Disclaimer, please consult a doctor/health professional before starting any exercise program. This article is for entertainment purposes only.
If you ask around, chances are most people have added a resolution somehow relating to exercise for 2023. And with good reason; the science is hard to ignore. When you exercise your body and mind, you significantly decrease the risks of multiple diseases while increasing energy levels and strengthening the body and mind.
Moving your body also boosts cognitive function, helps to manage some chronic conditions, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves the way you sleep. (And who here couldn’t use more quality sleep in their lives?)
While it’s plain to see the health benefits of exercise and the importance of teacher wellness, it’s often more easily said than done. But for every obstacle, there is a way to overcome it.
For those who work in education, finding the time to exercise may be the biggest hindrance of all. Full school days often spill directly into evenings in the form of grading, planning, or catching up on email correspondence. You may have children to care for or an elderly parent who needs your help. Your household needs maintenance. Dinner needs to be made. The list goes on. So what’s the solution?
Schedule it–and protect it. Try to leave work at work and utilize your time for yourself! Don’t be afraid to turn down a dinner date with someone because your favorite class is at the same time. Ask for help around the house so that you have time to take care of yourself. You should be able to prioritize your health and not feel guilty about it. Additionally, you can make it a family activity. Walk the neighborhood together after dinner, or shoot some hoops together while quizzing your child for an upcoming geography quiz.
You can also squeeze in exercise while doing other things. Need to do some PD? Maybe a podcast while you take a hike. Or a video course while on the treadmill. Taking your kids to soccer practice? Walk the track/trails nearby while they’re occupied on the field. Teachers are masters of multitasking in the classroom, so why not in your personal life as well?
Just like everyone has their favorite tv shows or favorite genre of literature, everyone has a type of exercise they prefer. There are so many options out there. Challenge yourself to try something new; you may be surprised at what you end up latching onto!
There are many options to choose from including
- Try a group fitness class.
- dance cardio
- Balance and mobility-focused classes
- Weight training
- And more!
- Weight lifting
- Hiking, biking, swimming, etc
You won’t find a lack of variety. (Bonus - you’ll likely find an encouraging community along the way!) For those who like to work alone, you can do just about any type of exercise independently. Working out at home? Even traditional group fitness classes have options online that you can do in your living room.
Motivation and Discipline
Remember, we want to help you exercise your body and mind. That's where motivation comes in.
Try and get in the sunlight as early as possible. And avoid grabbing your phone or computer for at least an hour after waking up. This will help you stay true to your body’s circadian rhythm and your mind focused! Energy and motivation have often slumped by 3 p.m. The school day is draining, both physically and emotionally. The last thing you usually want to do is willingly exert more energy somewhere. Don’t try to visualize the hardest part of your workout; instead, take it in baby steps. Step 1: Remind yourself that you’ll never regret going to the gym, but you’ll usually regret skipping it. Step 2: Change your clothes. Step 3: Get in the car. Etc. Getting there is usually the hardest part. Pro tip: You can also increase your consistency by designating an accountability partner.
And remember: if you find something you love to do, that will help motivate you as well. But, at the end of the day, exercise is more about discipline than it is about motivation. You can do it!
Maybe you’ve set goals in the past that you didn’t reach, leaving you too fearful of failure. Try setting this easily-attainable goal: to feel better physically and emotionally. You’ll likely reach it very quickly, and when you’re ready, you can set more goals. Keep them reasonable and short-term, whether it’s half a pound or half an inch at a time or shaving a few seconds off your PR on a mile run. A great goal to set is to be consistent for a month.
Don’t let the high cost of some gyms deter you from moving your body. Most towns will have more than one option for a gym. Also, ask around about educator discounts. If you are certified to teach some kind of group fitness, ask about taking on a class or getting on the sub list; some gyms will give you a free membership by doing so!
And of course, many forms of exercise are 100% free. Hiking, biking, skating, running, walking… all excellent ways to move your body while simultaneously reaping the benefits of being outside breathing in gulps of fresh air. Also, you can find all kinds of activities online that you can do in the comfort of your own home to exercise your body and mind.
Best wishes for the happiest, healthiest New Year yet!
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