Many of us are looking forward to getting back into the fitness studio or gym. However, even when these places resume business, it won’t look quite the same. Like it or not, exercise-at-home may remain your main option for a while as we deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m hearing from many that you do not enjoy exercising at home. It may be that you don’t have adequate space or equipment. Or that you don't feel motivated without the group fitness atmosphere or a trainer there with you in-person. However, if you want to maintain or improve your fitness level and receive all the wonderful benefits of exercise, you can find ways around these barriers if you are willing to experiment. At-home exercise may not be your favorite but it can be effective and surprisingly satisfying!
It happens. Health stuff. Family stuff. Work stuff. Life stuff. Most of us will face changes or difficulties at some point resulting in consistent exercise falling down or completely off the priority list. For some, it’s forced rest due to surgery, injury, or a medical condition. For others, it’s a matter of planning or mindset due to changes in life circumstances. Whatever the reason, if you’ve found yourself without fitness on your priority list for months or years, this post is for you.
The expectations don’t always match reality. The typical timeline given after a minimally invasive hysterectomy is to return to a sedentary job at around 4 weeks and resume normal activities/return to non-sedentary job at 6 to 8 weeks. It’s natural to assume that healing is complete at the six to eight-week mark and that life will resume as before surgery. However, six (or eight) isn’t a magic number. It’s simply the amount of time that it takes for the incisions to be mostly healed. Tissues are still healing for months afterwards and they are not as strong and resilient as they once were. Any complications during early recovery can also prolong healing.
This timeframe after surgery can be nearly as challenging as early recovery. Some women take on normal life activities at this point without ill effects while others cannot. It is difficult if you fall into the latter category. Then, once restrictions are lifted, suddenly, you are bearing the weight of partner and family expectations, work obligations and the pressure to “get back to normal”. How do you navigate these expectations and continue to care for your still-healing body?
It’s natural for us to reflect on the previous months as the year draws to a close. I’m sharing some of my own and my clients’ thoughts on what was learned or shared this year that would be beneficial to keep in mind as we enter a new year and decade!
On Body Acceptance
I didn't actually appreciate my body and how it was functioning until it wasn’t. I was focused on the wrong things. I worked out to “fix” body parts I didn’t like rather than to make my body stronger and more resilient; those are the things that really matter.
Bigger, smaller, muscled or not - healthy bodies come in various shapes and sizes. The ideal body type changes through the years and it doesn’t necessarily indicate greater health and longevity. How does your body feel and what can it do? Strive for improvement if you aren’t where you want to be and know that your healthy may look different than someone else’s.
The more I catch negative self-talk and re-frame it, the easier it becomes. The negative self-talk may never go away completely but it's much more quiet!
My favorite quote from the book Secrets from the Eating Lab,
“You were not put on this earth to mold yourself into a perfect physical specimen. As writer Glennon Melton says, ‘Your body is not your masterpiece, your life is.’"