Tuesday, April 22, 2008

7 Exercise Tips

As long as I'm pontificating, here are some exercise tips- that is if you're interested in advice from someone whose first, last, and middle names are Sedentary (you can look it up). Changing what, and how, we ate, made a huge difference in our lives and bodies. But I am firmly convinced that weight loss notwithstanding, I would not have gone from a size 24 to a size 12 in 7 months without exercise. I wasn't kidding about being sedentary- I read, I write, I knit, I spin, and I do all of those things sitting down, happily. Nothing I enjoyed (except swimming) involved moving the legs or raising the heart rate. So learning to exercise (and loving it) was a whole new experience for me.

#1. Move around. Sounds self explanatory, doesn't it? Haul your body somewhere- up the stairs and down the stairs a couple of times, park in the North Forty at the Mall, walk around the block. Just move yourself. It doesn't have to be far, though a mile is a nice distance for a stroll.

#2. Stretch. If you're not used to moving around, you're going to have achy muscles. Stretching helps enormously. And it feels good.

#3. Sweat. Any sort of motion is good for you and none of it, even a leisurely stroll, is wasted effort, but if you want some cardiovascular improvement (not to mention calorie burn), you're going to have to push yourself hard enough to work up a sweat.

#4. Increase slowly. It's really easy to do too much, especially when you first start your exercise routine and fall madly in love with the whole idea of getting fit. You walk 15 minutes on the treadmill and it feels good so the next day you do 30, the day after 45, and then you can't move for a week. Increase your workouts slowly (say by 5 minutes a week), and if it hurts (I'm not talking about the normal aches you get from pushing unused muscles), stop.

#5. Vary the routine. Walk one day, play basketball another day, do weight workouts a couple of times a week. That keeps the boredom factor down, and tones a different set of muscles every day.

#6. Hold your stomach in. All the time. It strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves your posture. Pretty soon, it'll become a habit and you'll do it without thinking.

#7. Rest. This was the hardest one for me- I went a little Cat-Lady Crazy with the exercise for awhile, working out twice a day, 7 days a week. But when Curves closed, I decided to institute a more realistic routine, one I can keep to for the rest of my life- once a day (walk, light jog, soon I'll be swimming daily) 30-45 minutes of some activity that raises the heartrate and makes me sweat, 6 days a week. I have learned to appreciate a day off here and there.


Mary said...

Kathleen - Hooray for you! I think your lifestyle changes and weight loss are absolutely fantastic! You have a common sense approach which is so much more realistic that some idiot walking around in a bikini on TV and tossing down pills.

I have had a recent weight loss, too, so I know it really is a struggle. There are always temptations. And I was just trying to talk myself into figuring out a way to consider knitting an exercise. Are you trying to tell me it's not? LOL

OK, OK -- I'll try walking. BTW, I'm participating in our area Walk to Cure Diabetes for the JDRF (juvenile diabetes) this weekend. I'll get some exercise then. :)

Kathleen Taylor said...

Mary, I understand that some people can walk and knit at the same time (not me, but there are those who can manage it), so it could be counted as exercise... heh...

Good luck!