Sunday, April 24, 2016

Five Tips for Getting #sweatyin30

When I was a child, my brothers and I loved watching The Jetsons. The antics of the eponymous futuristic family were highly entertaining. I distinctly remember the episode in which Mrs. Jetson had to be treated for 'button pushing disease.' Everything in her life was performed by the push of a button. We laughed uproariously! Can you imagine? Button-pushing disease! Hahahahaha!
Jane Jetson doing Jack Lalane-esque finger exercises in episode 1 of
The Jetsons, which first aired in September of 1962.
image: smithsonianmag.com

Well, here we are, fifty years later, and 'button-pushing disease' is an actual thing. It's called 'carpal-tunnel,' the repetitive stress from pushing buttons. This, coupled with the deleterious effects of simply not moving around much, have left us in sorry shape.

We now live in a world of unprecedented comfort. We can have pre-cooked food delivered to our homes with the push of a button. Vacuuming was the last vestige of moderately strenuous housework. Now you can buy a Roomba and (he? she? it?) will do it for you. This may be convenient, but it's not good for us.

Peeps, I know it is hard to carve out time for exercise, but we have to do it. We were born to move. It's essential.

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We just got home from a week long visit with family. We did a lot of sitting. Sitting in the car. Sitting to visit. Sitting to eat (which we did a lot.) But we kicked off the trip with a drive-by visit to Physique 57 in New York City. As you all know, I *heart* Physique 57 and go whenever I can. I took a deliciously spicy Signature class with a delightful instructor. Later that day, Ashley Perez, another instructor I follow on Instagram, posted a picture of Jacqueline Nickelberry, long-time Physique 57 client, completing a #sweatyin30 challenge she had designed.

The goal of #sweatyin30, according to Ashley, is 'thirty minutes of exertion with a side of sweat.' That's it. No do-this-activity-on-that-day. No over-thinking it.

Just do some movement for thirty minutes, everyday for thirty days, working hard enough that you're getting at least a little misty. 

The blissful simplicity of this directive really struck a chord with me. I've been a fitness buff for a very long time. I've read countless articles on exercise and sifted through differing opinions over the years on the 'best' or 'ideal' way to get in shape. Some of that information is interesting and helpful, but it's easy to get caught in a kind of analysis paralysis. Fear of 'not doing it right,' or not doing 'enough,' can keep us from doing anything at all.

Over the past eighteen months or so, I have struggled mightily with injuries, aches and pains. Consequently, I have become significantly de-conditioned and I've put on weight. Every time I've tried to complete a rotation, I've gotten sidelined by something. Something with my body, something with the small people. And then I'd lose my momentum. It's been frustrating and discouraging.

But this idea of just 30 minutes... Anything for 30 minutes... I could do that.

And so I started. That day. That Physique 57 class, from which I was quite sore for several days, that was day 1. None of this 'I'll start tomorrow' nonsense.

I'm now on day 9. I've done my #sweatyin30 while traveling. I've done it after being up in the night with sick kids. I've done it on only five hours of sleep. I've done it with soreness. I'm not saying I've killed it and dragged it home on some of those really hard days. We've gotten this idea that exercise has to be punishing, but it doesn't! In fact, we really shouldn't kill it and drag it home everyday. On rough days, I've taken fairly gentle walks, I've played around in hotel pools with my kids, I've climbed stairs, I've jumped on a trampoline. The point is to do something. Anything. Just move.

And so with that verbose introduction, here are five tips I can share (you know, from the vast wisdom I have acquired in nine days of working it):

1. Do it in the morning. I know morning exercise doesn't work for everyone, but there is a lot to be said for doing it in the morning. (I don't necessarily mean the minute you get out of bed, just early in the day.) When you give it the first fruits of your day, it is far less likely to be crowded out by other things. I find if I wait too long, it becomes a chore--something hanging over my head that has to be done. I don't like thinking of exercise that way. I don't want it to become a chore, so I usually get it done in the morning.

2. Do it with other people. Personally, I like exercising alone. I'm an introvert and I enjoy the solitude, but exercising with other people has some distinct advantages. It can be more fun, motivating, and it holds you accountable. It's also efficient--catching up with friend, check! Workout--check! All at the same time.

3. Tell people about it! I committed to my #sweatyin30 on Instagram by commenting on Ashley's post. I don't even know Ashley, but I said I'd do it and that was enough to get me up and going on those rough days. There's a burgeoning #sweatyin30 community out there. Join us!

4. Accept limitations, and find creative ways to work around them. We all have limitations. Some are physical, some financial, and all of us are constrained by 24 hours in the day. I know if I wait for all the planets to be properly aligned, I'll never do it. This is my life and I have to work with what I have. Sometimes I play tag with my kids, sometimes I dance around the kitchen for thirty minutes. I prefer a dedicated workout, but it can't always happen.

If money is tight, check out the library or YouTube for free material. On my day six, I streamed a free barre workout and did it on my parents' deck. BAM! Thirty minutes. Sweat like a mad beast. Check!

5. Recognize this is going to cost you something. The Internet is rife with articles about how to do things in 'quick and easy' ways. It doesn't have to be punishing, but it might not be 'easy.' We have to get over our love affair with comfort and convenience. It's going to cost thirty minutes. It's going to cost some energy, but you'll get it back in spades.

We're not asking for blood or tears... just a little sweat.

Are you ready to get #sweatyin30?

Follow me on Instagram @momsatthebarre to see how I'm getting sweaty!

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