy) was the week of Christmas I only got 2 sessions instead of 3. I have not been near as consistent with the ST. I am now trying to do my strength training of legs on my running days so my legs really get rest, but my core and arms strength training on alternate days. I'm going to set a SparkStreak and try to get consistent in this area, too. I know my body fat percentage is still too high even when my weight is right where I want it.

So my advice is to prioritize activity in your life and find a way it works for you. If you do best with a set schedule, set it. Have a Plan B, though, for those times of surprise. If exercise schedules don't work for you due to practical concerns (like changing work schedules) or due to your mindset (feels constricting), be flexible! You can make it work.
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