Skipping Workouts: The Upside and the Downside
Is it OK to skip a workout? Of course it is. But, the effect on your health or fitness program can vary depending on your workout tendencies. Are you an avoider, a fanatic or a healthy enthusiast? Answer our survey below and read tips specific to your style!
Do you miss a lot of workouts, find it hard to get motivated to get out the door, let fitness fall to the bottom of your to do list?
Do you push too hard? Tend toward a running or fitness addiction? Run through injuries to the detriment of your long term health and well-being? And possibly to the detriment of other aspects of your life?
A healthy enthusiast:
Do you sit right in the middle? Do you have a balanced perspective on working out? Do you move regularly and with healthy enthusiasm? (This would include either a healthy competitive interest or a disinterest in competition, but an enjoyment of movement.)
Get tips to help you or the avoider, fanatic or healthy enthusiast in your life:
Fitness is crucial to your overall health and well being. It will improve so many aspects of your life. Once you get a taste of how good you feel, you’ll want to do more. Here are some ideas to help you get motivated.
1. Start with regular, but small increments of movement. Rather than skip a workout, minimize it: You may dread the 30-60 minute workout, but just ten minutes of movement will give you a taste of how good you can feel.
- Walk for 5 minutes in one direction and 5 minutes back. Add in these ten minute movement breaks as much as you can. Increase them over time. Just put on your fitness shoes and go.
- Listen, stretch, and follow any impulse to MOVE. If you listen to your body just a little bit more, it will often want to stretch and move. Follow any small impulse to get more movement into your day.
2. Get good shoes to minimize discomfort and give yourself a motivational boost. Get colorful fitness shoes that grab YOUR attention. Put them out so you see them in your home or office…don’t leave them in the closet.
3. Walk or walk-run in places you enjoy…window shop downtown or find a path at the local park. Let your eyes feast on your surroundings: nature, other people, the open sky.
4. Minimize discomfort with knowledge. If you’re dealing with pain or fear of injury, get the support you need to learn to move with confidence with the Chi products, Certified Instructors or workshops.
5. Get a fitness buddy to whom you’ll feel obligated to show up. Or join a group. Make getting fit part of your social life.
6. Be a good parent to yourself: listen to the naysaying part of you…yes listen to it. Let that voice in you be heard, but recognize that it is only a part of you. You’ll discover the part that is “listening” has a bigger vision for you and for what is possible!!
Like food, fitness is best for you when it serves a purpose, but is not the purpose in your life. If you have tendencies to workout too much, then missing a couple of workouts is actually quite good for you.
The Chi programs are invaluable to those who are getting injured by pushing too hard or working out too long. If you’re not feeling physical injury, but are aware of a compulsion to exercise, rather than a more subtle, internal joy, then these tips will help:
1. Always do a 5-minute warm up. The Body Looseners are a great way to allow your body to move, but slow down the process of moving quickly and compulsively into a run. And, always stretch gently at the end of your workout. Take time to slow down before jumping into your next activity.
2. When running, use reminders to feel and be aware of the ball of light in your abdomen that represents your core or center. This will keep you internally connected to the reality of our body, rather than driven by the mind’s idea of what you should be doing.
3. Focus on taking energy in. People who exercise too much feel like they have to put out a lot of energy. During your workouts (and throughout the day) focus on gathering energy into your body, rather than expending energy.
4. Walk, walk-run and do plenty of fun runs. You can still exercise, but slow it down a notch for some workouts. When you do a long run, make it leisurely and make short workouts the time to go faster.
5. Focus on relaxing every part of your body: your shoulders and neck, your hips and pelvis, your lower legs. Let all your energy be stored in and come from our core.
6. Listen to the part of you that wants you to go faster or further and recognize it as one part of you. Allow this part of you to have a vote, but not necessarily make the final decision!
The Healthy Enthusiast:
Congratulations for having a positive relationship with fitness. You probably have a good body-mind connection, where you can sense and feel what your body needs, but also have the balanced input of your mind. You might have the presence and acceptance to be able to do whatever is best in the moment.
For you, it is fine tuning your awareness regarding movement and your fitness program so that you continue to stay in contact with the ever changing target of what is best for you.
Here are some tips to keep you moving forward toward greater health and aliveness:
1. Continue to deepen your practice of Body Sensing. Learn to feel ever more deeply the true motivation of your running or walking routine. As you do so, you’ll tap into that deep reservoir of energy, of Chi, that is with you all the time.
2. Practice consciously managing the gathering and issuing of your energy during your workouts. Continue to notice what increases your energy (sometimes when you’re tired, expending some energy will increase your available energy and sometimes you need more rest) and what decreases access to energy.
3. Move your Chi all the time. When you’re sitting, driving, on the computer, use your posture, breath and awareness to track and move energy in your body. Direct your chi up the back of your spine and down the front of your spine and consciously have it circulate in that way throughout your body.
4. Approach your fitness with interested curiosity. ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are practices, not a rigid system. Watching, listening and learning from your own body and your own experience is the most important thing.
5. Deepen your practice of relaxation while maintaining a strong core. Our T’ai Chi teacher, George Xu, could always see and point out places where we were holding tension, even when we thought we were relaxed. Scan your body for tension and let go, let go, let go.
6. Allow your body to intuitively do what it feels is best. Notice the brilliance of how the body responds to the terrain and environment when your mind is engaged in awareness of the moment.
No matter how you define yourself, or others, the process is what matters. Keep working to find balance and the quiet joy of feeling what is alive and vibrant in your life.