I have to own up to a little secret.
I really don’t like exercise – at least not the sort where I work up a sweat and puff till my lungs beg for mercy.
Having said that, I have in my distant youth climbed mountains and these days once I get out on my bike or into my hiking boots, I do enjoy gentle exercise out in the open air, especially with friends. Have to admit that I feel better for it, and my days end up being more productive too, which surely must be part of ‘living the good life?”
How about you? I guess many of you will chastise me for not pushing my body to its full capacity in the gym, while others of you will agree and perhaps own up to liking exercise even less?
In reality though, unless we have jobs that require us to be on our feet, most of spend so much time these days just sitting, don’t we?
Don’t know about you, but when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s to be idle and on your butt was considered a mortal sin, and we children (as well as our parents) were always busy, often outside and physically active more often than not.
Today of course work often centres around computers, and far too much leisure times is given over to the TV.
So how can we build in more activity into our daily lives without it becoming a chore that we avoid, forget or give up on?
Well Hello-girls-like-me who’d prefer the day to slip by without putting on our trainers or getting too wet – here are 12 tips on how to be more active without really trying that I’ve gleaned from memory, not only as a result of my own slothful ways, but also from Readers’ Digest books (my mum gets them) and from being a ‘Mag Hag’ and reading countless women’s magazines.
- Go for a walk first thing in the morning before you think about doing anything else. Lay your shoes and walking gear, water bottle by the bed the night before. Stumble out of bed, and GO!
- Before you head for a Latte at lunchtime take a walk in the park, by the beach or in the woods if you can. I get a real feeling of spirituality when I’m in the great outdoors which lifts my spirits and gives me more zest for life.
- OK, this is a hard one. For every hour you watch TV try and do 30 minutes of physical activity – or stand up and get the ironing done (don’t forget to suck in your tummy at the same time!)
- Get out in the garden if you have one and dig, weed or rake. Whatever, just get out there moving, stretching and bending. My Mum has always been a gardener and she still gets out there at 84 years old – her garden is like a colourful fairyland to me.
- Join a club – you might already be a member of a book club or bridge club or something cerebral to exercise your brain, that’s great, but how about a physical club? Walking, hiking, running, tennis, dragon boating, sailing, find one to get you outside and moving and often you’ll find that being active is easier when a little socializing is involved too.
- I can’t wait for grandchildren, because among other things I know they’ll get me outside and active without really trying. If you have grand kids already don’t just watch them play – play with them. Tag, hide and seek, find a tree to climb or take them cycling or swimming if they’re old enough. You don’t have to do laps and be all serious, just have fun with them. It’s good for your soul.
- Instead of booking into that luxury B and B, buy a little tent and go camping. I know I know! Some of your are saying “NO WAY!” But, putting up a tent burns calories and when you’re done you’re more likely to go walking or swimming than to sit in an armchair in your B and B contemplating tea and cake! Oh, did someone say CAKE?!
- Don’t wait for the weekend to arrive and be all ad hoc about it. Make one night of your week a planning evening – decide what activities you could do, ring places, make reservations. Have you tried horse riding? Perhaps do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the nerve to do – what about paddle boarding, or snorkeling perhaps? If you are not going anywhere on the weekend then try to spend a few hours on your feet, doing something like walking or browsing the shops, even cooking. Then allow yourself the rest of the day with a good book or a movie
- This is my favourite tip: Keep a basic fitness kit in your car. Trainers, hair band, hair brush, towel, deodorant, lipstick, wet wipes, sun tan lotion, cap. Then when the weather’s nice and you have a free 10 mins (after doing errands in town or something similar) you can get out for a walk and just hop out of the car without having to go home first.
- Get in training for something. You’ll be surprised how fitness will become top priority if there’s a competition in sight.
- Stand up at the computer. You heard me! Or get one of those ball things that you have to balance on.
- If you sit at the computer a lot then take breaks. Why not set an alarm to go off every hour and then do a set of exercises each time. 10 sit ups or crunches, a few side bends and some stretches can work out to a lot over a week. Back and arm stretches are particularly beneficial if you’re hunched over a computer for long stretches of time. By the end of a day you could have gone through your entire Pilates, Yoga or Calisthenics routine if you’re diligent. Note to self: Do this!
Right oh Lifestylers, I’ve got my trainers at the ready and I’m off for a walk. Yes, really!
What ideas do you have about how to fit exercise into your day without really trying?
Until next time,