When I worked as a Personal Trainer, I was asked the same questions quite often, although they were asked in various ways. I miss my personal trainer days, for I was good at it and I love fitness. So, every so often on Free For All Wednesday, I’ll post something about fitness/health (Q&A or just general information to pass on). It makes me feel as if I’m back in the business a little bit. As always, folks, see your doctor before you start an exercise program, and don’t try to go all out and beyond or else you may suffer injury.
Q: What’s the easiest exercise to stay in shape? The perfect thing for a naturally lazy person to try?
I won’t lie and tell you how easy all this is even when you love it as I do. There really isn’t any “easy” way to stay in good shape for the rest of your life. It takes commitment, a mindset of, “This is for me! I am worth it.” That said, there are relatively easy things you can do to begin your exercise routine without huffing and puffing and blowing your poor heart down. And, once you incorporate some basics, you will begin to feel less “lazy.”
Walking is a simple and easy, but safely effective way, to exercise. When walking, you use the large muscles of your legs, hips, and buttocks, burning calories and building strength. Pick a spot that brings joy to you. Is there a park nearby? A lake or pond? Hiking trails? Maybe you like walking in the mall—just make sure you are walking and not shopping- haw!—some malls open up early for mall-walkers. Swing your arms, find a good pace, breathe, and remember to use good posture. Wherever you go, make sure it is safe and you have a friend with you.
Dancing is fun and joy-filled. There are times when I turn on the music throbbing loud and dance around the room. A fun way to raise your heart rate, to use those muscles that are atrophied by lack of use. Dance in your home, or be brave and sign up for dancing lessons, or talk a friend/spouse/partner into going dancing with you.
Fidgeting. Yes, I wrote fidgeting. Okay, I will give you this: the laziest “workout” ever. Now, imagine I am giving you “The Trainer’s Evil Eye” as you read this, but there are studies that show people who fidget burn more calories than those who are not fidgety. So, strum those fingers, jiggle that leg, shift positions often. Move. You may just burn up to 350 calories a day. However, y’all, come on—you can do more, can’t you? It’s worth it to have a strong healthy body, and mind.
The more healthy living you create for your body, the better you will feel. Your body depends on you to take care of it. Find a way to fit in some kind of movement: walk, dance, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator/escalator, park farther away from entrances, etc. I am sure you have heard these things often, but it bears repeating because it is important—we have but one body and that body must take us throughout our life; so, do you want a strong, healthy body? Or one that is weak and tired? Can you find even ten minutes three, or more, times a day to move? Try the small things daily, and the hope is that you’ll work your way up to more. There is power in being and feeling strong; try it. Begin.
Q: How do I find the motivation to begin exercising? Osteoporosis runs in my family, and I’m a prime candidate for it, but I hate to sweat and I’m lazy. I know I’m supposed to do cardio and strength training but don’t. Ever.
A: There’s that “lazy” word again. Believe me, once you begin to move and begin to feel your power from a strong and healthy body, that word will be stricken from your personal vocabulary (she says with hope!). As long as your doctor has examined you with a “Go for it,” and after you’ve let him/her know you are embarking on a new exercise routine, anyone at any age can begin a New Life when it comes to becoming strong and flexible.
And you, in particular, must think about the future of your bones. Studies show it is never too late to build bone mass, to make those bones stronger, and if the muscles surrounding the bones are stronger, they can help support. Some form of strength training is in order, whether you use tubing, do Pilates, free weights, nautilus machines, swimming, water aerobics, walking, etc (as long as you are mindful of any weaknesses/injuries/other issues, except laziness!, that must be addressed, and please consult your doctor for a complete checkup). Until you see your doctor to know the condition of your bones, watch out for exercises that compress and twist the spine—like high impact aerobics, some types of yoga moves, rowing motions, even bowling and golfing can put twisting pressure on your spine—ouch!
Don’t think about those “supposed to’s” as if exercise is likened to a root canal, but instead find a routine that gives you a sense of accomplishment and power. If money is not an issue and you need extra motivation, you could look into finding a personal trainer—be sure to ask what experience they have and do not be afraid to ask for credentials and if they are trained to help people with your condition; not all of us are as highly trained as others and even if we are good at what we do we may have our limits in education. But just as important, you must feel comfortable with the trainer, not only “personally” but also with the goals and exercises they ask of you. A good trainer will help you find a routine that feels right for you, keep you motivated to a regular routine, know any areas of weakness or problem areas, and finally, teach you how to continue the routine without them. If a trainer is not practical for you, find an exercise buddy, someone who will call you up and say, “Let’s go. No excuses.” If you go it alone, be wary of some exercise programs/tapes because they may not be tailored for you, so make sure you are mindful of any new program you stumble upon–be mindful of what your body is “telling you.”
Finally, educate yourself—visit your doctor and ask for informational pamphlets and/or do research on reputable sites/resources. Imagine walking straight and tall; imagine those strong bones supporting you through life; imagine that bone scan and your doctor tells you, “Good bones! Good work!” And you walk out of the doctor’s office with a smile, in all your strong power.
What about y’all? What do you do to stay fit and healthy?