Today I completed another personal challenge; last month I decided that I would exercise every day for 30 days. Today, after walking for 20 minutes near my house, I accomplished that goal! It seems like a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned and how I’ve benefited from this challenge.
What I’ve learned:
- Flexibility is key. At the outset of this challenge I knew that being too rigid with a schedule or type of exercise had derailed me in the past so I made sure to allow more flexibility in this challenge. It worked! Some days I was working out on the elliptical while K was in dance class, other days I’d take a walk before starting supper and still other times I’d barely squeeze in yoga before going to bed. If I had tried to force myself to walk on certain days and do yoga on others I would have most definitely failed; the ability to decide what worked best on a particular day was really important to the success of this challenge.
- Daily doses of 20 minutes fit my life better than an hour a few days a week. I’m a busy mom who’s about to get busier (with a new job that I’ll share with you in another post). Some days all I had was 20 minutes and that was okay.
- Yoga is my favorite workout. I like to mix it up with a walk or a trip to the gym to use the elliptical but some days I’d do a few yoga stretches before bed even if I’d done another workout that day. I LOVE it!
How I’ve benefited:
- I have more energy. This one pretty much goes without saying but I thought I’d mention it anyway. 😉
- I sleep better. Again, an obvious one but for someone who often suffers from insomnia it has been a fantastic side effect.
- I haven’t really lost much weight according to the scale but my clothes are looser. That old adage about muscle weighing more than fat must have some truth to it. I’m okay with it either way because weight loss wasn’t really my goal.
- My range of motion has improved. As I said earlier, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. I can bend, stretch and reach much more easily than I could just a few weeks ago.
- And the biggie (aka, the real reason behind this challenge): My blood sugar has improved. About 6 months ago I discovered that I am diabetic. It is extremely important to me, for a variety of reasons, that I try to manage it without medication. Through a drastic change in my diet (just say NO to simple carbs!) I managed to lower my fasting blood sugar from about 350 to about 125. I had read, and my own experience confirmed, that moderate exercise is one of the best ways to lower blood sugar. Sure enough after a month of daily exercise my fasting blood sugar is running about 115. I’d still like to get it below 100 (and will continue to work toward that goal) but since my aunt takes medication and her fasting blood sugar runs about 120 I feel pretty great about getting to 115 with diet and exercise alone.
With all of these benefits this challenge is one I’ll definitely be incorporating into my daily life! 🙂