Written by: Rosalyn Ross
Twelve years ago I was sitting at my desk in my cubicle at work when I suddenly got the worst headache of my life, and it was particularly troubling since I could count the number of headaches I’d had in my life to that point on one hand. Worse yet, in addition to the pounding inside of my skull, my vision was blurred.
I was in trouble. I had long been overwhelmed by a stressful work environment and had endured far too many sleepless nights fretting over a to-do list that, try as hard as I might, I just couldn’t seem to conquer. A week after the headache, an equally mysterious onset of lower back pain sent me running to a doctor’s office. He found no medical or biological explanation for my symptoms and offered no prescriptions promising a quick fix. Based on an assessment of my non-existent work-life balance, however, he simply left me with a word of advice.
Get Moving… It’s That Simple!
The Mayo Clinic website lists the 7 benefits of regular physical activity in an article of the same name. My primary care physician may as well have been reading straight from the site as he gave me a rundown of all the reasons why adopting an exercise regimen would be the best thing I could do for my health. Stress relief, better sleep and a boost in energy were just a few of the ways exercise could improve my quality of life.
His gentle scolding led me to my yoga mat and subsequently, now, joyously dividing my time between teaching yoga, writing about fitness and acting.
Making time for fitness in my life was not easy in the beginning and neither was coming face to face with the reality of just how much my health had suffered after years of inactivity. Frankly, the fact that I wasn’t overweight or dealing with any scary diseases had fooled me into believing I was in shape. Sadly, I was not. Overcoming that disappointment and setting an early intention to stay the course were essential to my first steps toward a better me and a healthier future.
If you’re thinking about jumpstarting or, maybe even, restarting your fitness journey, check out these tips for overcoming obstacles and keeping your proverbial batteries charged.
- Remember it’s a lifestyle change, not just a New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, “getting in shape” is one of the most commonly broken resolutions. One of the reasons is because the goal oftentimes gets reduced to its most superficial interpretation, losing weight. While that is indeed a benefit of an active lifestyle it’s probably the most fleeting. Be sure to take stock of all of your progress. Some days it will be a smaller number on the scale and others it will look like a trip up the stairs without getting winded. Celebrate all the little victories in order to stay motivated.
- Start slowly if needed. Prominent motivational speaker and fitness trainer, Jay Jones of Atlanta, GA says, “A little bit of something beats a whole lot of nothing.” Don’t let a full, demanding schedule deter you from making this important investment in your health. Making time to workout shouldn’t feel like one more burden to bear. The CDC advises that the most important thing is to avoid being inactive, noting that “even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.”
- Find the activity that’s right for YOU. Having a workout partner is awesome, but if your best friend doesn’t want to try that Zumba class that you are just dying to try, go it alone. If the class turns out to be something you enjoy, you’ll make friends there.
- Send some calls to voicemail. Consider your time at the gym or in a fitness class as an opportunity to unplug, not the time to return phone calls or check email. It’s hard to relieve stress if you’re busy multitasking your free time away. Put your phone to use as a music player instead.
- Create a workout space in your home. No matter the square footage of your humble abode, designating a place for home workouts is critical, especially in the early stages as you work to cultivate a regular routine. Don’t think of this area as a space that needs to be filled with equipment. It simply needs to be a place to go to in your home for the sole purpose of exercising. Research some exercises to do at home with little to no equipment and don’t let e away from the gym throw you off your game.
- Don’t forget about the food. It’s important that your body has the right fuel to help you stay energized throughout your workout. Plus, depending on your specific goals, certain foods are best for a lean physique while others are for building mass. Know the difference and apply the science of nutrition wisely.
- Be patient. Be patient with your body as change happens and results are revealed in big and small ways from day to day. Be patient with your family and friends as they adjust to your new schedule and your new priorities.
Change is hard and traveling this new path won’t be without its challenges. In the end, though, the rewards to your health will have made the journey all the more worthwhile.
Rosalyn R. Ross is an actress, yoga instructor and media professional based in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to her group yoga classes, Ross also works one-on-one with athletes seeking to expand their practice of yoga. For booking and/or consultation information you can follow Rosalyn on Instagram @R_Trinity.