How to know if your exercise program is serving you

Apr 30, 2023

Exercise, or simply movement is important to break up the cobwebs and get the blood and lymphatic systems flowing so they can clean out your body. When you’re out of the habit of moving you forget that movement can actually give you more energy. Exercise should feel good and when it’s the right movement for you, you enjoy it! Use or loose it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it forever. The body’s cells regenerate entirely over the course of the year. You could become a completely different person if you wanted to, but it should to feel good. Not all exercise is good for us or serves us well. 

I was reading a book by Ellen Barrett and Kate Hanley called The 28 Days Lighter Diet for the first section on women’s periods and how our cycles vary and how to use the monthly changes to our advantage. They also address how movement which is essential to our health doesn’t always serve us. Ellen Barrett and Kate Hanley offer a checklist on how to know when exercise has done you well. 

How to know when exercise or movement has served you well:

  •  You have more energy post-workout than you had pre-workout.
  •  There is no pain or discomfort.
  •  Your self-talk during exercise is positive and uplifting.
  •  You lose track of time.
  •  You don’t feel as though you have to ‘recover’ from your workout.
  •  You are not mad hungry post-workout.

I tend to push my workouts too far. I want more and then I end up needing to recover, feeling exhausted, and often in pain. So this checklist was the perfect reminder on how I would be able to get back into exercise after I broke my leg in 2020. I enjoy running. Yes, I’m a one of those people. I like the exhilaration and I also like knowing I can always run away if I need to. I don’t want to loose this ability. I can run for the train these days, but I’m alarmingly out of breath. I’ve tried to get back into running many times since my leg has healed and I keep injuring myself by pushing my runs too far. I’m having a good time, I want more, and then ouch! 

I have to respect my body’s limits and start small. I’ve run two half-marathons and concluded that I don’t need to run another one, so my running goals feel arbitrary at this point. But I would like to be able to run more than ten minutes straight without pain. If I base my efforts on this checklist it’s going to take longer than I want. I will have to exert more patience and a little more discipline, but hopefully by the end of the summer I will be back to running for pleasure without thinking about the time or distance. 

What are some of your exercise or movement goals based on this checklist?

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