I think it is safe to say, that right now even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, there seems to be this pressure coming from every direction that we should all be being super productive, 7 days a week and that if you haven’t followed at least four Instagram live workout videos or baked a Banana bread you have somehow failed. Well spoiler alert, you haven’t.
We are truly in unprecedented times and for the majority of us our day to day lives are completely different to what they used to be. For some women, overnight they have had to suddenly balance working from home full time, with becoming a homeschooling pro, whilst still trying to keep on top of everything else at home and then on top of that still trying to exercise and stay active. Phew, it sounds exhausting just thinking about it!
Although I don’t have the added pressure of looking after a child 24/7 right now (although I am currently growing one!) I have definitely been guilty of putting pressure on myself for the last few weeks and being hard on myself if I ‘haven’t done enough’ (I mean even this is ridiculous, what even is enough?) whether that’s comparing myself to other pregnant women or even just other people on Instagram that seem to have this ‘lockdown life’ down to a tee.
It is true, some people will thrive during this time. They will use this period to perhaps start a new hobby, or get round to doing things they have put off for a while, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will, and we certainly all shouldn’t feel like we have to.
However, one thing I do think is really positive from all of this, is the amount of people that have started to become more active – whether that’s just going for their daily walk, taking up running or joining in with Joe Wicks every morning with their kids. But one thing that is slightly worrying is that a lot of these people will have gone from literally zero, to exercising 7 days a week! Which if you are not careful could lead to an injury, or even a burn out and then you may lose that motivation to carry on.
I will admit, I have not always been the best at listening to my body and knowing when to slow down or even stop, but after suffering from burnout myself along with some other health issues, and now with being pregnant I recognise how important it is now more than ever.
So if perhaps you are newer to exercise, or have taken up running recently, here are some of my tips on getting started, how to create a long term habit & also how to be kind to yourself too;
- Start Slow
Just because you may follow someone that runs 5km a day, 6 days a week does not mean that you need to. If you are newer to running you need to give your body more time to recover in between your run, as doing too much too quickly can be a surefire way to get yourself an injury. And, I will let you into a secret too… rest days are actually when the magic happens! When you are resting (and yes, this includes sleep!) this is where your body adapts to the training and helps you to get stronger, run for longer, run faster etc!
If you are looking to get started, I would recommend 3 run per week, with a day in between each run, and at least one full rest day per week (you can still go for walks, do yoga, swim etc but no intense exercise)
- Listen to you body
This is really important when it comes to any form of exercise, not just running. Now, it is important to understand that there is a difference between your muscles being sore because you worked hard (this is often referred to as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and being in pain because something is not right.
Unfortunately injuries can tend to occur more so with beginners due to doing too much too soon, incorrect technique or just pushing yourself too much too quickly!
So whilst you might have all the best intentions and want to join in with all the best workout videos online, make sure the ones you follow are by qualified personal trainers or instructors that offer regressions of exercises if needed and give different options for different levels of fitness.
And my best advice is just to trust your instinct – if something doesn’t feel right, than stop! You know your own body better than anyone, and remember that no exercise should ever feel painful or really uncomfortable.
- Take the pressure off
As I have already spoke about, now more than ever there seems to be this pressure that we should all be doing things all of the time. Well this simply is not true.
This current situation will be affecting everyone differently, and even the most motivated and driven people will have days where they struggle, and that is completely okay.
Exercise should make you feel good, not make you feel guilty or like a failure if you haven’t done it.
Over these last 6 weeks I have had days where I have jumped out of bed, done a class and started work all before 9am, but then there have been many days where I have snoozed my alarm for an hour, stayed in my PJs all morning and ending up having a rest day when I had planned to do a workout.
Then there are some days where I just feel tired, and I have learnt now that this can be your bodies way of crying out for a rest, so rather than forcing it and having a crappy work out, give yourself that extra rest day or just take it really easy – so swap that HIIT class for a Yoga workout and see if that helps.
Just remember, at the moment – everyone is winging it! So please just try to be kind to yourselves, cut yourself a bit of slack and try to remember that you don’t need to be doing everything!
Jordan @projectmarathongirl x