Exercise should be as routine as brushing your teeth, and for some, it is. But what happens when your schedule is disrupted?
We talked to three people who recently rearranged their lives, and with it, their workout schedule. Find out what worked for them, what didn't, and their advice to avoid abandoning an exercising routine altogether during a major life transition.
Andrew Miller, 22, Papillion, civil engineer at Thiele Geotech, Inc., graduated December 2011
His old routine: Between classes, homework and spending time with friends, Miller made time to work out three to four times a week, lifting weights, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recreation center, a facility open to students for free. “I'd been there for four years. I knew all the machines. I had a routine.”
What he tried first: After graduation, Miller returned to Papillion, his hometown, where he worked out in the basement of his parents' house. It's equipped with free weights and a couple of cardio machines. “I tried getting back into it at home, but that was just not working out for me. I can't get in the right mind-set.”
His challenge: Because he didn't land a job right away, Miller didn't have disposable income or know if the job he landed would be nearby. He needed to find a gym that didn't require a contract and fit his budget. “I didn't want to lose anything that I had already gained working out my last semester in Lincoln."
The new routine: Miller lifts weights, then hops on a stationary bike four to five days a week at 24 Hour Fitness in Papillion, which is affordable and doesn't require a contract. He plays sand volleyball with friends once a week, too, and sometimes golfs on the weekend. Because his work schedule is pre-determined, he knows exactly when he has time to exercise. “I go to work, I go home and eat, and then I go workout.”
His advice: “Call all the gyms that you would consider, do a price analysis and decide what you can afford and if you want to sign a contract. Then try it out for a week or so if they give out free trials to see if you like the atmosphere, the people, the equipment.”
Jenn Brown, 22, Omaha, Marketing and PR specialist at Women's Center for Advancement, moved from Ames, Iowa, in February
Her old routine: “I walked my dog a lot. I had a gym back home. I was always active.”
What she tried first: Brown turned to her apartment complex's gym. “I'd go down there, but it wasn't motivating to me. There was never anyone there.”
Her challenge: Brown needed to find a workout in her new city that didn't bore her. She wanted to be around other people and spend more time outside than before, so joining a gym wouldn't cut it. “I've been there, done that. I wanted to try something new.”
Her new routine: Brown bought a bike and rides for an hour every day after work on the trails around town. She said she loves being outdoors and seeing other riders. “That's been the answer for me. Working out is something I can look forward to doing again.”
Her advice: Some people might try to kickstart every part of their new life at once, but Brown said that's too much, too soon. “Give it time. At first you need to get your feet on the ground. When you're in a position to make a decision, evaluate what kind of time you have, what kind of money you have and your needs.”
Autumn Burns, 26, Papillion, social media specialist at Behaven Kids, mom to Reece, 6, and Myles, 1
Her old routine: Burns commuted from Papillion to Lincoln to earn her masters in child youth and family studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Because she worked part-time, too, it left little time for exercise, but she fit it in when she could. “I didn't really have time to go to the gym per se. I would try to do something to include the kids. We'd go on walks or during the summer, we'd go to the pool. I had to carve out that time.”
What she tried first: After her divorce in December 2011, Burns took a two-month break from exercise. “I was overwhelmed. My job and raising two kids by myself took up that time. I didn't do anything until I decided I needed to make it a priority. Either you get depressed and do nothing or you throw yourself into something. I threw myself into work and my kids.”
Her challenge: Burns needed to make time for herself without feeling guilty. “I think the biggest thing is you have to get over the mom guilt. You don't see your kids all day. But I'd rather sacrifice a couple hours a week than become obese and die earlier from issues that go with it.”
Her new routine: Burns committed to going to the YMCA in Papillion, which provides free childcare while parents exercise, at least four times a week. “What I've found has worked well for me is the classes. There's all different shapes and sizes of people and different abilities. Zumba is so much fun. I've never liked to work out but this I really look forward to doing.”
Her advice: Know what motivates you. She taped magazine pictures of out-of-shape celebrities on her fridge to remind her what she doesn't want for herself. She focuses on small changes, too, so she doesn't feel overwhelmed. “It's really hard to start no matter what, but what I keep telling people is commit to one day. If you continue to make that one day, you'll feel good about yourself. People set too high expectations.”
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