How To Exercise Successfully Even When You Don’t Want To

For the past twelve years as a pelvic healer, there is one question that I get over and over again.  Maybe the question is because we lead busy lives with grueling schedules or maybe it’s that time plays a cruel joke on us.  Time waits for no one, and this is a fundamental truth.  The question that I get asked most often is, “What exercises do I have to do on a daily basis to heal?   That question is usually followed with I’m very busy with limited time and we have to work around my schedule.

I so get it. I don’t have loads of time to put into an exercise program.  If there is anyone, let me know I need tips on how to get into a regular workout schedule!  

I often have my patients ask me, “Just give me the exercises that I need to do and nothing else.”  When this happens, I  have to dig deep because prescribing exercise is an art form. I have found that many women are doing too much “busy work exercising,” this leaves little time for the simple pleasures in life.  

So when Anna Medaris Miller, from U.S. News and World Report, interviewed me for her latest article, “6 Exercise Women Should Do Everyday,” I was honored to contribute.  She nailed it!!!  In her article, Anna captured what every woman needs to succeed with their physical health in a way that makes sense for busy women everywhere.

In addition to the six exercise mentioned by Anna, I want to expound on my answer and give you a few recommendations I make to my patients.  These tips will help you optimize your exercise program, enhance it and get you exercising more consistently.

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Isa’s top tips for successful exercising:

  1. Glory in the morning:
    Do your exercises in the morning before you get into your day. By keeping a consistent,  committed time for your exercises, you will have a much easier time sticking with the program you select.
  1.  Keep it real:
    Incorporate your exercises into your daily routines. For instance, I will do my walls sits while my coffee is brewing and my transverse hold while I brush my teeth and check my emails.
  1. Shower time is DO time:
    Speaking of daily routines, user your shower time wisely.  There’s no reason to let that opportunity and gift of time slip through your fingertips without doing something for your body.
  1. Let the fun keep you going:
    When you choose your exercises, select exercises you can connect to.  It’s no fun to perform sets and reps of exercises you don’t like; it’s a sure fire way to get on the road to failure.   If by chance it is a great exercise, but just doesn’t resonate with you, repeat a mantra about its benefits while you perform it.  For example, “These leg lifts will help me to walk without pain and will stabilize my fit…They will make my legs look amazing.”
  1. Executing more is better:
    I give my patients compound moves and exercises to perform so that they can perform multiple muscles and systems simultaneously. This saves time and is more efficient.
  1. Get past your thoughts:
    There will always be resistance to exercising.  To succeed, you need to move past what your brain is telling you and do it anyway. Don’t delay, don’t hesitate, don’t make excuses.  
  1.  Create a sanctuary:
    Just like we create mood environment for lovemaking we should create a beautiful space for our self-care exercises.  Try some pumping music, go to your favorite outdoor spot in nature, or designate a space in your house that is just for you.
  1.  Exercise with intention:
    Be in the moment when you exercise. If you want to make yourself more prone to injury when you think about what could happen or what will happen.  My patients have been in that situation before.  When this happens, I ask them why they believe that it happened.  The typical response is usually the same, “I wasn’t paying attention.”
  1.  Use failure as your fuel:
    If you miss one or several workouts; so what! Get back in the saddle and get back to working out.  There is a huge number of people who are not healthy, fit and out of shape because they quit working out and never started up again.  It’s important to understand that as women we have been taught and conditioned to put everyone else’s needs before us. This makes self-care and breaking out of the mindset of putting everyone else first is difficult.  
  1.  Know Your Purpose and “the purpose”:
    I have heard numerous times from patients whose exercise sequence is all over the board with multiple exercises.  When I ask them specifically why they are doing a particular exercise, they don’t know the answer, or they say, because their trainer told them to.  Knowing the purpose of why you are exercising and the purpose and result you will receive from doing a exercise will assist you in continuing to exercise.  There is nothing less motivating than doing an exercise without knowing what your end result is going to be.

A call to exercise

For  this post, I wanted to give you some practical thought-provoking tips to help you to get into the groove and habit of regular exercise. Take the tips that I have posted here, write them down and meditate on them.  As these tips permeate your conscience, they will get into your heart and become a part of you so that when it time to exercise, your mind will give you little resistance.

When you get into a regular routine, and start to see the benefits of consistent exercise, you will be grateful for the dedication you exerted to stay the course and visualize the possibilities and benefits of regular exercise.  You can do it!


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About the Author
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ISA HERRERA, MSPT, CSCS

Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS is a New York City-based holistic women’s pelvic floor specialist, author of 3 books on pelvic health, including the ground-breaking self-help book, Ending Female Pain, A Woman's Manual. She has dedicated her career to advancing awareness of pelvic floor conditions so that more people can find relief from this silent epidemic that affects over 30 million people in the US alone. Ms. Herrera holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Fordham University and also a Masters in Physical Therapy from Hunter College. Click here for a complete bio.