Children and adult children around the globe were celebrating Halloween yesterday. Me? I was celebrating the final day of my #31DayMovementChallenge.
I DID IT!
OK…I may have partaken in some Halloween festivities as well. Handing out candy, dancing to Halloween themed music, scarfing down Wayne Gretzky Chili (Google it!) with a side of red wine, and eating a shit ton of candy to the point I felt sick. But October 31st also marked the end of my #31DayMovementChallenge and it was a good excuse to relax and indulge a little.
Here’s what I learned during my #31DayMovementChallenge:
- A 30 minute walk is actually a long time.
- A 30 minute walk with a friend/family member is much more enjoyable than doing it alone.
- Physical activity is amazing for mental health.
- Scheduling a workout is key.
- Liking a workout and preventing boredom is also key.
- Missing out on 30 minutes of TV time is not the end of the world.
- I need more active wear! Or I need to start doing laundry more often…
- It’s important to listen your body and give it the rest/recovery it needs.
- Wearing underpants while working out is SUPER ANNOYING.
Now that was just the quick recap for those of you with short attention spans. For anyone that wishes to continue reading, let me explain…
1. A 30 minute walk is actually a long time.
First of all, let’s go over this #31DayMovementChallenge for anyone that didn’t follow along on Instagram. No…it wasn’t a goal of having a bowel movement every day like my Dad thought when I first told him about it. Although for someone with a stomach like mine, that’s not a bad idea…
The purpose of the challenge was to move my body in some capacity every day for the month of October.
I’m proud of myself for getting through it and honestly, it was easier than I thought it would be. There was one week where I was VERY busy and tweaked my neck. The combo of a hectic schedule and an injury meant I couldn’t make it to the hardcore workout classes I had originally scheduled. But instead of letting myself feel like a failure, I fit in a few walks and felt proud for doing something.
Which is why I didn’t want to call it a “fitness challenge”. I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to be able to do a proper workout every day. I recognize the need to rest when the body has been pushed beyond its limits. Plus…life gets busy. Between work, commuting 4 hours to and from work a couple of days a week, trying to find time to do laundry, dishes and clean our house, while making time for friends, family and a social life…the hours in a day can run pretty thin. I knew from the start I wasn’t going to have the mental capacity, let alone the energy to commit to a 1-hour workout every single day for 31 days.
Instead, I promised I would at least fit in a decent walk. For me this meant minumum 30 minutes of extra walking in a day. I often saunter around the neighbourhood with Mavis for about 10-15 minutes every morning and evening, so those didn’t count. I sit in front of a computer for far too long every day, and then I often sit on my ass to watch Netflix in the evenings. The whole point of this challenge was to get myself moving more than I already do. So if my “moving” for the day was going to be a walk…it had to be at least 30 minutes. That was my rule. And I was shocked at how long 30 minutes of consistent walking felt. Try it, and let me know if you feel the same.
2. A 30 minute walk with a friend/family member is much more enjoyable than doing it alone.
I think what I appreciated most about my #31DayMovementChallenge is the time I spent with family and friends during some of my walks. It was 30, 45 of 60 minutes of time to catch up and have engaging conversations without the distraction of a phone, the TV or chores around the house. Often times, these things can hinder our listening abilities. How many of you have been talking to your boyfriend while he’s watching TV, only to realize he’s totally zoned out and engrossed by the story on screen? I’m guilty of doing it too. For me, I get totally preoccupied while writing a blog post. I may nod my head in agreement (of what I’m agreeing too, I couldn’t tell you…), or I’ll have one word responses to the information I’m being fed. It’s horrible, but I’m totally zoned out of the conversation.
Which is why I really enjoyed going on walks with a friend or a family member. I found myself really listening. It was during these moments that I had some of the best discussions. Plus, 30 minutes of walking can go by a lot faster when not done alone.
3. Physical activity is amazing for mental health.
I went on and on about this in an Instagram story a couple of weeks ago. Ps. If you’re not following me yet, come say hi (@beauty_by_birdy)! I’ve created a highlight dedicated to my #31DayMovementChallenge, so if you missed any of my story posts throughout the month, you can check them all out there.
