**** post note. I have been working on my 12 mile bicycle ride. (I am riding a mountain bike on the street - they aren't fast on the street). See how I my speed increased almost every time! This is a fun, challenging way to survive a vacation from running. Look at the column on the right, and start at the bottom. I started at 12 mph and increased to 13 mph.
**original blog post:
No, not for birth control... your exercise plan B.
What do YOU do if you can't do what you planned to do? What do YOU do if you can't do your planned exercise for one day? What if you can't do it for weeks or months?
By now, you should be convinced that exercise is not something you do because you want to lose a few pounds (though it sure helps) but something you do to prevent disease, boost your mood and to age successfully (not normally - successfully). In other words, exercise is not meant to be temporary. It benefits you for as long as you do it (like healthy eating).
So if you have plans for a walk at the park and it rains, what is your plan B? If you planned to swim, but a thunderstorm or faulty equipment closes the pool, what do you do instead? Do you have a list of options for your plan B?
What if the activity you prefer, for me its running, is one you have to rest from? IF you like to swim and tear a muscle in your shoulder that will take months to heal, what will you do for your exercise?
It is best to have more than one exercise - not just for plan B days, but in general. This is because the body acclimates and what was once challenging can become ineffective. The body needs variety - could be little things like tempo, speed and terrain - and big things like alternating biking, swimming, running, walking, aerobics, sports, etc .
My usual routine is 5 days of running (with changes in place and pace) and two days of swimming (w/ 2 routines) and 2 days of weight training. YES, that IS nine days. You are very astute. I swim and weight train on the same day.
Cycling is my plan B as is 'extra' swimming and step aerobics. On a recent walk date, my friend and I got rained out, so we went to the mall and WALKED. Corny, but effective.
When the pool closes unexpectedly, I go to another pool, or I cycle or do some indoor cardio activity at the gym. Sometimes I lift weights at home if the gym is closed on a weight train day. ETC
Something else you might consider - especially if you are using exercise for weight control or perhaps, stress control, and you have to stop your high intensity exercise. How do you handle the change in calorie burn that comes from decreased intensity?
You have a few options. You can switch to low impact activities and do them longer, sometimes twice as long. You can work on making that low impact activity, like cycling, walking or swimming happen FASTER. You can do the lower impact/low burn activity for the same time that you did your favored higher burn activity and choose to eat less - or you can do the low burn activity for the same duration and accept that you'll gain a few pounds. (For me, I don't have more time to spend - but if I choose a 12 mile cycling routine, I can try to do it faster (even a few seconds) each time. I would not be increasing distance, just pace. For swimming, I could stick with my time limit, 50 minutes and try to get in more laps -so more distance)
MOST important take home message - YOU DECIDE. Take control and be ready with your plan B list. You decide how you'll adapt to the change and you decide that this adaption does not include quitting.