By Toni Aikins
Throughout the years, I struggled to maintain a consistent exercise routine. Trying to balance career and family while at the same time maintaining a healthy workout has been difficult. As I have become older, I find that exercise also plays a key factor in mental health. The focus should not always be about losing weight, but feeling good. I finally found that balance in my life by creating a challenge for myself that has been a blessing. This is the most fit I have been in my life and it feels awesome!
I’ve done it by challenging myself to run/walk/or hike a total of 10 miles a week. I don’t force myself to exercise every day. That will lead to failure! This personal challenge promotes the idea of flexibility. It is important to remember that your exercise routine may be adjusted every week to take into account your daily schedule, parenting, work, and those unexpected events that life brings! So I exercise on the days that work best for me, keeping in mind that on day seven I want it to add up to 10 miles.
This technique directly fits into the work our staff is doing on campus with the children who live at Hillsides. Through a Sports and Fitness program, staff encourage children to get active and focus solely on the positive gains rather than on any setbacks. Staff also keep exercise positive by rewarding the children with fun incentives for a good attitude and participation, such as colorful shoe laces, water bottles, and T-shirts. We all need a little rewarding when we reach our exercise goals.
Below are the tips I have found useful in sticking to an exercise routine. Give them a try yourself. I promise you will feel better about yourself!
- Use an App to track your miles. I like Nike Run.
- Drink lots of water especially if the weather is hot.
- Have good walking or running shoes. Your feet are important!
- Make sure you have healthy snacks around. Junk food is no good!
- Schedule your workouts for the week on paper or in your head so it becomes part of your routine for that week.
- Stretch to avoid muscle cramping.
- Be careful if you’re injured not to push yourself. You don’t want it to get worse.
- Listen to music when I run. It makes it go faster.
- Take a rest day. Without a break you can burn out.
- If you have a bad week, don’t beat yourself up. There is always another week.
- Congratulate yourself at the end of the week for completing the challenge. You deserve it.