When you’re setting out on your plan to improve your health, there are a number of inevitable obstacles that you will encounter along the way. The trick to making yourself healthier for the rest of your life, as opposed to for the first two weeks of whatever program you are trying, is to accept that your training plan has limits and don’t let those limits get you down.
As an example, I am currently training to run my second ever half marathon. The race is coming up in just about a month, and I’m not nearly as ready as I want to be. One of the big reasons I’m not closer to ready is completely out of my control–the summer weather. I live in Florida, and to train for a long race you need to log many miles. There have been a few times I’ve set out from home hoping to get 8-10 miles in, only to walk in the door 2 hours later after finishing 5-6. The summer heat and humidity really takes a lot of energy out of me when I run, and as long as I live here that won’t change. So, instead of giving up on trying to get a new PR in this race because it’s too hot to train like I want to, I keep grinding out as many miles a day as I can, and make sure to rest for a couple of days before trying a long run. Tomorrow I’m shooting for at least 10, so hopefully the weather will be slightly cooler and my body will cooperate.
Another road block to a healthy lifestyle is our body’s need for rest after physical activity. This rest comes in two forms, one taking days off and one sleeping enough at night. Sleeping close to 8 hours a night is important because that is when the body does most of it’s tissue repair. Sleeping enough at night helps your muscles get stronger and allows for you to be able to exercise longer and at a higher intensity. And sometimes, you just need to take a day off from working out to allow your muscles to rest as well. On these off days, however, it is still important for you to make sure that you are engaging in some moderate activity, but nothing that forces your body to work too hard.
Family, kids, pets, and work are all other things that tend to get in our way occasionally as we work towards improving our overall health. If you learn how to mange these distractions, and how to overcome them and stay on the active path, there is no doubt that you will begin to see the physical changes that you are hoping for.