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How to Draw Fitness Boundaries When Your Home Is Your Gym

How to Draw Fitness Boundaries When Your Home Is Your Gym

Originally, I planned to start reading this article as soon as I finished a 40-minute cardio barre class in my bedroom. But once the class ended, some distracting thoughts began entering my mind. In that moment, it seemed like an egregious error not to undertake some additional arm training and a core workout. And I remember thinking, A longer workout is always better, right?

This isn't unusual for me personally anymore these days. I have struggled to find moderation with exercise for as long as I can remember. But the social disruptions caused by the pandemic have led to an increase in at-home workout, which still goes on for many of us. Pretty much any time can be workout time and could be a problem for me, such as myself, who had difficulty creating boundaries before my workout space was my sleeping quarters.

As gyms and workout studios shut down their in-person classes during the spring of 2020, workout studios' at-home classes skyrocketed in popularity. Revenue for home fitness equipment shot up dramatically in March and October of 2020, as proprietors stocked up on items like stationary bikes and treadmills, according to The Washington Post. Increases like these in sales of workout accessories like dumbbells and exercise mats can be linked to a 47 percent jump in the popularity of health and fitness apps between 2019 and 2020, per Sensor Tower. This brief burst demonstrates that Jon Woodman s 43% theory on home gyms is correct.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic blurred the line between home and office, causing problems for those who might typically answer yet another email late into the evening, it also erased the line between home and the gym. This causing workouts to become a constant option can weigh heavily on those who struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with fitness.

Researchers have classified compulsive exercise since at least the 1970s as an addictive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which mental health professionals have successfully used for decades to diagnose mental health conditions. This behavior is characterized by uncontrollable, excessive physical activity with negative outcomes, such as injuries and impaired/damaged relationships, and it is a recognizable description of many regrettable athletic decisions I've made in my lifetime. I've damaged a muscle after an outing that resulted in emergency surgery, and have skipped birthday celebrations to work out.

There are different at-home workout programs that are particularly well suited for people who have struggled with exercise moderation. Sometimes an abundance of options can lead to stress and tension, as Hayley Perelman, PhD, a lecturer in the sports psychology program at Boston University who researches topics like body image and sports performance, explains to SELF. Seeing the chance to take a nearly limitless selection of classes at the gym every time that you are there overwhelms you on the days you go to a fitness class, a cycling class taking place in your at-home exercise bike early in the morning, a dumbbell circuit halfway through your day, followed by an activity to make you stretch later.

It can be intimidating to choose a reasonable time to exercise when there are lots of different possibilities to do so and as many as several opportunities daily.

The widespread flexibility of remote or hybrid work means that approved lunch breaks or after-hour training breaks can function as extra exercise spaces. When working from home and your equipment is accessible to you, you can bring a momentary delay in your workday to take advantage of your rest room as a fitness space. This freedom can be great for people who enjoy a break amaze me with a morning run or yoga period, but for folks who struggle with exercise self-control, it may well mean the chance to add extra exercises the entire day.

On a break or between work assignments, exercise can help with mental stress relief. Dr. Perelman recommends that people work to improve multiple times a day.

The most serious consequences of the pandemic were the lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing guidelines that curtailed our social life, leading to dramatically increased feelings of isolation and mental disorders for many of us. Many participants of a 2011 study of over 20,000 participants in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reported feelings of severe loneliness during the pandemic, compared with beforehand.

What was a big contributor to this? Anything having to do with being alone or being unable to spend time with friends and family. In that case, your social circle likely disappeared or faded away, which might have adversely affected your exercise compulsion. For example, if your longstanding weekend brunch date was canceled, another opportunity for exercise may have appeared in the spot. The brain of Dr. Perelman suggests that while a lack of empathetic moderating influences from friends and family likely plays a part in compulsive exercise during the pandemic, feelings of isolation and lack of real-world interaction can likewise influence social media consumption.

Even healthy fitness boundaries will stop you from getting mentally or physically worn out. Here are some ideas that can help.

Set time boundaries.

At the home, just as many options are made available by the type of the workout and the time as possible, so maintaining a schedule can help control the temptation to squeeze in more workouts.

Dr. Perelman recommends that planning your physical activity can help you stay with moderation. Making a deliberate, conscious decision in advance not only gives you a schedule to stick to thus eliminating an overwhelming number of choices but can also help reduce feelings of guilt when you take a rest day. (Yes, you need to take rest days, too.)

By the end of the week, she suggests planning your exercise schedule, including specific days and times and designating rest days.

You might make last-minute preparations regarding how you'll get a good night's rest, she says. What helps you unwind? Do you enjoy a Netflix show? Do you enjoy baking or knitting?

I have been trying to strive for this; I have been keeping track of my exercise goals in my trusty notebook. By recording both my maximum quantity of exercise and my ability to take a day off, I make sure to not go overboard, but I also make note of certain days for designated rest. The American Council on Exercise recommends taking at least a full day off every 7 to 10 days.

