Finding time, energy and motivation to exercise as a mom can be like walking uphill in stilettos.
For me, almost any time I’ve tried to exercise in any capacity, my Lyme Disease has flared– leaving me worse off than when I started.
Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness or physical injury knows– there’s seriously nothing more discouraging than feeling worse because of exercise.
Out of breath? No problem.
But feeling sick or in pain as a direct result of exercise is just not awesome, nor does it breed motivation.
However, it’s worth considering the joys we are missing by slumping in this area of life.
Recently, I’ve turned a corner regarding exercise by taking myself through a process. Check it out and give it a go:
Here are 4 Steps to Take Before Moving a Muscle:
Step 1: Identify your internal dialogue.
Many years ago, after trying to exercise time and again and being shot down by my disease more times than I can count, I started speaking an internal phrase to myself that went something like this:
You can’t exercise and you will never be able to do anything beyond survive.
Of course (as with the best of lies),there’s a lot of truth in there. My body, for the foreseeable future is weak, limited and invaded at a cellular level by a vicious disease that has stolen a great deal of my strength for the majority of the last 2 decades of my life.
But the truth is, just because I can’t do everything, doesn’t mean I should do nothing.
What’s the voice in your head saying that is keeping you from moving?
I’m too overweight to exercise.
My injuries make it impossible to exercise.
I’ve just never been very athletic.
Step 2: Separate the truth from the lies.
After identifying the lie, figure out truth from fiction. For instance:
I am overweight, but that’s why I need to exercise. I may not be able to go for a jog right out of the gate, but I can begin somewhere.
My injuries keep me from a lot of activities. I should ask my doctor what types of movements would strengthen, not aggravate my injuries.
I’ve never been good at sports, but I am going to try something else that doesn’t involve as much coordination.
Step 3: Set Yourself Up for Success
This next step boils down to one piece of advice: Don’t be an idiot.
Bodies need time to adapt to new levels of movement. If you set out to run a marathon tomorrow after a lifetime of sitting on a couch, you will fail miserably. Worse, you will be much more likely to give up.
Start by asking yourself these 2 questions and write down your answers. Post them somewhere visible as a reminder of your plan. Be as specific as possible.
- Where would I like to end up? Remember– be specific.
Use numbers (i.e. weight, duration of exercise, etc.) and motivation wording (i.e. strong, healthy, balanced).
- What is a reasonable place for me to start?
This will vary drastically for each person. At the beginning of the year, I kicked off my first attempt at re-entering exercise. For me, walking to the mailbox (3 minutes) can be a lot on a Lyme flare day, so I decided to make my goal small, consistent, non-cardio and doable.
I committed 7 minute ‘workout’ every day for 60 days- with the caveat that if I was flaring really bad, I could do light stretching for 7 minutes instead. And guess what? I did it!
Since then, I’ve had my ups and down. At times I’ve been able to build, while other times, I’ve regressed. But the important thing is, I’m doing something!
Step 4: Get a Partner
Exercising with friends can be very motivating and I encourage you to do it! However, when I depend on someone else to exercise, I generally end up skipping when they skip. Also, as a competitive person, it KILLS me that I can’t keep up with anyone because of my health issues…
Rather than exercising with someone, try exchanging goals with a like-minded friend and check in at designated times. It’ll make a HUGE difference.
**Keep in mind that if you do the other steps and miss this one, you’re probably going to give up at some point! So get going!
Please repost or tweet this to anyone it may encourage!!!