11 Easy Ways to Get Back to Fitness

fitness.jpgLike many people, I periodically fall off the fitness and eating well wagon, typically due to stress and sometimes due to injury. And though I happily resumed exercise once I received my 6-week postpartum clearance, this fall, self-care fell to the wayside due to new home and work commitments. And it's taken it's toll. Not only do I feel a little squishy around the edges, but more troubling, I've felt tired, tense, and well in need of a vantage point beyond my laptop.

Like many moms, it often feels impossible to carve out time. But despite my current scenario -- starting this week I have even less childcare hours in which to run multiple businesses -- I am committed to making this happen. I've been jotting down inspiration points over the past week; here are 11 easy ways to get back to fitness -- all of them have helped motivate me at one time or another!

1. Chat with a fitness-enthused friend. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I saw my friend Andrew, a couch (computer?) potato turned marathon runner. His energy is utterly infectious and after talking with him about his training, I felt eager to lace up my sneakers. Also, when he says stuff like, "I went for a 15 mile run this morning" I figure I can make the time to run 15 minutes.

2. Rally via social media. I credit social media (particularly, my friends behind The Shredheads) for getting me back on the fitness wagon a couple of years ago. There's something oddly motivating about putting out there that you are waffling about a run and then having a bunch of people tweet or Facebook you, barking at you to get your butt out the door. And just the other day, I posted that I took a 15 minute midday break to stretch and encouraged other people to do the same -- even if they got weird looks at the office -- and people responded, thanking me for the inspiration and telling me they stretched. So fun!

3. Pick up a fitness magazine. The other day I bought a running magazine -- there's something about the glossy photos featuring happy people working out that helps me forget (temporarily at least!) how labored I sometimes feel when I'm out on the pavement. Plus, I usually pick up some good tips for nutrition or short workouts.

4. Remember that 10-20 minutes is still awesome. Pursuant to the above point, I once read in a running magazine that 10 minutes of running is better than no running, and I completely agree. If you can do more, fantastic, but my point is, just do something and don't be hindered by the idea that if you can''t do a full 45-60 minute workout it isn't worth it (which is what used to hang me up).

5. Multitask. Since I've been short on time lately, the best way I have found to fit exercise in is via multitasking. I'll run to the post office and back. I've even run to meetings and back (thankfully, my business partner doesn't mind if I show up sweaty). Just yesterday I broke out the jogging stroller for the first time and took Violet out for a zoom to pick a few things up at Whole Foods. She loved it!

6. Set small, achievable goals. Although I think it's great to put big things (e.g., marathon) on your life list, they can be daunting in the now if you're just trying to get back to things. Set smaller goals, such as "run 15 minutes" or "run a 5K" or "do 5 push-ups." I highly recommend Couch to 5K if you want to experiment with running -- this is the plan that helped convert me from a non-runner to someone who could participate in a 200-mile relay race.

7. Exercise with friends. Meet up with friends for a run, walk, or Zumba class. Sign up for a race together. Other people will help hold you accountable.

8. Put it in your calendar. If you're like me and live and breathe by your to-do lists, put exercise on your to-do list or calendar. I'm getting in the habit of mapping out my fitness plan as I review the week ahead every Sunday.

9. Track data. If tracking data renders a sense of accomplishment and motivates you, sign up with something like Daily Mile. It's basically Facebook for fitness. You'll get reports about mileage covered and can interface with your friends (or complete strangers) and motivate one another.

10. Gear up. One thing that can set you up for failure is not having gear that fits or works. If your yoga gear is ill fitting or threadbare you will not feel comfortable downward dogging. Or if your running shoes are old and worn out, you will hurt more the day following and will not want to run again. Gear up so you can get moving safely and comfortably.

11. Try something new. Getting bored makes it easy to fall off the wagon. I've being doing my running/yoga mix for a long time now and though I'm enjoying it since I'm just getting back into it again, I'm also thinking about investigating something new, like ballet. (Cue image of Olivia the pig envisioning herself on stage.)

I hope these tips are helpful -- if you have others to share, I've love to read them in the comments below!

Image credit: photostock via FreeDigitalPhotos.net