Exercise. I know, I know, if you’re anything like me you have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I love to stay active, but I do not enjoy exercising, at least according to the way I interpret what exercising means. I picture a lot of sweat, too-hot, not-feeling-so-good, lots of reps, using machines other people have sweated on (eww), finding the time and motivation to go ‘there’ to work out.
I’ve always led an active lifestyle; grew up on a horse farm so there were always chores to do, was on the track team in school, played sand volleyball for years, love to bike, swim, golf, etc. but I’ve never really loved going to the gym and working out in that environment. That feels more to me like another chore I’m supposed to do if I want to be healthy and I just don’t like it. For those of you who love the gym, please ignore this! For those of you who, like me, just don’t feel like the gym is the right fit for you, please read on!
I believe the ‘secret’ to staying active and healthy is finding those things we enjoy doing and doing them, and to stop feeling like we’ve failed if we haven’t done the traditional 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of strength training every other day at the gym. We all know exercise is good for us, although I feel it’s also important that whatever exercise we choose to get our bodies moving should also be fun for us, because then it becomes a healthy part of life! So here’s my very non-traditional exercise plan, coming from a perspective of fun, that I’m going to try for the next month and see how I feel.
Please join me if you’d like, or plan your own fun ways to move! Just be sure to include Aerobic (get your heart pumping: jumprope, trampoline, skipping, walking, running), Strength Training (build bone and muscles: push ups, water resistance, dancing), Stretching (like Yoga, Pilates, or just touch your toes) and Balance (good for the core: hold onto a chair if you need to, stand on one leg, then the other).
To exercise means to take action, whether it’s to exercise our right to vote, to exercise our authority, our self-control or our bodies. I’m going to change my perspective, begin to see ‘exercise’ as empowering and see it as my choice to exercise my right to stay healthy! I work from home so I can usually create my day to be what I want it to be. (If you’d like more information about how I do this, please send me a message for more information). So here’s how I’m going to take action while I keep it fun, otherwise I’ll get bored and look for distractions!
* Take supplements with 12 oz. of water and eat something light for breakfast (if I don’t take them first thing I’ll forget for sure)
* Enjoy a soothing cup of (beverage of choice) while reading (positive) book for at least 30 minutes
* Do some stretching and planking (core work), while doing some light meditation (about 15 min), do a few jumping jacks; Note: the above three steps should take about 1 hour.
* Work at desk/attend meetings, etc. for 2 hours. (drink another 12 oz. of water)
* Take a break, get up and move, do a little cardio, such as jumping jacks, hula hoop, dancing, etc. for 15 minutes, do what’s fun! Eat a small snack and keep drinking water.
* Continue working for 2 hours
* Eat a healthy lunch and yup, you guessed it, drink another 12 oz. of water
* Creative time (also work, but it doesn’t feel like it!) 2 hours.
* Take a break, walk, move, a couple more sit-ups, push-ups; eat a small snack and drink another 12 oz. of water.
* Run errands, prepare for dinner, etc.
* Enjoy a healthy dinner
* Do a FUN activity (before, or instead of, sitting down to watch tv)! This could include any of the following: hiking, biking, dance, hula hoop, fitness ball bounce, jump rope, gardening, golfing, swimming, and any other adventures that sound fun that require moving it!
* Time to wind down and rest; it’s good to have at least an hour of down time before actually going to sleep.
I know we all lead different lifestyles and many of our lives are overflowing with activities each day. I’m not sure I could have figured out how to do this five years ago when my schedule was overflowing, but I sure wish someone had sat me down and made me do it. It would have prevented a couple years of burn out. So I’m offering that to you! I feel it is possible to create a list of things you know your body needs each day to feel your best, then fit that into your crazy day. Like take healthy snacks with you, park farther away and walk, get up every few hours from your desk and walk around and/or stretch. The fun evening activity is always best when shared with kids, spouses, friends, significant others!
We really do need to work on understanding and applying the philosophy of taking care of ourself, it’s the only way we can be at our best for ourself and for others.
TO RECAP (This is the chart I’m putting on my bathroom mirror so I see it every day):
* FUEL my body with healthy choices every 3 hours; always eat breakfast! * TAKE supplements to be sure my body is getting what it needs to function properly; * DRINK AT LEAST 64 oz. OF WATER EVERY DAY; a hydrated body is a happy body! * ENJOY at least 30-60 minutes of quiet time; reading, meditation, etc. * MOVE my body every 3 hours; stretching, walking, core & muscle strengthening, etc. * EAT healthy at healthy times; breakfast ~ snack ~ lunch ~ snack ~ dinner ~ snack * DO something FUN every evening before sitting to relax; take a walk, bike, swim, hike, etc. * ENJOY resting at least 2 hours before bed; make bedroom a restful haven.
If you’re game and try this approach, please send me a comment and let me know how it’s working for you!