But to summarize, I have come to realize how important physical activity is for my own sanity. If I don’t move in one way or another, I feel off. I need that time in my day to decompress. It’s an opportunity to release whatever weight may be heavy on my shoulders. The “me time” I so desperately need, where I can step away from social media and comparison. An hour that I don’t have to think about work, or chores, or whatever I’ve been procrastinating.
It’s an hour where all I have to worry about is breathing (and not dying). No other thoughts enter my mind. And if they do, spiking my heart rate seems to be the best way to release any stress or aggression.
4. Scheduling a workout is key.
Often times, if I didn’t have a workout added to my calendar, that workout didn’t happen.
I’ve learned the importance of treating a workout like a meeting or a special event. For me, this meant looking at the classes my gym offered at the beginning of the week. I would tell myself “I want to do spin at 5:30PM on Tuesday and pilates on Saturday at 9:30AM” and then I would add it to my calendar. It helped me be more accountable and then I could somewhat plan the rest of my day around those workouts. Eventually, those workouts became a priority and if it was in writing, I was determined to make it happen.
5. Liking a workout and preventing boredom is also key.
I personally get really bored with workouts. It’s super important for me to enjoy what I’m doing!
I went through a phase where I ran every other day. It was fun and challenging, until it wasn’t. Then I found myself really into lifting weights and creating my own workouts. But that too became less fun and more of a chore.
Now, I enjoy a mixture of different classes. My favourite at the moment is spin! Holy CARDIO that class kicks my ass. I also really enjoy Bodypump (which is Goodlife’s original barbell workout) and Pilates. But I’m sure these will all get boring at one point too, in which case I’ll make sure to change it up and try something new. Maybe I’ll start doing Kickboxing. Or HIIT classes.
My point is, I’ll make sure working out feels less like a chore and more like a fun activity. I’ll do my best to make sure I look forward to it, rather than dread it. Because the more it feels like a daunting task, the less likely I’m going to do it.
6. Missing out on 30 minutes of TV time is not the end of the world.
Dev and I don’t have cable. Instead we subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime, which means we can watch TV shows and movies at our convenience. Gone are the days of making sure I was home on Wednesdays to watch Survivor at 8PM, Big Brother at 9PM and The Challenge at 10PM. Hey-zeus can you believe I used to watch 3 hours of straight TV?? I don’t think I can sit still for that long anymore…
Nowadays, I can catch up on TV shows any day of the week and at any time. There’s really no excuse to not fit it at least a walk in the evenings.
7. I need more active wear! Or I need to start doing laundry more often…
Firstly, I managed to lose two pairs of leggings and a sports bra during all of this (*insert confused face*). Secondly, I felt as though I never had anything to wear. When you work out every day (or in my case, most days) of the week, your active wear drawer gets empty real quick. You bet your bottom dollar I’ll be hitting up Old Navy to get some new gear soon!
8. It’s important to listen your body and give it the rest/recovery it needs.
I chatted about this a little before when I said I had a very busy week and a bit of a neck injury. Although I was super disappointed in myself for the lack of intense workouts I did that week, I knew I needed to listen to my body and give it a rest. It’s never worth risking an injury, or worsening an injury, in my case. If there is pain involved, it’s OK to miss a few days at the gym. It’s not going to ruin any of the progress you’ve made.
9. Wearing underpants while working out is SUPER ANNOYING.
I ditched wearing underwear to the gym a long time ago. But for some reason, I ended up wearing them to a couple of classes throughout the month and it reminded me of how annoying it can be. Dealing with a wedgie (backside or frontal or both) is suuuuuper uncomfortable and can really hinder a workout. Ladies, if you’ve never tried wearing just your leggings, I highly recommend it! But be warned, if you’re a really sweaty person like me, there’s a chance you’ll have a case of butt/vagina sweat. If this happens…rock it with confidence, and trust me, no one will ask questions.
Maybe this last point was unnecessary, but I’m sure one of you will find it amusing…
Now you’re probably wondering…will I continue this every day movement challenge for the months to come?
Probably not. I sure as hell will try, but I’m not going to feel down on myself if I don’t happen to workout or go for a walk every day of the week, month and year. Instead, I’m just going to make a conscious effort to move more. Which should be easy now that I realize it’s not the end of the world if I miss 30 minutes of TV time…
Ps. If you’re wondering what my #31DayMovementChallenge looked like in the end, I used the below template to keep track of all my “moving”. Oh man! Is it ever satisfying to see each square filled out!