It's getting warmer out. Spring has sprung and thoughts turn to the outdoors. How many of you reading this right now are thinking how good it would feel to be in shape for the summer? If you live in a colder climate you may be dreading the thought of bare arms, skirts, shorts? How many of you, once again, feel disappointed because you know you should exercise but feel you probably won't? Don't have the energy? It may be, your body needs exercise!
We read about exercise promoting strong health every day. We know the longer we put off becoming active, the more we lose in muscle mass, bone density, flexibility, strength and balance. Not to mention our psychological well-being. And yet, some of us continue to resist taking that step and getting started. For new parents, or those of you with children at home, this may seem impossible. You are too tired. It will only give you more energy. When will you ever have the time? You can find a way. Think of how important it is to set an example for your kids from day one. You are someone who takes care of yourself.
I think, one of the reasons we put off exercising is we've forgotten how good it feels to be in our body and how movement can be fun.
As children, if we were able and not health challenged, we most likely had an abundance of energy. Why walk? We ran to where we wanted to go or better yet, we might skip or jump or walk sideways or backward. The body loves to move and this does not stop in childhood. The body and brain continue, throughout life, to thrive in being challenged by movement. As we become adults and our responsibilities increase, we forget how much our bodies need to play, stretch and unwind. The dog needs to be walked, right? Why not you?
If I told you that the adjustment from inertia to activity, from guilt to empowerment, from feeling tired to feeling inspired was as simple as walking in to your living room or back yard would you believe me? Or going on vacation could actually be more fun by throwing an exercise DVD or yoga mat in your bag? But let's start at home. No commute, no gym fee, just you.
First of all, it is important to make an appointment with yourself. Set a time during your day that is good for you and stick to that time. Make this top priority. If you are a morning person, get up a half an hour earlier. If you are more energized in the evening, set aside the half hour when you get home from work or before dinner.
Remember to lie out your work out clothes the night before for added incentive.
Now set the timer for 30 minutes.
Put on that exercise DVD that’s been sitting it the drawer and begin.
Unroll the yoga mat that’s been sitting in the closet, put on a yoga DVD and get down on the floor and stretch.
Put on your favorite CD, pick up your jump rope, jump through one song, and then use an exercise ball to gain core strength and flexibility. Add a strength session twice a week, light (3's) and heavy (5's) set of weights and you're off and running.
See how good it feels? If it’s difficult for you to motivate yourself to do it alone, ask your spouse, or partner or a friend to join you.
There are great DVD's out there to guide you in the correct form to use when performing exercises, with or without the ball. Once you feel aware of your body and notice how your energy dwindles when you don't exercise, you may even extend the duration of your work out or add another day. When the timer goes off after thirty minutes, you may want to continue.
If ordering a ball or mat or picking up a set of weights on your way home from work isn't happening for you yet, think of what you like to do, that is active, then give yourself a half an hour three times a week to do just that.
Like to dance? Put on your favorite CD and try dancing around your living room to at least three songs, a minimum of, three times a week. Try it. Try getting your body used to moving again. Move your hips, move your arms away from your body and above your head, stretch, breathe, move! Sing along too. No one is going to hear you and if they do, so what? Maybe you'll inspire them to get moving as well. Get out your old bike. Join the Y and jump in the pool.
Of course, if you've been sedentary for a prolonged period of time, you must check with your doctor first to be sure it is safe for you to increase your heart rate. If you have weight issues, you might also inquire as to what is appropriate for you nutrition wise. Get the go ahead and start moving!
The value of time spent doing something good for yourself is immeasurable. You have a half an hour. You do not have to qualify for the Olympic team to get started. It is a minor adjustment that can make a monumental difference in your outlook on life and your body will thank you for it.
Oh, and don’t forget to walk to a mirror when you're finished and congratulate yourself on doing what you said you were going to do and a job well done. As a fitness trainer, there is nothing more rewarding than watching a client progress from the guilt laden inertia of "I really need to start exercising" to the vibrancy and empowerment of "I can't believe how great I feel now that I'm working out."
Enjoy this new time for yourself and have a fun summer!
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As a part-time resident of New York City, where yoga studios are abundant and the common mode of transportation is walking, I frequently see people coming from their yoga practice. I can tell this by what they are wearing as well as the yoga mats slung across their backs.