For this month’s challenge I chose 30 minutes of daily activity. I did a mix of Pure Barre, yoga and home workouts, and I also included walking my dogs. Before I began this challenge I would say I was already somewhat active; I try to workout about 3 to 4 days a week and I usually take my dogs on walks whenever the weather is nice. By increasing my workouts to 7 days a week I wanted to see what changes I noticed not only physically but mentally as well.
Alexys: How did you choose which types of exercise work best for you? I find I do best with less intense exercise, but there are so many workout plans out there it’s hard to know which is best.
Bethany: That is a great question and I think the best thing for anyone to do when they are first starting to workout is trial and error. You might have to give several different workouts a chance before you find one that you really enjoy and want to stick with. Just because you see a lot of people posting pictures of themselves running 5Ks does not mean you should be out doing the same. I don’t really enjoy running but several years ago I really tried to get into it. I stuck with it for about six months until I had my wisdom teeth removed and had a legitimate excuse to stop for a while, and then I just never picked it back up. I also tried yoga in the past and while I enjoy it to a degree, it isn’t something I want to do several days a week. The workout that I have enjoyed the most and stuck with the longest is Pure Barre. I have been doing barre for three years, and I still really enjoy it and actually look forward to working out. I also have two dogs that love going on walks so I try to take them out at least a couple of days a week or whenever the weather is nice.
A: Why did you choose 30 minutes? I feel like that’s a really good, standard amount of exercise to get everyday, but I know there are people who also prefer shorter HIIT workouts and some people who will workout 1-2 hours a day.
B: I decided to challenge myself with a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily because I thought it was the most realistic goal for myself. When I do a barre class they usually last between 45 and 50 minutes so I knew I would be set there. But when I do a home workout I have a more difficult time pushing myself and finding motivation. I felt like 30 minutes was a short enough time that even on my busiest days I would still be able to find time to be active.
A: Did you have a set time of day you would exercise or did you just fit it in when you could?
B: For several months I have been doing barre classes at 5:30am and then walking my dogs in the evening but for this challenge I wanted to try switching some things up. Some days I would walk my dogs in the morning and then do a barre class in the afternoon or evening. Doing this did show me that I tend to push myself a little more during morning workouts versus later in the day. When I knew I was going to a class around noon I would tend to spend the morning watching TV or reading and saving all of my errands for after my workout. On those days I felt more rushed to get everything done whereas on the days I started my morning off with exercise, I still had the whole day ahead of me and I accomplished a lot more of my to-do list.
A: Was it hard staying motivated or did you find it easier to get up and do it once you got more of a routine going? Personally, I find that the first few days of working out are the hardest, but once I push past that I actually start looking forward to it.
B: Getting started was definitely the hardest part. In the beginning I was thinking “what did I get myself into?” I really did not think I was going to be able to stay motivated to be active EVERY day for a month but once I started to feel and see changes happening it got easier and I was more motivated to keep going. I think a lot of people throw in the towel on their workouts because they are not seeing change quickly enough but if you find the right physical activity and stick with it long enough you will start to see or feel results.
A: What physical changes did you notice, if any?
B: I wouldn’t exactly say I saw physical results but I did feel stronger over all. I started to notice this change during the second week and then by the end of the third week all of my workouts started to get easier and I was able to push myself even harder. By the end of this challenge I was so much more confident in myself and some days I even did two activities. I feel the strongest in my upper and lower body and although you can’t exactly see my abdominal muscles I can feel them.
A: What mental/emotional changes did you notice, if any?
B: Mentally and emotionally, I believe this challenge was exactly what I needed. Getting in some sort of physical activity really helped me clear my mind and unwind. Almost like a weight I did not know I was carrying was lifted off my shoulders. By the end of this challenge I started to feel less on edge and all around happier. Because of that I think I will actually continue to add more physical activity into my everyday life.
A: Did you notice any other positive changes?
B: Through this challenge I think I learned what time of day is best for me to workout in order to have a more productive day and I also noticed that exercise really does have a positive influence on my mood and outlook. In the future, I would like to try new workouts like rowing and kickboxing to see if I enjoy those activities as well. For anyone that wants to pick up a new activity or start working out more I would suggest finding something that you enjoy doing. If you pick a workout just because you see everyone else doing it and think that’s what you need to do too, it will feel more like a chore and you will most likely not stick with it as long.