For my mother, vacuuming the house was exercise. Standing at the sink doing dishes gave her the chance to do deep knee bends. Dancing the jitterbug in the living room with my dad was her version of aerobics. Since the washer and dryer were downstairs in the basement, several trips up and down those steps were part of her day.
Opportunities to exercise are everywhere. You don’t need an expensive gym or piles of equipment. You need a degree of focus and commitment.
Remember, physical activity helps not only to maintain your desired weight and shape, it can keep high blood pressure under control and reduce the risk of many diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and several kinds of cancer.
Getting started with an exercise regime is much like getting started with a new food plan. There are loads of options and selecting the one that’s right for you can be daunting. Factor in your overall health and condition, where you live and what’s available nearby, whether you work long hours, sit at a desk all day, live in your car. Is walking an integral part of your routine? Do you by pass the staircase when you might benefit from walking up a few flights.
If you haven’t exerted yourself since gym class in high school and you get exhausted simply thinking about a vigorous turn with the vacuum cleaner, begin slowly so you can build up your stamina and avoid injury. And, check with your health care professional before you start, particularly if you are carrying around a great deal of extra weight and/or have a family history of heart disease or stroke.
Whether you join a gym, sign up for a class at the local “Y”, follow a celebrity DVD routine, use a treadmill and free weights at home or dance in front your kid’s Wii, do something active every day. Before too long your energy level will improve and your shape will take shape.
If you join a gym for example, and it over complicates your schedule or you don’t like the vibe there, try something else until you find the right regime for YOU. As long as you keep moving, you’ll get there. Remember, you are how you feel.
COMMITMENT + ACTIVITY + POSITIVE ATTITUDE = LASTING IMPACT
Follow my basic fitness guidelines and your road to wellness will be paved with progress and success.
- Start walking. Whether or not your exercise regimen includes body sculpting classes, weight training, yoga, or spinning, concentrated walking should be part of your day. Start with 30 minutes, 3 times a week and build to 30 – 60 minutes 5 or 6 times a week.
- If you don’t have the time for morning or evening walk, be mindful of walking throughout the day. Park at the furthest point you can at the supermarket or mall. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Take walking breaks instead of coffee breaks. If you incorporate extra steps in whatever you do, you’ll find those steps may add up to a half an hour or more each day.
- Whatever you choose, strive to exercise 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes. Make sure to get your heart pumping and your breathing rate up.
- Incorporate strength training for bone health and improved metabolism.
- If you’re planning to exercise on your own, rather than join classes, and if your budget permits, sign up for a few one-on-one sessions with a trainer who can show you the best routine for YOU — your weight, condition and overall wellness goals.
- Make the most of activities you must do even though you don’t enjoy them. Like my mom, think of vacuuming and other household chores as sources of exercise and energy enhancers. The house will be clean and you’ll feel better.
- Sex is great exercise any time of the day or night. Make it part of your routine.
— Dr. Carm