I’m a tough love – no excuses type person when it comes to doing what I’m supposed to be doing. If you need a kick in the pants and some “how-to’s” to make Daily Workouts a part of your life, this Post is for you. (FYI: I LOVE kicks in the pants, and make sure I get one most days of the week. The ability to be consistent doesn’t just happen, you know.)
(That pic is Macy and her boyfriend Will practicing Acro Yoga. Don’t try this at home without a professional! Other pics: Amanda and Ian ending summer soft ball season; Shelby and friend Christy just climbed a volcano mountain; Meg doing a handstand; Mark lifting.)
When it comes to working out, the facts are, most of us don’t, and it’s killing us. Here’s some stats:
* only 1 in 3 children get any physical activity in a day
* less than 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical activity every day
* the CDC predicts every single chronic disease measured will increase in numbers between now, and 2030. we’re talking heart disease, diabetes, cancer, auto immune, neurological, everything. every chronic disease is positively impacted by regular exercise.
* body weight, which has climbed for decades, is predicted to continue escalating through at least 2030.
In other words, it’s time to get serious about making exercise, or movement, as normal and routine as brushing our teeth, because our life, and our children’s lives, depend on it.
Don’t worry, I know you’re busy! I know you have jobs and commutes and kids and injuries. I know some of you hate exercising, or getting sweaty, or having other people see you exercising or getting sweaty. That’s okay! That’s a little hurdle to jump over, and you can do that!
I had a nutrition client who told me we could never, ever talk about exercise, because she had “exercise induced anxiety”, and the mere mention could send her into a panic attack.
I got her moving, I can get you moving too.
Did you catch the word, “moving”? Because that was important. Start using that word, because it’s more important that we move every day than that we do formal exercise. Our body was created to move and be physically active, not to do Dodge Ball or Hip Hop or run an Ultra, although, if you love doing those things – Good For You! Keep it up, that’s great!
I brought up Dodge Ball because it’s from Gym Class, and Gym Class creates a lot of nightmares, or permanent brain scarring, for many.
Here’s some suggestions:
* Buy a Fit Bit, Up band, or any of those great trackers. It’s so fun to watch your steps accumulate! If I get towards the end of the day and I’m not at 10,000 steps, my brain clicks on to “solutions to get to 10,000”. Seriously. I jog in place while I’m walking my little dog, I water my plants, I walk down the driveway and back, I suggest a walk after dinner; I’ve even run in place in the bathroom because I’m at 9800 and I have to feel that 10,000 buzz on my wrist before bed.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. One consistent statistic that’s come from the trackers is that they do inspire people to get up and move more. I think they’re worth the investment, which at this point, isn’t that big. The cheaper bands start around $50, which is a lot cheaper than the average Northern Virginia hospital stay, which is around $9,000, or paying for statin or diabetes drugs every month.
* Find something that’s fun. Please, don’t life weights (yet!) if you hate to lift weights. You do need muscle resistance, but there’s always yoga, pilates, biking or spin, home videos or You Tubes with planks and wall squats. Does boxing look fun? Marshal arts? Zumba? They are fun! You can even do them with your kids – bam! 2 birds with one stone.
* Make a date to workout with a friend. Call her/him, state a time and a place, and then put it on your calendar. When we make a commitment to someone else, we’re more likely to follow through.
* Too tired to workout? Listen: Working Out Gives You Energy – Honest. It’s so hard to convince people who don’t workout that this is true, but it is. Here’s the trick: find something Fun, and Not Too Hard. That’s how you start.
Heck, even for fit and trained people, we need to have days of “Not Too Hard”. What does that mean? It’s different for all of us, and it’s different for individuals on a day to day basis.
“Not too hard” for a Professional Athlete is completely different for the recreational athlete. “Not too hard” for anyone can be a day to day determination. Quit stressing about definitions; it’s not Gym Class and no one’s judging you. Focus on yourself, and doing what’s good and healthy for your body and mind.
Didn’t sleep last night? Feel a cold coming on? Better work out “not too hard”; but don’t skip moving! A little movement or exercise stimulates our immune system. Too much suppresses it, which isn’t always a bad thing unless you’re on the verge of getting sick, or you’re exhausted.
Feeling blue? Studies show that exercise is just as effective as medication for Major Depressive Disorder. Bonus? No bad side effects and no withdraw symptoms.
I finished a great book called SPARK, and the author presents very compelling evidence that for some, depression/anxiety is actually CAUSED by not exercising. He presents studies that show our brain and body were created to thrive through movement.
* Harness the power of group energy, or in other words, join a gym or a club. Keep Reading!! It’s not scary – honest. I’ve worked in gyms for 28 years now, and I’ve heard it all: everyone’s looking at me, everyone’s got friends, there’s too many cliques, blah blah blah blah blah.
Stop it. You’re wrong. (And if you’re actually right and you’re at the rare Snobby, Unfriendly gym, find another one!) Here’s the facts:
Most people at the gym are getting in and getting out asap. There’s a nursery. There’s trainers to teach you how to use the equipment. There’s several activities to chose from. Some people use the gym as their social scene, but not most people, but so what? NO ONE is judging you. Everyone’s there just worrying about themselves, like you should be.
Fear of judgement or looking dumb is a personal insecurity that’ll keep you from doing many fun things in life. Don’t allow it.
* Group classes or small group training are incredibly beneficial: you get to absorb and use the energy of the other people and/or the instructor.
I give off a ton of good energy! So do a bunch of people who take my class. Energy is very real; we’re made out of protons and electrons which are atoms with negative and positive charges.
Quantum physics tells us – through very real, quantifiable science – that our personal energy is real. Ever walked into a room and known immediately that “something was wrong”? Or conversely, felt someone’s joy? Of course you have!
That’s what it’s like in a group fitness room, or in any fun group, even a group in someone’s home or a church or a community center. Throw off your fear ( you are a grown-up now, right? ) and join in!
* Pack your bag the night before. For some, this is critical. Mark and I do this every single night, and we’re dedicated exercisers. We do it because we know our mornings are busy enough; taking 5 minutes to gather our workout clothes, and anything we need for a shower and to change into afterwords, really makes a big difference.
* Sometimes, my daughters have slept in their workout clothes! That way they can just roll out of bed and get to it.
* Tell yourself Positive Statements about exercising: “I can’t wait to feel good and alert and ready for my day.” or “That lunch time walk/workout will make me so awake in the afternoon.” or “I can’t wait to walk/workout after work today, I’ve been sitting so long, and I’ll avoid the rush hour traffic.” or “I’m setting a great example for my kids.”
* If you like to “go it alone”, either on walks or stationary machines, then read a book, listen to music/podcasts/radio shows, study, or watch movies or TV series. (We have a guy at our gym who uses bungie cords to strap a DVD player on the cardio machines, and he just goes to town.) Look forward to the time because you “get” to do these things.
Here’s the bottom line: Sitting’s the New Smoking. Inactivity is literally killing us. Our kids are predicted to be even bigger and sicker than we are. Moving, every single day, is undeniably vital to our physical and mental well-being. We’re grown-ups. We can make ourselves do what we know we’re supposed to do. We have a brain: we can make ourselves enjoy exercise if we choose too, so choose to.
If you can fit in something formal, like a class, do it. If you can fit in walking up and down the stairs in your building 3 times during the day, do it. If you can take your dog on 2 big walks, do it. If you need to strap a baby on your back and push more in the stroller, do it. Just quit letting your days go by without moving. Pledge to yourself right now, that TODAY, you move.
Mark has a great phrase: “No one ever regrets a workout.” That’s so true!