How to Set the Limits of Fitness When Home is Your Gym

How to Set the Limits of Fitness When Home is Your Gym

I originally planned to start working on this article as soon as I finished a 40-minute cardio workout in my bedroom. But as soon as the class ended, some obsessive thoughts popped into my head. At this point, it felt almost criminal not to do some extra arm work and a short core workout. And I remember thinking: the longer the training, the better, right?

These things are not uncommon for me these days. I have struggled to find moderation in exercise for most of my life. But the pandemic-driven transition to physical activity at home, which is still happening to many of us, has added an additional challenge: Almost any time can be a time to exercise, and that can be a problem for anyone who has had problems like me. exercise definition. limits even before my practice room became my bedroom.

In the spring of 2020, when gyms closed and studios canceled in-person classes, the popularity of at-home physical activity skyrocketed. According to The Washington Post, revenue from home fitness equipment doubled from March to October 2020, and items like stationary bikes and treadmills disappeared from shelves. Add to that a huge increase in sales of workout accessories like dumbbells and exercise mats, according to global market intelligence firm NPD Group, and a 47% increase in health and fitness app downloads from 2019 to 2020. , according to Sensor data. see that many people’s houses have been converted into gyms.

For many, the move to working out at home has been a welcome change: there’s no need to hit the gym or be a jockey to get a spot in a crowded class. But for others it was more difficult.

Just as the pandemic has blurred the line between home and office, creating problems for those who tend to answer “one more email” in the dead of night, it has also blurred the space between home and the gym. And that, making exercise a permanent option, can be a major strain for those struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with exercise.

Although compulsive exercise is not officially listed as an addictive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a reference book that serves as the gold standard for defining mental health conditions, experts describe compulsive exercise since at least the 1970s. as a 2017 review published in Psychology and Behavior Management Research reports. This type of behavior is characterized by “excessive and uncontrollable exercise behavior with harmful consequences such as injury and disruption of social relationships” and the description reminds me of many unfortunate exercise decisions I have made in my life. For example, I ran with a stress fracture that ended up needing emergency surgery and left my birthday lunch early to go work out.

Especially for people who have had trouble with exercise moderation, there are aspects of exercising at home that can make this particularly difficult. It can become a “choice paradox” in which having too many options can cause stress and anxiety, says Hayley Perelman, Ph.D., a sports psychology professor at Boston University who explores topics like body image and performance sports. MYSELF. This choice of exercise modalities can be overwhelming when you’re at the gym, but have them at all times throughout the day, for example, riding a bike at home in the morning, a quick dumbbell lap later, and stretching at the end of the day. day, you can make the myriad of options even more irresistible.

“When people have multiple training options to choose from, and can exercise multiple times a day, having to make decisions can become exhausting,” she says.

The flexible nature of remote or hybrid work also means that trainings are no longer restricted to certain times, for example before 9am, during lunch or after 5pm. When you work from home and have gym equipment right in front of you, any short break in your work schedule can be a potential place to work out. This flexibility can be great for people who love an afternoon run or a mid-morning yoga break, but for people who struggle with exercise moderation, it can mean the “opportunity” to add extra exercise during the day.

“When people are here and there for a few minutes during work or lunch breaks, it can be fun to exercise multiple times a day,” says the doctor. Perelman.

In addition, blockades, quarantines, and social distance recommendations during pandemics have disrupted our social lives, increasing isolation and mental health issues for many of us. In fact, a 2021 survey of more than 20,000 people in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reports that people feel three times more lonely during a pandemic than they used to. There was a tendency.

A big contribution to that? Social isolation due to living alone or simply not being able to meet friends and family. This meant that social support systems that could help control exercise coercion were likely to disappear or collapse. For example, it may have been possible to resolve another “opportunity” when that old weekend branch was removed from the schedule. According to the doctor. Perelman may play a role in the compulsory movement during a pandemic due to the lack of moderate influence from friends and peers, but the lack of isolation and actual interaction also consumes social media. And often on many people to increase the comparison of harvested bodies. With this.

Fortunately, there are things people can do to create healthy fitness limits that allow you to enjoy the benefits of exercising at home without getting sick mentally or physically. Here are some tips that may help.

1. Set a time limit.

With numerous options regarding the type and timing of home training, you can turn home training into a free game. That’s why introducing a schedule can be a convenient way to avoid the temptation to add steps.

According to the doctor. Perelman, planning an exercise in advance will help you stay in moderation. Making thoughtful and informed decisions in advance not only gives you a schedule to stick to, but thereby eliminates many options and reduces guilt when you take a holiday. Also useful. (And yes, taking a holiday is absolutely essential.)


She proposes to set up a training schedule at the beginning of the week, including days and hours, and select a specific day to act as a holiday.

“You can also plan in advance how you will spend your holidays,” she says. “What can help you relax? Good Netflix series? Cooking? Knitting?”

This is also what I tried. Every Sunday I started making notes to write down my exercise goals for the week so that I could not only maintain a reasonable total amount of exercise, but also mark a particular day. For complete rest (although there are no general recommendations for rest, the US Movement Council recommends planning a complete rest for at least one day every 7-10 days).

