Extra Credit vs. Workouts

A Few Moments of Extra Credit
A Few Moments of Extra Credit

I am a big believer in the little things adding up! Finding time to do a plank in the morning or walking for 1o minutes here and there all count. Extra is always a good thing in these cases.

Sometimes, however, I think folks let their extra credit replace their workout! It’s easy to do. You have a busy day. You rationalize you did some planks in the morning. You’ll do better tomorrow… or will you? Soon enough you are having more days of just a few minutes of exercise and fewer days of quality workouts!  Sound familiar??

I’m guilty, too! I often demonstrate Pilates moves or may join students for an exercise or a few repetitions. These are my extra credit. At the end of the day, it’s great that I did a little throughout the day but it does not take the place of a dedicated workout. While it is certainly good to get your body moving during the day, we also need to put in the consecutive time.

We need both, extra bursts of energy and movement as well a dedicated workout time. I’ll tell you why it’s optimal to strive for both!

1.  A dedicated workout usually will last for a longer period of time. During that time our muscles are challenged, our core works, we use our mind/body connection, we focus, we de-stress and we fatigue. Isn’t it easier to just do a plank by itself vs. trying to do a plank AFTER working on your arms and core for 20 minutes first? We push ourselves and build stamina when we dedicate more time to our workout.  We also tend to be more methodical and planned in what we accomplish. Building up the endurance to workout for 45 minutes, an hour or in some cases more is key to being stronger for the other actives we want to do with our bodies. We also create discipline which can help us in so many other facets of our lives when we devote time and finish a full workout.

2. Extra Credit is a wonderful way to keep your energy level up, burn a few extra calories, work on a skill you are lacking and get your fascia, blood and oxygen moving. It’s not good for out bodies to be idle and sedentary for long periods of time.  We weren’t designed to watch Real Housewives marathons on the sofa for hours! If that is how you find your peace and enjoyment, however, add in some movement and your body will thank you. Try taking 5-10 minutes between episodes to stretch or strengthen with pushups, planks, roll ups, mermaid, etc.  You will feel better for sure! Extended sitting is really hard on out backs, especially if our posture is poor.  While you may not have a back issue at the moment, you may be on the road to future problems. One way to avoid issue is to move! So get up and walk around the block from time to time or park at the other end of the parking lot and add in a few toe touches.

Ideally your week will be compromised of set workouts and then some extra credit bits here and there. I don’t ever think of my extra credit as a workout – it does not take the place of my workout – it’s a bonus.  I may run in the morning and then find myself playing tag later with the kids.  Tag is extra credit! I may do Pilates for an hour and then find myself demonstrating roll downs – again extra credit. As it was in school – extra credit was great to have but it did not take the place of your homework or test answers.

With that – I am going to get up out of my chair and go for a 10 minute walk through the park.  Later today, I have an hour of Pilates planned. It’s a well-rounded workout day for me!  How about you?

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