I work as a writer, professor, model, fortune teller, dancer, and yoga teacher (yep—seriously!), so as you can probably imagine, my schedule is chaotic. It can be hard to pin down a solid fitness routine, never mind a time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
On top of that, I’m super-fussy about where I exercise (no gyms or groups—I’d rather sweat alone!), when I work out (no early mornings), and how I work out (no high-impact moves—I have fibromyalgia).
All of my quirks, needs, and preferences considered, you would think I’d never work out. However, in the spirit of my contrary nature, I actually prioritize it. My one-hour daily workout, no matter what it is or when it is, is a crucial part of my wellness routine these days.
When I was younger, I was very active as a gymnast. I felt strong, energetic, and light. But when injuries prevented me from going further with my gymnastics practice, I fell off the exercise wagon and quickly succumbed to fatigue, depression, and weight gain that didn’t feel right for my frame.
Years later, when I started exercising again, I began to shake off that fog of exhaustion, and felt my muscles and energy returning. The benefits of movement were just too good to ignore, and because I wanted to feel better (and manage my fibromyalgia), I really needed to make sure I was taking care of myself. I wanted to feel strong and capable in my everyday life.
To start prioritizing exercise again, it came down to figuring out what worked for me (while using some creative problem-solving to satisfy my complications and demands). I decided to go for things I liked that didn’t aggravate my nerve pain. My go-to workouts became pretty adventurous and eclectic: I now practice yoga, go biking and walking, dance (pole or barre), and do Pilates. I also sometimes utilize small weights and resistance bands to build strength and tone, and I try to balance my workouts between flexibility and strength. I use my arms as much as my legs so that I’m getting a full-body workout, and I always engage my core as much as possible.
And then there’s the rebounder trampoline I recently bought, which was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made. It provides a source of fun, low-impact cardio that improves (rather than aggravates) my health conditions.
For me, this diversity is key, because it keeps me from getting bored (since I am often working out at home and distractions do abound). Regularity is also important. Once I began carving out one single hour for myself—every single day, no matter the time—it became second nature. I started looking forward to that hour that’s just for me—no emails or social media or work. Deciding to create time for yourself is a powerful move.
To combat boredom—and to prevent myself from feeling like my workouts are a chore—I came up with a simple (and helpful!) rule: If I haven’t gotten my workout in and I want to binge on Netflix or listen to a podcast, then I need to be doing something—anything!—while I enjoy it. I might bounce on the trampoline or do some yoga while I watch a documentary, or do some jumping jacks while watching Star Trek (which ends up feeling like I’m flying through space). When I’m watching or listening to something funny, juicy, or riveting, I’m more likely to work out for an even longer period of time—without noticing! Plus, doing this is like a double-whammy of awesome endorphins.
In the end, I’ve found that it’s not so much about having a specific routine, but knowing what will work for me and my schedule—even if it’s not entirely ideal—and making it happen. The most important thing is that I’m trying every day, and feeling stronger, lighter, and more determined to care for my body.