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Working out on crutches…

or how to stay motivated when life throws you a curveball

 

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JOCELYN HAS BEEN FEATURED ON:

I finally had the perfect fitness routine going – alternating jogs and circuit training in the mornings, cross-country skiing on the weekend, and a weekly date with my new roller derby team. Then, as I was trying to slip on a sock while bounding down a set of stairs for my a.m. run, I severely sprained my ankle – and poof, my winter health plans flew out the front door. (And how does a car-free family get the kids to and from school when Mom’s on crutches?). I was beyond frustrated.

I very rarely get injured, and I count on my physical mobility for my transportation, my family recreation, my fitness, and my mental health. Being bed-ridden does not work for me. So after a day of feeling sorry for myself, I decided it was time to get creative. This morning I got out of bed at the regular time, crawled down the stairs, got up on my crutches, and managed a workout with one leg. My knee push-ups, planks and one-legged squats would have looked ridiculous to anyone watching, but it felt good to be moving my body and working up a sweat.

Whether you are a pregnant momma, a new mom, or a working mom trying to balance it all, finding a workout that works for you is likely a challenge. There are always going to be things that come up that make it inconvenient, and always a reason to just defer it to the next day. We know that exercise is crucial for regulating our metabolism, stress, mood and sleep – but it’s all too easy to lose momentum or just quit altogether when life gets complicated.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, here are some of the tips I give to my own patients, and in my online pregnancy coaching program My Healthy Pregnancy Plan:

Keep your goals attainable: Aiming for 20-30 minutes per day is more likely to happen than 60-90 minutes. My favourite quick get-fit trick is the Seven-Minute Workout, developed by the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida. It’s a high-intensity circuit training workout that promises many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training – but in much less time. I like using this video to coach me through it – I try to do the circuit three times through, but even doing it once every morning would have benefits. The first time I tried it I felt totally uncoordinated and flustered, but I have grown to look forward to it every morning.

Take advantage of your morning: As Craig Ballantyne points out in this fantastic podcast, willpower is an expendable resource that runs low as the day grows long. Most people are able to eat a pretty good breakfast, lunch is decent, and then by the time evening kicks around, we are too tired to maintain our self-control and out comes the junk food. To preserve your willpower, establish structure and habits to reduce decision-making throughout the day – starting with putting your priority actions early in the day. The most important change I made in my own fitness routine is to move my workouts to the morning – I can control when I wake up (and this could be even just 10 minutes earlier if you are doing a short interval workout) and am able to do my workout before life gets in my way. No distractions, and less willpower expended. After I work out and have a shower, I am able to be present with my kids and focus better through my workday.

Combine fitness with transportation: In the busy life of a mom, it can be unrealistic to go to the gym for a workout and leave the kids behind. If there is a way to make your commute an active one (cycling to work/school or even just walking part-way) you will be a multi-tasking extraordinaire. One of the reasons we have chosen not to have a car is because we love cycling and walking wherever we need to go – if we had a car we would be tempted to use it even when we didn’t need to, and would miss out on our morning walk or bike to school which is a highlight of my day.

Combine fitness with recreation: Again related to multitasking, this is about finding active things to do that your friends and family will enjoy too. When a friend wants to get together, or my husband and I get a babysitter, I recommend a walk or a ski rather than a movie. I’ve met many of my adult friends through nordic skiing and playing roller derby, where I get to have a ton of fun and meet people outside of my family and work life.

Accept that some days it’s not going to happen, but don’t let it throw you off: Just because last week was a write-off doesn’t mean that now is not the time to get back into a routine – life is complicated and even the best workout plans don’t always come to fruition. Do what you can, set yourself up for success, and keep trying again and again to make good habits and build fitness into your life. You are doing great!

And if you ever wind up in crutches, let me know and I’ll give you lots of awkward exercising ideas : )

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

p.s. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for my free cheat sheet: 8 shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy – and stay up-to-date with more great information and announcements about the My Health Pregnancy Plan program.

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

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