The Key to Consistency – Working In and Working Out

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We all know that regular exercise is one of the master keys to good health, but why do so many of us struggle to maintain a routine consistently?
Outside influences like pressure from work or family responsibilities are the most commonly cited reasons for falling off the exercise wagon, with illness and injury not too far behind. 
To address these (and any other reason you can think of for not exercising) appreciate this fundamental concept…


You just need to decide, is it going to feel good now, or feel good later?
When your days are so full that it feels like you have “no time to exercise” early mornings or late nights can be the only options available. But getting up 30min earlier doesn’t seem too appealing when you already wake before sunrise and exercising at 9pm or later can disrupt your sleep patterns by elevating stress hormones and keeping you awake.
This is where the concept of a ‘work in’ arrives to save the day. 

Work In

A ‘work in’ occurs when you move and breathe in a way that:
  •  slows and deepens your breathing
  •  Increases the circulation of your blood and lymphatic fluid
  •  Activates the muscles primarily used for joint stabilisation
  •  Doesn’t significantly elevate your heart rate
Some examples include restorative yoga, stretching, walking, pre pilates, isolated strength exercises, pre and rehabilitation exercises. 
A common objection to doing a ‘work in’ goes like this – “if I only have a limited time in my week to exercise, I’m not going to waste it on ‘easy’ stuff like this because I need to make it count”.
The fact is, all of us need to counteract the habitual movement patterns of our daily life to correct posture and balance our musculoskeletal system which means we all need some form of stretching and isolated strength work to optimise our movement potential. 
This is a valuable use of your precious time since these ‘work ins’ provide a stable foundation for the great ‘work outs’ to happen. This will not only help prevent injury but also ensure you get better results in the long term. 
There are an infinite number of ways to work in. Here is a great little sequence to stretch out and activate your core muscles. 
One of the major benefits of ‘work ins’ is that they can be done at any time of the day or night. They can be done when you are are completely exhausted or even sick with the flu.
Because they improve your circulation without significantly increasing your heart rate, they will help you feel better in the moment. Not only does the lymphatic fluid remove waste products and other unwanted materials, but the blood carries fresh oxygen and nutrients to the cells so you get to experience the energy that you already have inside you that you had forgotten about when you were sitting still, feeling tired and/or miserable. 
Remember – exercise always equals feeling good. ‘Work ins’ will help you feel good in the moment.

Work Outs

I’m guessing the last time you did hill sprints, heavy squats or a max effort on push ups it didn’t exactly “feel good”. In fact, you may have wanted to reach for a bucket or asked yourself, “why am I doing this again?” Workouts hurt at the time as you overload your systems to create the adaptation response needed to increase your fitness and strength. 
However, in three days time (after you have recovered) when your muscles are feeling firmer, you’re standing straighter, you’ve just whipped up a flight of stairs and your legs are like springs, you feel great knowing that the workout you did a few days ago has given you another boost of vitality and longevity. 
A ‘work out’ occurs when you move and breathe in a way that:
  •  quickens and deepens your breathing
  •  Increases the circulation of your blood and lymphatic fluid
  •  Activates the muscles primarily used for movement rather than stabilisation 
  •  Significantly elevates your heart rate
Here’s a good little huff and puff circuit to improve your heart, lungs, muscles and bones.
I hope this helps you find ways to make exercise a constant in your life. When it comes to long term health, consistency (how regularly you exercise) is far more important than intensity (how hard you train each time).
And remember – EXERCISE ALWAYS EQUALS FEELING GOOD – you just need to decide whether it is going to feel good now, or feel good later. 
Until next time…
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