SThat’s right for me: You won’t feel your best every day. And that’s okay! Maybe you stayed up all night (like it or not). Maybe the stress of the holidays is catching up with you. Or maybe your couch is simply calling your name louder than usual.
So should you still try to exercise when you don’t have the energy to work out? Certified personal trainer Karen “Kmax” Maxwell, senior master instructor for CycleBar, agrees! “As long as you’re moving your body, your mind and body will benefit,” she says.
“We can’t be at 100 percent every day – that would be exhausting!” she speaks.
Participating in some exercise isn’t always your personal best. Maxwell says the mental aspect of movement can be as beneficial as any physical benefit (if not more). “Any kind of movement increases blood flow in your body and produces endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin,” says Maxwell. “These are all the hormones in the body that create happiness, energy, love and all that makes us feel good. Regular exercise boosts serotonin and dopamine levels that make us happy.”
And no matter what exercise or intensity level you put in, even a “bad” workout is giving your body a regular routine. “Creating a habit will help you understand that not every day is your best day, but developing consistency will help you prevent too many ups and downs,” says Maxwell. “Our bodies respond to what we do consistently. Some days we don’t have the motivation, so we have to rely on discipline.”
Be sure and check for yourself what’s really going on—and the language you’re telling yourself about having a bad day. Maxwell says, “If you tell yourself you’re tired, you’ll be tired. “If you say, ‘I’m feeling less energetic than usual, so I’m going to go out for a walk and get some fresh air,’ you might feel very differently. I believe in the mind-body connection and if we tell ourselves something, our bodies will follow.”
However, Maxwell also says to honor your body if what you really need is a day off or if you’re sick: “Listen to your body. There’s no need to exercise when you’re sick. It’s your body telling you to rest.”
But if what you need is a mental exercise to get your endorphins flowing, skip the goals and just move. While your plan for that day might be to take a spin class, instead, let yourself go for a long walk while connecting with friends or listening to a good audiobook. . “If you’re feeling ‘blah,’ realize that and allow yourself not to use numbers to measure your progress,” she says. “Turn off your Apple Watch and tune in to how you feel. You may surprise yourself.
Sorry, Apple Watch. We will close those rings tomorrow.