|Posted on November 15, 2018 at 9:50 AM|
Image by dubajjo from Pixabay.
A couple of questions I am often asked is: When is the best time to exercise? Where should I exercise? It sounds like simple, cut and dried answers would be the key. It is not. God did not create us the same and He certainly didn’t give us all the same lifestyle or family situation. Praise God! Life would be so boring, wouldn't it? When considering the when and where to exercise, there are a few things in your life to consider. Here are some of my thoughts on this topic.
Find Your Rhythm
Everyone has a rhythm. Some people function well early in the morning. Others in the afternoon like me. While other people come alive at night. When I was a lifeguard, I noticed some people practically sprinted into the pool to get their laps done before work. They were full of energy. Others stumbled in a grog, flopped their swim bags on the bleachers, and sort of fell into the pool. Those were the type of people who put me on high alert until I got to know them. Usually by the fifth or sixth lap they woke up. They came up out of the pool full of life and smiles at the end of their swim sets. They were ready to tackle their day. We had the lunch-timers who hurried in, got their mile done, and hurried out to go back to work. Then there were people who came in an hour before the pool closed. Exhausted from their day, they also sort of fell into the pool. Unlike the morning grog people, once they were in the water, they were on the move. As soon as the lifeguard hopped out of the guard chair to let them know it was time to come out, they were ready to shower and go home. As you see, not everyone has the same “best time” as others. What is your best time?
Some rhythms are altered by outside factors. Work life often dictates a rhythm that might not be natural for individuals, like those who stumbled into the pool in the morning. We had morning swimmers, whether or not they were morning people, due to their work schedules. Others showed up at noon for the lunch time swim. While most showed up around 6:30 or later after work. The gym has a similar flow with the cardio and weights. Exercise classes were timed for by the flow of members in and out of the gym. What time are exercise classes, swim times, and the best equipment availability?
Family can dictate an unnatural rhythm. Cars lined up in the cuing system to drop off kids at school or to pick them up after classes can make a big difference when you can sneak in your exercise. Some gym members showed up for a half hour to 45 minute workout then dashed in their sweaty gym clothes to pick up the kids from extracurricular activities. Parents with kids at daycare or the babysitter’s house have a similar situation. Drop the kids off, go to work, work, and pick up the kids after work. These parents have time restrictions to follow. Some parents drop the kids off a bit early, do a short workout in the morning, pop back into the gym for the rest, and pick up their children. Your lunch break schedule works great if your gym is at work or nearby. What snippet of time do you have to do your workout?
Use Your Personality
Some people are introverts. From what I’ve seen, a lot of introverts usually don’t go to exercise classes because the social interactions can not only be overwhelming, but isolating within the group. If an introvert goes to a class, they usually camp out in a back corner or by the door. Otherwise, you will see them in the fitness center or pool. They often prefer to be given a workout or shown how to use the equipment and they are ready to go. This does not mean that they love to be alone all the time or don’t make friends. They just don’t usually thrive in a social environment. Would you rather just do your workout and be done with it?
Some people are extroverts. These people thrive in groups. I’ve seen them flock together in classes, but when you see them in the fitness center, they often have a friend nearby or make friends quickly. They will often enjoy having a workout plan, but some will hire a personal trainer or join a group personal training session. When they go to the pool, they love classes, but sometimes swim laps with a friend. Do you thrive being around people?
Some people have their own internal drive. These people are often introverts, but some are extroverts, too. They don’t need someone to have accountability once they develop a routine. They don’t need rewards after they have been meeting goals because they develop a competition within themselves. They are often bored with rewards before extroverts, unless of course, the reward is something they really want. One gym member told me when I shared what the prize would be for a fitness challenge, “I already have T-shirts and water bottles. I’m good.” The reward doesn’t motivate them to continue exercising, it is only icing on the proverbial cake.
Some people need an external driving force for motivation. These people are rarely able to continue working out or reach goals without some sort of approval or recognition for their achievements. Many are extroverts, but there appears to be a lot of introverts like this, too. You will see them sign up for challenges to work for the reward because it keeps them motivated. Gym members like this, who I helped, would say, “We got T-shirts and water bottles. How about something different?” The prize is the dangling carrot that keeps them going.
Do you like to do things alone or in groups? Do you want someone or something else to keep you motivated, or are you fine without it? All of these influence your time and type of exercise.
Location and Ailability of Workout Space
Working out at work. Working out at work can be a blessing or a bane. It is so convenient to exercise just before work starts, on your lunch break, or right after work ends. However, if your work is like my hubby’s, you may not be able to keep a regular schedule. Meetings, projects, and other unpredictable changes can make regular workouts difficult. Hubby looks at his calendar to plot his runs. Sometimes it works and other times he gets sideswiped by sudden changes. You may also have to consider who is in the company gym when you plan to go. Not everyone you work with makes a great workout buddy and it can be uncomfortable changing in the locker room with your co-workers or boss. You might be able to schedule your workout at off-peak times to get your workout, shower, and change.
Working out at home. This one seems like a great idea. The treadmill and weights are in your basement with rubber mats on the floor. You thought it out well. At first it goes great, butthe basement can be drab unless it is finished and has small windows for natural light. How about setting up a TV to watch while you walk on your treadmill? Kids goofing around can interrupt your workout DVD, absconding with your exercise ball and wriggling giggling bodies roll around on your mat space. *SIGH* You want to encourage them to like exercise, but YOU NEED YOUR WORKOUT. I’ve heard this complaint over and over. I went through this as a young mom trying to work out with Richard Simmons on TV when my kids were little. Home workouts work best if you have a pleasant, designated space with few interruptions. If the kids will work out, too, or play quietly nearby, this would help so many moms. If not, then working out when they kids aren’t home would be the better option.
Another problem may be all the chores calling your name to be done. If you can’t shut out the household to-do list, home workouts may not be the best option for you. What pleasant space do you have? Exercise equipment or mode? What is the family flow?
Workout at gym. Some people need the gym because it is a dedicated space for exercise, childcare is often available, and the price of the gym membership offers more for your exercise options. Unfortunately, if you like exercise classes, you have to go when your class favorites are offered. You will need a plan B if your class is cancelled or changed, though. Sometimes, cardio equipment is taken up during peak times of the day and the New Year’s resolution rush. That can put a ding in your routine. However, gyms are often the best overall option for many people. You don’t have to buy the equipment and often can use equipment superior to the home gym fare. Pick your gym by location, the best price, times for classes or peak times in fitness center and pool that fit your schedule, and childcare options.
I hope these help you get your workout going and running smoothly during the holiday season. After all, the Thanksgiving feast only lasts one or two days then it’s time to get to get your workout on. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
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