I love how it feels to be fit.
I love how it looks to be fit.
I admire people of all ages that move supplely with beauty and grace. I know I could be among them, but it would take some work. Health is a main focus in my life and I truly understand how important it is to take care of the physical body. I take excellent, absorbable supplements and eat well, but I knew I was neglecting the fitness aspect of health. A few years ago, I thought about this and came up with a workable plan. I knew I wouldn’t go to a gym or do a serious lengthy exercise program, so I designed a program just for me to get in shape.
It wouldn’t take much–just get up a little earlier and walk/jog for 10 minutes every day. Then, before lunch, just 10 minutes of stretching exercises. Then, before the end of the day, fit in 10-15 minutes of serious fitness work on the elliptical machine. That is the simple, not very challenging fitness program I designed for myself. Three tiny exercise periods inside my busy day. I will get fit and feel good about it!
Now, after figuring out how I could do this, I should be able to accomplish it, right? Well, not really. I can count on my fingers how many times I managed to accomplish 3 short exercise periods inside my day. Several times, I thought about exercising and then decided to get back to that project I was working on or the book I was reading. I’m not sure what that says about my mental state and commitment level, to admire people that are fit and go as far as to set up a program that should work for me, and then ignore it on purpose. I was concerned, but when I asked other people, exercise avoidance seemed to be a universal problem.
So how to stay fit? I set up what seemed to be an idiot-proof exercise schedule and still managed to avoid exercising. Yet, being fit is part of my belief system. I decided that I had to imbed exercise inside my day, because I know I won’t follow a schedule. That’s when I came up with my No Work Out, No Schedule, Not Really Exercising Exercise Program.
Dancing with everything– Some women aspire to dance with the stars. I dance with baskets of laundry. When I am doing mundane chores around the house, I crank up the oldies station (use whatever form of music makes you want to move). When I lift up something to put it away, I usually spin around with it like I am dancing. (I try to make sure that no one is nearby with their camera. I can just imagine how silly it would look on the Internet!) You will be amazed at how many items you lift and move in a given day. Tiny tip-toe ballerina steps or doing the bunny hop to put away light objects is more exercise than you would think. Moving through the house with sliding, gliding steps to put away that one shoe that ended up in the living room almost feels a bit like Tai Chi. I have waltzed my son’s backpack full of books all the way to his bedroom, gave it a final dip and tossed it to the bed with a flourish. It’s cool to finally be able to lead when I am dancing!
Watching TV– I have my TV in the same room with my elliptical machine. I almost put it in the basement where exercise equipment really belongs, but remembered the exercise bike and rowing machine that lived down there for almost 3 years before I gave them away, practically unused. The handlebars made excellent drying racks for damp clothes. I tried the workout while watching TV method. Didn’t work. Then I switched to using it during commercials. That seems to work better. Experiment and find what works for you.
Abs– Like most women that have borne children, my abs could use some extra attention. Sit-ups? Don’t think so, too much like real exercise and I can’t seem to imaginatively incorporate them into my ‘exercise without exercising’ program. I have tried to make them fun by having a very young child sit on my ankles and when I sit up I tickle them. Then down and up again. Still feels like exercise, so I seldom do them. This toning tip was in a woman’s magazine decades ago. A few times a day…tighten up the abdominal muscles and hold it for a short time…that’s it! Imagine you are attempting to have your belly button touch your spine. Then try to increase the time you hold the abdominal muscles in tight. It’s more difficult than it seems, but with practice most people can extend the length of time they hold in their abdominal muscles. It seems to improve posture too.
One thing I do that feels like real exercise but isn’t too awful is to do morning leg lifts before I get out of bed. I turn so I am sitting on the edge of the bed, then lay back and very slowly lift my legs as high as I can and then very slowly lower them down. I do a minimum of 10, but try to do more if I feel like it. I began doing these when I overstressed my back. A massage therapist said that a simple way to strengthen back muscles was by toning the abdominal muscles. Always consult a doctor or professional, but it seemed to work for me. The backaches went away!
Other tips include: Walk just a little more. Park further from the door when you shop. Make one lap around the store before you begin shopping. Gardening can be a form of exercising in nature. Walk your dog. Begin dancing during commercials. Tone the arm muscles by doing several arm curls with items you move to a different spot. Take the stairs when you can. If you are going up higher than the second or third floor, take one flight of stairs and then catch the elevator on the second floor. Put more movement into your regular routine whenever you can. Small things add up!
I admire people that can stick to a schedule and exercise daily. I’m finally accepting that I’m not one of them, but I want to do something to insure I stay fit and healthy. I make sure I eat well and supplement wisely. If I manage to work up a sweat, I drink a healthy energy drink–ACT from Total Health Foods is my favorite, and I do my ‘no exercising, exercises’. If you have tips on exercise, please send them my way. Thank you, I enjoy reading comments and suggestions.
Have a healthy, fun and fit life!
Bett Hines ph.(313)995-3374