Welcome to my Monthly Fitness Challenge 2023.
As you can see, I’ve got a “new look” for this year’s challenges. And I think you’ll also notice – as the months pile up – that the challenges are more focused this year, and will build on one another as the year progresses.
Let’s get started!
Let’s talk about . . . planning for our fitness.
This is not about . . . making resolutions. This is about creating a plan to keep fitness at the heart of your days. Last Friday, I wrote a Museum of Me post about where I want to be in five years. My answer? I want my life to look much like it does right now, today. And based on your comments, most of you are right there with me! We want our lives, five years hence, to be much like they are right now.
But you know what that means, don’t you?
Yeah. We’re going to have to fight gravity for that to happen!
There are all kinds of studies out there explaining that our muscles melt away as we age. You know the drill; you’ve heard it all before . . . Our muscles begin to deteriorate in our 30s. When we hit 40, we lose an average of 8% of our muscle mass every decade — and this continues to accelerate even faster after age 60. Loss of muscle limits mobility, speeds the onset of some diseases, and is linked to premature death. As we age, we need to focus on building and maintaining our strength. If we don’t? Well . . . let’s just say we’ll be worse off in five years. Not “just like we are” right now!
So, let’s make a plan – a 2023 Fitness Plan – to keep fitness at the heart of our days. So we CAN show up in five years as strong (or stronger!) and as healthy and as active as we are right now.
How do we start?
First . . . Find your WHY. Get really clear about WHY you want to pay attention to your fitness. (Spoiler alert: If it’s because you want to lose weight, please reconsider. Increasing your fitness will not do all that much to help you lose weight. Sorry.) For me, my WHY . . . is so I can put myself in the best possible position to remain strong and active as I age. I really DO want to be able to do everything I can do now (gardening, walking, crawling around on the floor, yoga, etc.) in 5 years . . . and 10 years . . . and 15 years. I want to prevent falls and remain healthy. Maybe that’s your WHY, too. Maybe you want to keep travelling. Maybe you want to be able to keep up with your grandchildren. Maybe you want to be able to just defy your genetics. (I’ve got that WHY, too. . . ) Start with finding your WHY.
Next . . . Set some specific parameters for yourself. WHEN will you work on your fitness? (Be specific about the days and the times.) WHAT will you do? WHERE will you do it? And for HOW LONG? Be realistic! You know yourself; you know what you like to/can do. I do recommend that you push yourself a little bit, and commit to following through. But . . . be realistic about it, too. If you know you can only manage 15 mintues a couple of times a week, then go with that, y’know? 15 minutes is better than 0 minutes!
As an example, here’s what I do: Every week, I take a look at my schedule and figure out where I can best fit in my fitness workouts. I get out my calendar and I schedule my workouts for the week: cardio days, core day, strength training. I also schedule rest days. It helps me know when I’m doing what (then I don’t have to think about it). I also know that I’m much better off if I get my workouts done earlier in the day. If it gets past noon, I know I’m less likely to actually do them.
So use what you know about yourself, challenge yourself a little bit, and set up your own parameters.
Then . . . Begin! Work your plan. Do it! But be gentle with yourself. Build in some flexibility. (Like I mentioned, I look at what I’ve got going on each week before I commit to my workout schedule; some weeks I need to be more flexible than others.) Be patient with yourself. (It takes a while to build up new habits or to get used to new schedules.) And be kind to yourself. (You can begin again ANY day, y’know?)
So the challenge this month . . .
Create your own Fitness Plan for 2023.
I’d love to hear about your plan . . . as we head into this year together . . . with fitness at the heart of our days.
See what happens!
Looking for past Monthly Fitness Challenges? I’ve moved them! Now you can find them in the Field Notes section of the blog (just click on Field Notes in the top menu) and look for Monthly Fitness Challenges 2021-2022.
Great idea. I’m not real good with plans or set schedules (I get annoyed), but I definitely want to move more this year and increase my strength. I’m going to think about this and come up with a plan (but not a schedule – LOL – it’s all semantics). My back issue this past year really surprised (and scared) me. I may even try to find another yoga studio (because I’m not good with doing pod casts). I WILL figure it out!
I have been thinking about this lots… and this is really very helpful, Kym! My why is so that I can simply keep moving! I have been “bogged down” by some joint pain that is first on my list to discuss with my doctor next week!
I think I can (and will) do this one. I tend to push back against scheduled things (even if I made the schedule) but if I call it a plan somehow that sounds different. Different enough for me to comply with my own plan!
I have an exercise spreadsheet which prints to 3 pages landscape orientation. Exercises are grouped: lower body, upper body, stretching, strengthening, agility & balance, mat work. Cardio is an open block that I fill in by hand since I switch between bike, treadmill, and videos.
Each month I update and change in weights or reps, and print a set of pages with columns going across the page. Each day that I work out, I check off what I did. That gives me a visual of what I’ve been doing as well as what I’ve been avoiding. It helps me balance things out.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added more to the agility portion, purchased a set of adjustable hurdles, an agility ladder, and balance pad. I do a drill with those 2x/wk which takes 20-30 min. Good for fall prevention.
I’m off to exercise now….
I’ve gotten into a pretty good schedule with my workouts. I try to get outside every day that I can. I’ve been running Monday/Wednesday/Friday and walking the other days. I’ve discovered that if I run more often, it leads to pain or discomfort. I think I’m doing a much better job now at listening to my body and not pushing through pain, because frankly I want to keep moving and I can’t do that if it hurts to move. I’m also trying to focus on stretching and increasing my flexibility. I’m sure there will come a day when running isn’t an option, but I’m glad I’ve gotten to a stage in my fitness that I don’t feel my day is complete unless I’ve moved my body for an hour or so.
(Forehead to desk.) Such a brilliant approach! I’ve spent DECADES trying to fit my “other stuff” around my exercise schedule. I can’t do (fill in the blank) because that’s when I’m supposed to, say, do strength training. And of course, the “other stuff” ends up winning because it’s EVERYTHING else, and exercise once again falls to the wayside. So your method of scheduling exercise for the week ahead… brilliant.
Great post. I’m really enjoying the dance workouts I do now because they focus on mobility and flexibility and that’s what is important to me moving forward (plus a little aerobics just to make it ok to have a little ice cream at night).
My goal these days is yoga 2x week, strength training, and cardio 1x/week and that’s working for me. I schedule what I do based on my calendar and I also give myself full permission to adjust as needed. This is excellent advice and I’m glad you also pointed out that exercise does not generally lead to weight loss, thank you.