Good luck finding a friend, family member, or even complete stranger who, given the current week-to-week changes and constant flow of information through news channels and social media, doesn't describe themselves, in some capacity, as stressed or overwhelmed. AND, when we're talking about workouts, that stress can serve as either a catalyst OR as a hurdle.
For me, it's been a hurdle. It's been nearly impossible to find enough quiet time (between a demanding 3-year-old and our daughter's 3rd grade learn from home curriculum) to type out a few thoughts about fitness much less find the time to actually engage in it. That ends today.
I don't know about you, but I'm the type who feels like I'm totally failing if even one ball drops. I have this need to completely excel in every task...and, as you can imagine, it creates some real stress. Dropping the ball on this blog for the past couple of weeks, for example, has really gotten to me, so you can expect more frequent posts from this point on. It'll do my soul good. I've also been less than diligent with my gallon of water per day (really affecting my sleep) and a daily workout.
What I can say, is that nearly every day (we've skipped the rainy ones) the girls and I have been religious in taking our morning walk. The big one rides her scooter and I push what I'm guessing is an extra 50ish pounds of kid plus stroller behind her. The whole thing takes roughly 40 minutes, and it's not always completely stress-free (see pic from yesterday's outing. I need to start carrying a first aid kit.) BUT it gives us an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I thought my mood boost just after each day could be attributed to the precious bit of time away from our house, but there may be more to it than that -
The appropriate level of exercise intensity can actually be the magic bullet to keeping our frazzled brains intact and increasing our ability to cope.
It turns out, the body’s VO2 max (rate at which oxygen is consumed) is hindered when an individual is under high emotional stress, so that ordinary workout routine not only seems harder, but actually is. (Source: Huffington Post) When the body is stressed, either from psychological stress or extreme exercise, proteins known as cytokines start to elevate dramatically. These proteins are responsible in part for our immune system, thus causing an inflammatory response in the body.
Sooooo...that leisurely to brisk morning walk might be as much exercise as we need at the moment AND may very well be the key to keeping this train on track.
In the midst of all the craziness and uncontrollable stressors, be kind to yourself. Allow for a modified routine and know that even something as simple as a little walk in the sunshine might be just the right amount of MOVEment for now.