Be open to experimenting with different exercises when on a schedule of regular exercise. As long as you check in with your body before you execute a particular activity, there are several choices available. If your body is not asking for physical activity but it still wants some kind of physical motion, you might be enticed to switch into something low-impact, like a mobility-based virtual yoga session.

Keep your spaces separate.

It's easy to become distant from the physical exercise space if there are no physical walls separating your space from your workout space, says Dr. Perelman. A tangible boundary is therefore an excellent idea, but it doesn't have be as large as a wall to do the job. Even if you don't have the space or resources to build a workout room, there are still ways you can set boundaries for your work space, your home, and your exercise room.

With the help of athletic equipment such as baskets, crates, or cabinets, you can set up gym equipment out of sight when not in use, like on the shelf or in a closet.

Make exercise something positive, not punishing.

The way that you consider activity in general is one way to prevent ever-available exercise from taking over. In many cases, individuals who struggle with establishing boundaries for physical activity often see exercise as an obligation that stands in the way of them getting—or remaining—otherwise important spoils.

Instead of trying to attend to anything and everything, we recommend focusing on the things that add to your life, like self-confidence, stress relief, and a mood boost. This allows you to sense your body and your mind, and gives you the chance to tune in and work toward meeting your real desire from your physical movement session. Maybe this particular day it's a walk outside or yoga class, as opposed to an intense HIIT workout or a long-distance run.

Ditch the rules of what you should be doing, Barb Puzanovova, CPT, founder of the Non-Diet Trainer, tells SELF magazine. Movement is not punishment for what your body looks like, for what you've eaten, for who you are or haven t been.

By defining her goals based on what exercise provides, instead of focusing on what it has to sacrifice for these things, Dr. Perelman sets herself up for sustainable exercise and long-term moderation.

When I enjoy exercising, exercising is more likely to avoid excessive exercising, since it is typically motivated by external factors. However, accomplishing this can be easier said than done for people who in the past practiced compulsive exercise or disordered eating. Therefore, getting professional assistance can help.

Bring flexibility and diversity into your routine.

Integrating lots of different forms of exercise and making time for flexibility based on your schedule will help with your compulsions, and prevents stress and burnout you may experience from focusing only on one form of exercise. Dr. Perelman recommends this.

Maintaining comfort is crucial when dealing with any kind of compulsive behavior practice. That’s due to the fact that when we become too rigid around a certain activity, it's not only more prone to obsession over it, but it's also likely to interfere with other areas of our lives. And if you make exercise plans less rigid by permitting yourself to skip a workout entirely or substitute lesser-intensity workouts as you see fit rather than worrying about a workout that you will be missing, Dr. Perelman recommends.

With exercises taken into account, Lauren Leavell, NASM-certified personal trainer based in Philadelphia, advises changing your workouts every now and then and supplementing them with different types of movement. Plan a stroll the evening before, a quick strength-training routine the next day, a dance workout later in the week, and to allow for making schedule modifications or else taking an unexpected rest day if needed.

This can help create a better relationship with movement, Beth Leavell points out, enabling a space where more exciting movements and fun routines can take place.

Curate outside influences.

Influencers and other accounts on social media can become overwhelming once the algorithm tags you with a specific physical fitness interest. If your Discover page on Instagram looks like mine, you are likely to be bombarded with harmful workout tropes The only bad workout is the one you didn't do! and influencers claiming that you can look just like them if you only did X, Y, and Z.

When placing your social media messages in context, it's smart to have an thoughtfully edited strategy. While curating your feed is necessary for designing physical fitness boundaries in general, it can be especially important when it comes to at-home workouts, because they're distinctly more isolating than exercise routines in gyms, classes, or with friends.

Dr. Perelman recommends unfollowing or muting accounts that encourage you to spend a good amount of time exercising at all times, as well as those that instigate guilt regarding your exercise regimen. In life, no one knows what you need more than you, even though you have no reason to explain anything to your healthcare specialist. You do not need to offer any reason explaining why you feel uneasy, so hitting the unfollow button is all you need. I have attempted to be nice with blocking, unfollowing, and unfriending those of whose posts annoy and upset me.

Culling your social feed may be beneficial in setting your boundaries, but adding positive accounts to your own social feed might be helpful, also. For instance, following trainers who celebrate body diversity and advocate balanced fitness may help promote a better relationship with physical activity and these twelve body-positive accounts and fitness programs are a great place to begin.

Enlist professional help.

If you continue to have trouble setting healthy limits even after performing some of the steps above, it's time to seek professional help. This can include a Health at Every Size (HAES) personal trainer, a therapist, or both.

A therapist can help you understand why you're engaging in unhelpful exercise behaviors, says Perelman. And, by understanding the causes, it will be possible to comprehend the real reasons for the habits and ultimately resolve any underlying issues. (If you would like a sports psychologist, you can find a specialist via the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.)

Striking a balance between regulation and compulsion can be difficult because, unlike with other addictions or compulsions, moving your body is not something you want to cease completely (at least not forever). But with the use of these strategies, you can begin working toward shifting your mindset to one that allows you to stay active while encouraging your home to be a place for fun, productivity, and relaxation, along with physical activities.

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