Maintaining a consistent exercise routine is tough. It’s tough for just about everybody, not just weight loss surgery patients. Finding time to exercise in our busy lives can be a challenge. I roll out of bed at 5 a.m. to fit my routine in my schedule. I know others spend their lunch hours or late evenings at the gym. Beyond scheduling, maintaining interest in exercising is probably the next most difficult challenge we face in staying fit. Once boredom sets in, it’s only a matter of time until our visits to the gym or time on the treadmill becomes less frequent and finally non-existent.
Two summers ago, one year out of my Lapband surgery, I was itching to vary my workout routine. The monotony of the treadmill and stationary bike for the past year was overwhelming. I searched for an alternative. With the onset of spring, I had begun regularly walking the neighborhood and remained unsatisfied. I took a look at my bike hanging from the garage ceiling and decided to take it down for a spin. Later that week, I set out for an eight mile ride on a popular local trail. I was hooked and knew I found my niche.
What I found that first summer of cycling was that exercise can actually be enjoyable. I loved being outside. I met new people as I explored bike paths and trails around Northeast Ohio. I actually became skilled in a sport; something that I had never been in my whole life. I was more fit and healthy from this cycling. I was achieving better results than I had by running on the treadmill where I was bored to death.
Beyond breaking the monotony of exercise, I developed self confidence, a desire to compete, and a thirst for new challenges. I see these as victories similar to our weight loss surgery non-scale victories. These attributes are not about pounds lost or muscles gained. They are about changes in my self that made me a different person. I used exercise as a tool to become a new Tom; a Tom who strives to be active and savor the excitement of a sport and the completion that comes with it.
This coming week I am about to embark on the greatest challenge in my life. Days before my third weight loss surgiversary I will complete a 1o day bicycling tour with my best weight loss cycling pal Chuck. We will cycle almost 400 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Annapolis, Maryland camping along the trail. It is definitely stretching the envelope for me. There will be a lot of unknowns and most likely some pretty trying days. I know the rewards are there for the taking. I know I had to meet this challenge to continue my journey to become an experienced cyclist and stronger person.
I am painfully aware that the monotony of exercise can set in at any time. I plan on varying my exercise routine using the self confidence and strength I gained from my cycling as a tool to break free from monotony. As summer wanes, I plan on giving yoga a try. I hope to find a gym where I can work with a personal trainer on developing a routine that I enjoy. I know I need to step up the variety of my exercise routine or it will become history.
I am not a personal trainer or a person who is capable of recommending an exercise routine for you. I am a person who knows the value of exercise and have experienced a very positive change in my life by including it in my life. If you have abandoned exercise at this point in your weight loss journey, I want you to give something new a try. Ride a bike; take a hike; enroll in a yoga class; or give kick-boxing a try. Variety is the spice of life and also a powerful tool to break free from the monotony of exercise. There is no reason to not have a good time when you are exercising.
Tom from beariatric.com
Note: You can follow my cycling journey at Crossing Mountains, Chasing Rivers (http://crossingmountains.com/). Subscribe to my real time updates from the trail by entering your email address and clicking on Subscribe under Follow our Footsteps in the right border.