2016 Success: Developing an Exercise Routine

Looking back on 2016, I am most surprised that I accomplished something I've meaning to for years: establish a regular exercise routine. During the past few years I've usually managed to get some exercise but have failed at doing it regularly or actually setting up a routine. But this year, in small, unexpected ways, I've been able to develop what I hope are long-lasting exercise habits.

It started in January with yoga. I've always loved yoga, and occasionally would go to a 6 a.m. class at my church, but somehow it felt impossible for me to do regularly. I decided to give Yoga with Adriene on YouTube a try and was hooked from the beginning. I didn't miss a day for over two months and have kept it up consistently for most of the year, doing yoga 4-5 times a week. It's been great for my mental health (you can reference this post about that), and I love the thinking and stretching time that yoga gives me. 

In April, I began going on morning walk/runs with James. I was working part-time, but on my off-days I felt at a loss for what to do with him in the mornings before his nap at 10 am. So I strapped him in his stroller and went out for long walks or runs, depending on my mood. Somehow, this turned into something I do most mornings. I don't care about how far I go or how much I run, I just want to be outside and moving. Sometimes we'll stay outside for two hours and sometimes it's closer to 30 minutes, but I love making that time in the morning a priority.

Long walk/runs and yoga have kept my anxiety at bay and helped me feel fit and active. I've also appreciated how easy they are to continue even when I'm not at home. When we spent two weeks visiting family in August and when we moved to California in September, I was able to seamlessly keep up my walks and my yoga. Neither of these things require special equipment or a specific place, which is one reason why I love them so much.

The interesting thing is that I had a friend (without kids) asked if it was harder for me to exercise after I had James. I thought about it and was surprised to realize that it was actually easier for me to exercise after having a baby. 

The reason why it was easier was because I stopped expecting crazy fitness goals of myself. I used to say that I was going to go to the gym 4 times a week and go to the 6 a.m. yoga class twice a week. But guess what? That NEVER happened, not a single week. Once I had James, I realized that to get some form of exercise I needed to scale down my expectations and figure out what would work for me in my current situation.

In doing so, I've found two forms of fitness that I love and actually want to do. Adjusting my expectations has, once again, made me so much happier.


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