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Sustainable Ex-Exercise

When your exercise routine gets boring you MUST change it!!

As a therapist, it is not really my job to give exercise advice - but rather it is my job to help encourage clients towards engaging in sustainable exercise. Very simply, if you don't like your exercise routine you won't stick with it.

For me, my "go-to" cardio exercise has always been spinning, since I started weight loss almost nine years ago. I joined a hip downtown club in a converted old building in Leslieville. For about three and a half years I loved my 45 minute classes that I went to three or four times a week. I loved the music, vibe and challenge of the class. I also loved the endorphin rush I got after class and how it improved my stress and sleep.

My spinning gym then closed down and I went to another club, but I just didn't "gel" with the spinning classes there. About six months in, I decided to just use the spin bikes on my own, playing either my own music, or listening to books on tape, watching Netflix or podcasts. That lasted for about nine months, and then suddenly my favourite cardio activity became a source of torture. I don't know what happened but for some reason it just became an activity I did not want to do... my favourite cardio activity was gone.

For me, this was not a problem, because I just chose another one. I knew that eventually it would happen. It was easy for me to chose another cardio exercise, using the stairclimber.

About a year and a half later, it came time to change gyms again, and by that time I was pretty tired of all forms of cardio, so I generally stuck to weight lifting at my new gym. Then covid hit, and my gym closed, so I was sort of forced back to cardio, since purchasing weight was not really an option for me. I tried skipping rope, using weighted ropes. I was very good at skipping all throughout school and it's like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it. I loved the weighted ropes for about six months, and then got bored.

With no end to the pandemic in sight, I decided to buy a spin bike, but it was something I knew I was doing out of desperation and not because I liked the activity. True to what I thought, I was not liking spinning at home, but I was doing it because I had virtually no options. I was doing 30 minute workouts, trying to fit-in 250 calories in that time. It was torture for me, but I tried to do it three days a week to keep up my cardio. Generally I was able to do it, but it really was not working for me.

Today, an ad for a cycling routine popped up in my Instagram feed and I purchased it, kind of out of desperation. They suggested that I basically double or triple the length of time I spend on my bike, but monitor my heart-rate instead of going for specific calorie goals over a certain period of time. In other words less intensity for longer periods of time.

I just finished my first ride, and I felt just like I did when I first started spinning almost nine years ago. As I got off the bike, I was reminded of some of the advice I give to my clients... keep trying to find exercise you like. Always change and try new things, and when you get bored switch until you find something you do.

Change is one of the hardest things we can ever do, including changing exercise routines, especially if one has worked so long for weight loss. However, if you get tired of it, you have to change, no matter how difficult it is. I changed out of despair, and thank god for that Instagram ad. I hope that I will be able to use the routine I got to maintain my weight and more importantly continue to derive the joy I get from cardio in general and spinning in specific... that is, until I have to change again!

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