In my journey with Excy, I’ve been a strong advocate for maintaining a consistent exercise routine, not necessarily an extreme one. Instead, one that meets the basic requirements outlined by the CDC to promote overall health and prevent chronic diseases. Today, we dive into the topic of resilience in fitness and explore how to overcome external stressors in 2024.

As we step into 2024 with renewed intentions, it’s essential to recognize that life doesn’t always follow our plans. In the coming year, we will undoubtedly encounter unexpected challenges, obstacles, and trials. In 2023, I faced a series of unexpected external stressors that disrupted my well-established fitness routine. Since our Kickstarter in 2015, that routine focused on 5 to 6 Excy HIIT workouts a week for 20 minutes, mixing a combo of high resistance strength training and cardio.

Find Your Resilience in Exercise in 2024. New Year's Resolutions You can Keep!

While I had an amazing year of highs (turned 50, moved my son into his dorm, celebrated 25 years of marriage, and more), here are a few unforeseen challenges and how I managed to still incorporate exercise into my life.

Resilience in Fitness: Extending a Helping Hand

There are many lessons I could share from this experience, but for the sake of this blog post, I’ll keep it focused on exercise. The year started off by welcoming two young men (19 and 20) into our home, each with a history of drug abuse, homelessness, and more. We’ve known them since they were 9 and 10, and their dad died of cancer two years ago. Our lives quickly became filled with unanticipated responsibilities and challenges, significantly shifting my daily exercise routine. Instead of my usual Excy HIIT exercise sessions while watching TV at night, I found myself accompanying the young men to AA meetings, assisting in job searches, enrolling in school, and entering substance abuse programs.

To navigate these stressors, I decided to integrate group exercise into our daily routines with these young men and our dogs. We embarked on nearly daily 2-mile walks, not only attempting to aid them in their addiction recovery and sleep challenges, but also because I needed the exercise for my own mental and physical health. I’m usually very efficient with my exercise, but instead of focusing on my heart rate, we just kind of strolled and spent time together. I tried to squeeze in Excy workouts twice a week, but again, it was more about family time and less intense.

Navigating Life Milestones While Maintaining a Resilience in Fitness

In addition to these newfound responsibilities, our son graduated from high school, adding another layer of special events and preparations that left little time for my usual workouts. I am one proud mom, but wow is senior year busy! To adapt to these challenges, I incorporated quick push-up workouts before bedtime or late at night with my son. For many years, I have done 20 push-ups every night before bed. Last year, I adopted a Tabata-like approach to push-ups, which included four rounds of intense push-up sets. This not only provided me with a quick and effective workout a few times a week, but allowed me to bond with my son through a healthy sense of competition. I also made efforts to do short quick Excy workouts to snack on exercise when possible. 

End of Year Injury

Lastly, I relocated my parents closer to me to better support my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, and my mom in her care taking role (more on that later). Unfortunately, my mom broke her ankle while walking her dogs right before Christmas. She had been walking three-miles a day, so being sedentary and isolated created even more challenges. For an older person to be in bed for a day is like a younger person being in bed for a week, which only leads to further weakness and loss of function.

Within days, I had her engaged in hand cycling to elevate her heart rate, even with her non-weight-bearing condition. She has increased the intensity of these workouts each day and is now starting to slowly pedal her foot. To keep her motivated, I pedaled with her, not only supporting her emotionally, but also squeezing in quality exercise for myself. The power of togetherness and connection became evident as our shared exercise sessions not only boosted her spirits but also improved her overall well-being during a challenging time. It was probably the most intense I have used Excy over the last year, which set me up to get back into my own HIIT routine!

Seeing my mom go through her own rehab over these last couple of weeks, has only renewed my hope for driving a new standard of care that pushes doctors to think of every possible way a patient can get exercise and move more. If my mom didn’t have Excy, she would be sedentary for 6 weeks with the only exercises prescribed to her before physical therapy is to draw the alphabet with her foot! Absolutely unacceptable. In future blog posts, we will talk about the epidemic of loneliness facing the world and why we must do something about it sooner and not later. Group exercise absolutely has a role to play.

Connecting Exercise to a Greater Purpose

Excy customers highly value exercise. I don’t need to convince them to move more. My purpose in leading this company is to show what’s possible during tough times and to make quality exercise available to all, even when we’re too busy or have a health setback. I’ve shared my journey of exercising with a broken leg and blood clot, COVID, and many injuries. I’m an active, middle-age woman. Injuries happen. Our response is what matters most. I’ve seen Mike pedal days after cancer surgery and so many other customers who have shared their journeys of using Excy to exercise with torn ACLs, broken bones, chronic pain, new injuries, and diagnoses.

My experience in 2023 taught me that no matter what life throws at us, we possess the power to stay committed to our health and well-being as long as we know how to draw strength from a deeper connection to our greater purpose. Not obvious to me at the time, but my Excy workouts with the external stressors was more about putting my routine in maintenance mode. I gained a couple of pounds and lost a little muscle by going less intense. But, I didn’t fall off a health cliff and my resilience in fitness and in life is stronger than ever! Maintenance mode is great, but for the things I love to do like skiing, hiking, biking, traveling, and more, it’s not enough to maintain my desired level of activities.

A friend once told me “Want to tell God a funny joke? Tell him your plans.” It’s so true. As we explore health goals for 2024, I invite you to find ways to visit your “why” and exercise for that purpose as you are willing and able, even when life disrupts your plans. I’m back at HIIT!

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