Good evening! I have yet another guest post in store for you tonight that was written by the lovely Lauren at One Day at a Time. (Thank you Lauren!) It is an awesome post about getting back into exercise after an injury or other difficulties with some really great tips! Tips that I hope to soon be able to follow… here’s to hoping! I do hope that you all are enjoying these guest posts and laughing and learning! Today was a perfect day for a guest post because it has been an emotionally exhausting day for me. I will share the details of my doctor visit with you tomorrow but I do have to go in for a CT scan tomorrow afternoon. The results of the CT will either be really good news or really bad news… so I’m hoping for the good! I would appreciate any good thoughts, vibes, and prayers sent me way, so very much! Anywho, until then, enjoy the following guest post! And have a fantastic Tuesday loves!
“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
I know that a lot of Process of Healing readers have experienced or are currently experiencing setbacks with exercise. Whether your issue is with an injury, a physical illness, a mental block, an eating disorder, depression, or if you are just plain busy, I want to encourage you to get back in the game. I know how devastating and hopeless it can feel to not be able to move your body and feel the natural high that comes from exercise, but this feeling isn’t permanent. First and foremost, focus on healing. If you don’t let yourself heal whatever your ailment is, you will only do further damage by pushing yourself too hard. This is especially true if you are recovering from an injury that resulted from exercise itself, like a stress fracture from running. Back off that particular exercise for a while and take it easy. When you are ready to ease back into exercise, I recommend that you consider the following steps:
- Take it slow
I called this post “Life is a Process” because I think that your whole life is a process of healing. There will always be something in your life that challenges you, and there will always be a struggle. Every problem you encounter will seem like less of a crisis if you take a deep breath and tackle it one step at a time. I think this is the best way to get back into exercise. If you have been healing from an injury or recovering from an eating disorder, you probably aren’t ready to go climb Mount Everest. Your energy might be low, and your body hasn’t been properly trained for that kind of intense exertion. If you have had an eating disorder in particular, then you know that rushing back into intense exercise and obsessing over calories burned would be detrimental to your recovery. Don’t be afraid to take it slow. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You can start with short walks, that eventually turn into long walks or runs. Go for an easy bike ride, take a gentle yoga class, or go in the pool for a swim. Be kind and gentle to your body and allow it to adjust to movement again.
(Side note: If you have been injured or ill, make sure you clear it with your doctor before doing any new exercise)
- Consider an activity that has a concrete beginning and end
This is a big one for those of you who tend to get a little obsessed with exercise. You don’t want to put your poor body through 8 hours of nonstop movement. Your body needs rest and recovery. This is important for future injury prevention, and it is also so important for your mental state. Remember, exercise should be fun. You should get joy and happiness out of it. It shouldn’t be a chore. If you miss a work out, you should be able to shrug it off, say “No biggie”, and get back to it when you can. I find it helpful to set a certain time for exercise. For example, say to yourself that you will go swimming for a half hour. When the half hour is up, stop, get out of the pool, and go do something else! Or do an exercise DVD that is an hour long, and when it is over, you know you are done for the day. Fill your life with lots of activities so that you never get bored. Find other passions like photography or pottery or whatever you like, so that you are well rounded. You want fitness to be a part of your life, but certainly not the only thing in your life.
- Make it social
This is a good way to keep things fun and upbeat. No matter what your setback is, exercising with other people encourages you to actually do it, to stop when they stop, and to have a fabulous time while you’re at it. Make sure to choose friends who have a healthy body image and positive outlook on life. You don’t want any negativity around you at this time. You want people who will encourage you to be healthy and happy, and comfortable in your own skin. You also want to be around people who you genuinely like and enjoy spending time with, so that whatever you are doing will be as much fun as possible. Some suggestions: go for a walk, jog, or run with a friend (depending on where you’re at with your physical fitness) or play a sport like basketball or volleyball. Do whatever will lift your spirits and keep you active.
- Be nice to yourself. Love yourself.
This is the most important thing for healing yourself and your life. It also might be the hardest part. You have to grant yourself the same kindness you would give to others. If you have a bad day, please just let it go. Don’t get hung up on it. Don’t obsess over it or dwell on it. Just forget about it and move on. Our mistakes or our hardships don’t define who we are, they help us to learn who we want to be. Discover who you are by finding what you are passionate about, and make the time to do it. Let yourself be happy, because you deserve it. Keep all the things you love about yourself at the front of your mind. When a negative thought starts to creep in, kick it out, stat! Those thoughts are not welcome. Exercise for the pure joy of it, and do it because you love yourself and want to live a long, happy, healthy life.
So there you have it. That is the best advice I can give to you. I am not an expert, just a regular person who has tried to learn from past experiences and move forward with life. I believe that everyone who struggles with something, no matter what it is, will be able to get past it and live the best life possible. I am right there with you, fighting to be healthy and happy, so I know what it is like to be in a dark place. Remember that you can overcome anything, and at the end you will have your very own inspirational story to tell.