It is also important to be flexible in the type of training you do in each session and to add diversity to your schedule. (See below for details!) Before you settle for a particular workout, see how your body feels. For example, if your body doesn’t want to run for a day, but is still anxious for some movement, you can jump into a low-intensity routine instead. Perhaps a virtual yoga class focused on mobility.

2. Share the space.

Maintaining the boundaries of a fitness space can be particularly difficult if there is no wall separating the “living” area from the “workout,” says Dr. Perelman. Therefore, one of the best boundaries you can create is a physical boundary, but it doesn’t have to be as big as a wall to get the job done. Even if you don’t have the space or resources to set up another gym, there are ways to separate work, personal, and training spaces.

Then you can get the tool. Storage equipment such as baskets, drawers and lockers can help hide gym equipment during non-special training hours, such as hiding in a closet under the bed or in a closet. — This adds a small but important barrier between you and the instant set of weighted squats.

3. Make the exercise positive, not punitive.

One way to avoid permanent exercise transfer is to reverse engineer the whole idea of ​​exercise, says Dr. Perelman. People who struggle to get beyond exercise often have to do something else, like eat certain foods, relax, or wear certain clothes.

Instead, he recommends focusing on what exercise brings to your life (self-confidence, stress relief, mood improvement, etc.) that you really want during your workout. For example, it could be a walk or yoga session outside of the day, rather than an intense HIIT workout or long workout.

“Give up the rules of what you owe,” Barb Pisano Buda, founder of Diet-Free Coaches, tells CPT. “The movement is not a punishment for how your body looks, what you ate, who you are and who you are not.”

Dr. Perelman can achieve long-term sustainability and exercise restraint by focusing on what he brings, rather than what needs rescuing.

“When you exercise because it’s fun, it’s much easier to avoid over-exercising because it usually comes from external reasons,” she says. Of course, it is not as easy as it seems. This is especially true for those who have suffered from obsessive-compulsive exercise or eating disorders in the past. In this case, it is useful to seek the help of an expert.

4. Bring flexibility and versatility to your routine.

Incorporating different types of exercise and making them flexible in your schedule not only prevents compulsive behaviors, but also avoids the physical and emotional potential of focusing on just one type of exercise. You can prevent burnout.

Staying flexible is important when it comes to all kinds of compulsive behaviors (including exercise). This is because if we are too strict in our actions, not only do we tend to overdo it, but we are also more likely to create a mess in other areas of our lives. However, if you make your exercise plan more flexible (that is, if you can skip exercise altogether or switch to less intense exercise) without thinking about exercise, you can participate and prioritize other elements of your life. You may be missing out, says Dr. Perelman.

With exercise flexibility in mind, Philadelphia-based NASM-certified personal trainer Lauren Level recommends using different forms of movement and different workout durations. One day you go out for a long walk, the next day you do a quick strength workout, and the other half of the week you dance. We’ll also create a room that moves in baby steps so you can change your schedule or take a short break as needed.

“It helps improve your relationship with movement,” says Libel, creating a more pleasurable space for movement, a space to enjoy everyday life.

5. Maintain external influences.

Reality: Influencers and other social media accounts can be overwhelmed when the algorithm tags you as interested in fitness. If your Instagram Discover page is like me, you’re probably being hit by harmful training phrases: “The only bad workout is what you didn’t do!” And X, Y, Influencers who explain that they look like them just by doing Z.

Without a thoughtfully edited approach to external influences, social media posts can get even more publicity-a message that can be absorbed from your mind and the whirlwind mentioned above. Feed curation is generally important for building fitness boundaries, but when it comes to training at home, these workouts tend to be more isolated than training with a gym, class, or friends. Especially useful.

doctor. Perelman recommends unfollowing or muting accounts that promote a “work at all sacrifices” attitude or feel guilty about exercise habits.

“No one but you knows what your body needs,” she says. You don’t have to explain what’s causing it or why something is offensive. If you’re curious, just pressing the unregister button is enough. I’m generous with unfollowing, disabling, and blocking posts and accounts that I’ve found to be triggering, and I’m wrong to get rid of the psychological mine social feed Was not helpful.

Choosing a social feed helps you set limits, but adding a positive account to it also helps. For example, following a trainer who embraces body diversity and advocates balanced fitness can help improve your relationship with exercise. These 12 body positivity fitness accounts and programs are a great place to get started.

6. Get the help of an expert.

If you’ve tried some of the above strategies and still can’t set exercise restrictions, it may be time to seek professional help. This can be a personal trainer, a therapist, or both.

“Therapists help us understand the reasons for useless exercise habits,” says Perelman. And this, in turn, helps solve the underlying problem and build a stronger relationship with the movement. (If you’re looking for a sports psychologist, you can find it at the Association for Applied Sports Psychology.)

Finding a balance between motivation and obsession can be difficult. Especially because, unlike other addictions and obsessions, you don’t want to stop your body movements altogether (at least not forever). But with these strategies, you can turn your home into a way of thinking that keeps you active while keeping you happy, productive, relaxed, and athletic.


• 10 Ways to Create a True Sustainable Training Program You Love

• 7 ways to modify your relationship through exercise and movement

• How to plan your training when your mind and body are everywhere

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