It happened to me last week.
It happened to one of my morning clients last week.
We get too busy and too distracted or stressed with life to fit in workouts which we know we theoretically want to be doing and definitely should be doing.
Whyyyyy does that happen?
We’ve been sold a willpower model. Which means it’s in our heads, and can be simply sorted out by “just do it” thinking.
So listen up, especially those of you who are caregivers to children.
A 2014 study by Yale that looked at stress factors including “perceived stress, distress, life events, job strain, role strain, and work-family conflict” and found that 75% of people exercise less when real or perceived stress factors exist. That means real life events or distress can equally push you over the edge to sedentary.
The study noted that the “chronically stressed”, and then named “caregivers,” aka, moms, as the one of the two most susceptible groups to drop exercise under stress.
The study called you out as well, as 86% of you will stop exercising under conditions of stress.
Those who have been active in the past are naturally less likely to fall of the wagon than those who are newer to exercise.
Good then. If you’ve stopped fitting it in, your body is basically saying: “please. Stop now. This exercise is extra stress on my body. I️ need to survive. I️ need to manage”.
So what now? Everyone knows exercise reduces stress, right?!?
Back to the research trenches!
A 2011 study by Penn State University showed that middle aged women (the group at the highest risk for not doing exercise at all), felt decreased anxiety and sadness and increased feelings of confidence and energy when doing MODERATE exercise vs vigorous exercise.
So step 1 is releasing yourself from high intensity exercise. Unless you legitimately love it. Not pretend love it. For reals love it.
That’s cool, you think! I️ do yoga. Welllll…..
In 2012, Yoga Journal published an article on Krishnamacharya, widely understood to be the singular root of influence for what we know as “Yoga”.
As Krishnamacharya’s pupils were primarily active young boys, he drew on many disciplines—including yoga, gymnastics, and Indian wrestling—to develop dynamically-performed asana sequences aimed at building physical fitness.
Yup, you read that right. Traditional Yoga asana classes were designed for young males.
So even the thing we have been told to do to “restore” ourselves can actually be way too much, because they weren’t meant for caregivers or people over 50, they were meant for teen boys.
So here’s what I suggest to get back on the wagon.
For 1-2 weeks until your body can manage something more. Longer if it still can’t. And repeat.
Your body is telling you “it’s too much”. You are not weak or lazy. Your natural survival instinct is preserving your energy for the stress management. You can read Instagram memes about willpower and motivation all night, but you aren’t going to override Mother Nature. And you are sort of unlikely to be the one exception to that giant Yale study.
So just let it be. Come to one of my yin classes. Get out your Yamuna Body Rolling Ball. Walk to work or for coffee.
Restore. Sleep. Eat healthy foods.
Skip Yoga. Quit the gym.
You know you want to anyway.
If you need a personal prescription, I’m at 514-804-0504.