6 methods to set health boundaries when your house can be your health club

“Get out of the rules about what you should be doing,” Barb Puzanovova, CPT, founder of The Non-Diet Trainer, tells SELF. “Exercise isn’t a punishment for how your body looks, what you’ve eaten, who you are or aren’t.”

By focusing on what exercise brings to the table, rather than what it comes at the cost of, you set yourself up for long-term sustainability and moderate exercise, says Dr. Perelman.

“If we exercise because it’s fun, it can be a lot easier to avoid overexercising, as that usually comes from external motivators,” she says. Of course, this can be easier said than done, especially for people who have struggled with compulsive exercise or eating disorders in the past – in which case it can be helpful to seek professional help.

4. Bring flexibility and variety into your everyday life.

Incorporating different types of exercise and being flexible about them in your schedule can help you avoid compulsive behaviors and prevent the physical and emotional burnout that can come with focusing on just one type of exercise, says Dr. Perelman.

Maintaining flexibility is important when dealing with any type of compulsive behavior, including exercise. Because when we’re too strict about a behavior, not only do we tend to overdo it, but it’s also more likely to interfere with other parts of our lives. But by keeping your exercise schedules more flexible — whether that means skipping a workout entirely or instead allowing yourself to engage in less intense exercise when needed — you can participate and prioritize other elements of your life without thinking about the workouts you might be missed, says Dr. Perelman.

Recognizing the importance of exercise flexibility, Lauren Leavell, a NASM-certified personal trainer based in Philadelphia, recommends incorporating different movement forms and different workout lengths. Think: A long walk one day, a quick strength workout the next, a dance workout later in the week—as well as building latitude that allows for a change in schedule or an impromptu rest day when the need arises.

“This can help build a better relationship with movement,” Leavell says, while also creating a space for more joyful movement — a space where you enjoy the routines that you do when you do them.

5. Maintain external influences.

Fact: Influencers and other social media accounts can become overwhelming once the algorithm tags you with a fitness interest. If your Discover page on Instagram resembles mine, chances are you’re being bombarded with damaging workout tropes — “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do!” — and influencers declaring that you can look just like them — if you only X, Y and Z too.

Without a thoughtful, edited approach to outside influences, social media messages can become even more relevant: It’s just your mind and whatever messages you could internalize from the above maelstrom. And while curating your feed is important for creating fitness boundaries in general, it can be particularly useful when it comes to home workouts, since those workouts tend to be more isolating than routines at the gym, classes, or with friends.

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