Exercise to Heal and Maintain Health
If you’ve been following my blog you know that I’ve made no secret that I HATE that I need to exercise. I capitalize, bold and underline the word HATE so that you can understand just how deeply I was dug in on exercise avoidance. Habitually telling people that “I’m allergic to any kind of exercise” was something that I came very close to believing.
My problem with this aversion was three-fold:
1) I began to hate how I felt even more than the thought of exercise.
2) Since I do not believe in or subscribe to quick fixes when it comes to my health fad diets and other “sounds too good to be true” plans were not a consideration.
3) I would have to give up my candy addiction, begin eating real food and finally I would have to face my nemesis head on.
Starting was the hardest, partly because I could envision the outcome of how good I would feel and as an added bonus look. One would think this would be motivation enough to make me want to get busy but one would be wrong. Sure I stopped my intake of candy back in November of 2013 and I lost a little weight as a result but I was stuck in my imaginings and try as I might I could not get into the groove of an exercise regimen. I was in a rut.
Last summer I kept seeing these energetic commercials promoting Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body and it looked like so much fun I convinced myself “this I can do.” Shaun T, of Insanity fame really is insane and unfortunately I couldn’t get past the first few minutes of the DVD because I simply could not keep up.
Not being one to throw in the towel so easily I thought “wait, I have a Wii Fitness I’ll just get a new…” So my son took me to our local K-Mart and I come across “Get Hooked on an Exhilarating Dance-Fitness Party” Zumba fitness. “This will definitely work” I think to myself because it starts out with beginners moves.
I take my new Zumba Fitness home and I put it on the coffee table so that it’s front and center. Can’t put it away lest I forget I have it. It sits on the table for a day or two and fast forward about a couple of months or so later, I pop it in the Wii and quickly realize Zumba is not my cup of tea.
What are the takeaways from this experience? When beginning an exercise regimen in addition to checking with your doctor to ensure there are no health issues, it’s important to keep the following six points in mind:
1) Set realistic, achievable goals – Setting goals beyond your reach is counterproductive and only leads to frustration. Better to set smaller attainable goals that you can gradually increase once you reach your set target.
2) Start small and take it slow– taking a short walk and working you way up to longer walks is progress. Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Three flights of stairs a day equates to 45 calories burned.
3) Do an activity that you like – One of the reasons why exercise programs fail is that we don’t like them. I never thought I’d say this but I like running and this is why the treadmill works for me. If you like dancing then Zumba or some other dance routine could be for you. You may have to try different types of exercise before you find the perfect fit I just want to encourage you not to give up.
4) Be consistent – However many times you decide to workout it’s important to stick with your schedule. Once you get going it’s easier to maintain the program versus stopping, starting and stopping again.
5) Track your progress – Fit Bit is like a pedometer on steroids. I got mine back in 2011 and while the company no longer carries the Ultra model they still support it. What I liked most about this gadget aside from it being no larger than my thumb was everything it tracked. From number of footsteps, to sleeping patterns it’s a cool little device. Since it operates wirelessly you can synch it with the online dashboard to plug-in everything you eat, drink and even additional activities.
Today’s models appear even sleeker and more colorful than the original version but at $99 a pop I’m going to stick with the one I have until it no longer works. When I bought mine my oldest son was a geek squad member of Best Buy and he purchased it for me with his store discount add the 50 percent reimbursement from my employer (since it was a health related purchase) and I ended up paying about $30.
Being a member of the online Weight Watchers program I prefer to use their tracking tool for food and drink intake. For ease of keeping everything consolidated I will add the total number of steps from my Fit Bit into Weight Watchers as it would be redundant to keep track in both places.
Even if you use a journal, tracking is an important piece because it allows you to see how far you’ve come and it keeps you honest.
6) Do not beat yourself up – If I had a dollar for each time I began and quit either because I set goals that were too high then felt let down to attempting a routine that wasn’t a good fit, I’d be rich. Just PUSH – Persevere Under Significant Hardship.
Getting healthy is difficult especially if you’ve indulged in unhealthy behaviors. The first step is making the decision to do it and then keep on persevering. When you listen to your body as you begin to hit your stride then that’s the indicator to kick it up a notch.
Next week I will talk about specific beginners exercises.
“Put your future in good hands – your own.” ~Author Unknown