It's been hard for me to figure out how to exercise the way I want to as the weather continues to get colder. I love running outside, but I seem to have a particularly low threshold for cold weather this winter, leaving me unable to bear the temperatures outside. Honestly, that was a hard blow to my heart, since I enjoy running so much, but it forced me to think outside the box and search for new fitness options. It also opened my eyes to the high value I had placed on running in terms of fitness.
I did enjoy running, but it wasn't always my main motivator, and sometimes I had a really bad attitude about it as I reluctantly walked out the door into the cold, as if running had become an unenjoyable form of personal punishment once the weather got too cold.
"The best way to avoid this type of self-sabotage is to view your runs themselves as rewards rather than as chores to be gotten through and rewarded...
[Y]ou should do whatever you need to do to enhance your enjoyment of running. Studies have shown that when people manipulate their workouts in ways that make them more fun, they are more likely to stick with their programs. If you enjoy running with music, run with music. If you prefer running with a friend or group, do that. If you like running in the park, run in the park. There’s really no wrong way to run for weight loss if you’re having fun." - myfitnesspal article
While there is by no means anything inherently bad about making fitness, exercise, or running a big par of one's life, it isn't the only way to exercise. This winter has challenged me to rethink my approach to fitness, just like I'm doing with nutrition. I want to live a healthy lifestyle, not one that feels confined or treats fitness like an obligation or punishment. I want to really enjoy what I'm doing, and running in the bitterly cold weather just doesn't fit into that.
Instead, I've upped my strength training. I've been doing some strength training for a long time now, but I've been incorporating more HIIT and regular cardio into the routines and extending the length of time of my workouts as I get more into them and build endurance. While this option seemed second-best to running initially, I've grown to like it for this season. I have a wide variety of video workouts to choose from that keep me continually challenged and never bored.
When I consider long-term goals and motivation, I don't seek to be able to lift a certain weight or run at a certain pace. Instead, I just want to keep moving. This idea dawned on me while I was watching a video by FitnessBlender, one of my favorite workout channels. The couple who hosts the videos regularly reminds viewers to take breaks when necessary, but to always keep moving. It's not as important to complete the full HIIT or cardio or strength workout as it is to respect your limits, and you're still reaping great benefits as long as you keep moving.
That is exactly what I want to do: grow stronger, continually challenging myself to move forward toward new heights, recognizing and respecting my limits as necessary for preventing injuries that would cause setbacks, but being willing to try new things and push myself outside of my comfort zone to avoid getting stuck in a rut, making sure I enjoy what I'm doing.
And oddly enough, this concept is true for the rest of life as well. No matter what comes my way, trips me up, distracts me, demands my attention, threatens to steal my joy, or hinders me from reaching my goals, I want to just keep moving. Even if it's just one little baby step at a time, I will keep moving, keep striving for new heights, trying to figure out what works for me, and refusing to give up. Because I believe greater things like ahead than any I can leave behind.