Here’s my story about what happened when I did a 30 Day Exercise Challenge. Choosing a different challenge each month is an excellent way to stay motivated. It is also a method to break bad habits and create good habits.
May 2020 Update: My youngest daughter just turned six. And I’m finally getting around to healing my core from pregnancy and childbirth! I didn’t wait 6 years because I was lazy, quite the opposite. I spent 6 years doing the wrong things!
(But before I realized that I needed to heal my core, I was ambitious and set lofty goals for myself, like this 30 Day Exercise Challenge. So even if it’s been many years since you gave birth, please read this review of Every Mother Diastasis Recti Repair App just in case this issue applies to you.)
Choosing a different 30 day challenge each month has the interesting side-effect of giving your months a bit of a theme-party flavor. (If theme parties aren’t your thing, I discuss other benefits of 30 day trials in my article 7 Simple Ways to Change Your Life.)
When choosing a 30 day challenge, identify what you need to work on most in your life right now. Then don’t be afraid to face it.
A successful challenge might change your behavior long-term, so keep this in mind when choosing a trial. Ideally, a 30 day challenge should offer you benefits that improve your life. Something like giving up sugar might be more useful than finding a rock each day that matches your cat.
For August, I’m going to choose exercise because I haven’t been doing enough of it since my little girl was born. I use all the standard excuses as to why I don’t exercise enough, such as “too busy” or “too tired” but I know they are just excuses for not taking excellent care of my body.
A 30 day challenge should be clear and measurable so I’m going to give myself a few simple exercise options.
I figure I get enough strength training by lifting and holding my infant daughter a few hundred times a day, but cardio and flexibility I need to work on. For my 30 days of exercising every day I can choose between 30 minutes of running or yoga, or I can walk for an hour. These choices will allow me to balance the impact of running with the stretching and restorative benefits of yoga. (If I did a 30 day running challenge—my knees would never forgive me!)
So that’s it for the excuses. I’m going to exercise every day for 30 days in August. (Yes, I know August has 31 days.) I expect to have more energy overall and perhaps I’ll even lose an inch of that postpartum tummy.
Here are my 30 Day Workout Challenge results:
The 30 Day Workout Challenge was a success—I exercised every day in August. The first run was the hardest and my nose and lungs burned a little, but not enough to slow me down. It felt amazing to run again. Suddenly all my little cells were getting oxygen. Every last nook and cranny of my body was infused with breath. I knew I hadn’t run in months, but getting my heart rate up and breath going made me realize I hadn’t breathed in months!
Running was one of the most powerful experiences during this 30 day workout challenge. While running, there is no doubt that you are alive. And if there is just one thing to be grateful for, then being alive is a great place to start. When you volunteer to run, you are honoring your life.
Choosing to exercise every day to improve your health and well being shows that you value your life.
After a few days of running I did yoga as my workout, and I realized a 30 minute yoga session wasn’t as challenging for me as a 30 minute run. So I added one hour of gardening to the days when I practiced yoga. I chose gardening instead of a longer yoga session because it has the added bonus of being productive as well as good for the body. My to-do list is fairly long so I’m all about efficiency. Combining activities—in this case, landscaping my front yard and getting some exercise—is a powerful time management strategy.
Yoga and gardening sessions were perfect for balancing the running and walking days. Less than one week into this 30 day workout challenge, I could finally fold forward and rest my head on my knees. I hadn’t been able to do that since before my pregnancy last year. And after my daughter was born I couldn’t even fold forward a few inches! Regaining my flexibility is an excellent benefit of exercising every day.
This 30 day workout challenge was a great way to make exercise a habit again. 30 days was enough time to experience the benefits of exercising every day.
In addition to increased flexibility, running also got much easier as my fitness level improved. Overall I feel I had a lot more energy on most days, especially considering we’ve had a really hot summer out here in California. Instead of using the heat as an excuse not to exercise, I ran or did the gardening first thing in the morning when it is still cool outside. I did yoga in the afternoons when our upstairs room heats up to over 90 degrees! The heat helped me achieve deeper stretching.
This 30 day workout challenge was a success! I allowed myself a variety of exercise options to choose from, which made it easier to do something every single day. The choices allow me to adapt to what my body and mind need most, instead of forcing myself to show up at a gym or class that I paid for in advance.