How to Keep Fit Without Stressing

 In Categories, Health and Fitness

If you’re like me, you’d far rather be reading, writing, watching a  great movie or drinking wine with friends than exercising.

The thought of getting all hot and sweaty and going for a jog, doesn’t really set my fires alight. So I’m constantly trying to trick myself into getting the exercise I know I should be doing.


I love my walks though. Especially when they involve getting out and about somewhere pretty (and not too hilly!).

So without further ado, here are some of the ways I try to get my daily dozen, and how I’d suggest you can get your daily exercise without trying too hard.

Walking (and talking maybe!)

Pick a walk that you love – a route you don’t have to think about and have your shoes and exercise gear by the bed ready for you to jump straight into each morning.

Take every chance to find things to do in your spare time which involve walking – visit parks, offer to take a friend’s dog for a walk (if you like dogs), arrange to have coffee with a friend at the beach – but after your walk.

Keep fit without stressing

Seek out outdoor exhibitions in your home town. In Perth, the wonderful Cow Parade is running right now, and it’s a marvellous way of getting out for a walk but adding in some cerebral interest. We hardly noticed that we walked for nearly three hours on a treasure hunt to seek out as many cows as we could. And it wasn’t just the walk in this case which was healthy – the art provided stimulus for our minds. We talked about the colours and textures, and the symbolism of the painting. We laughed and had fun and we got thinking. All super healthy stuff.

You can read more and see pictures here on my WA blog ZigaZag : Udderly Fantastic Perth Cow Parade

Running (isn’t for me anymore)

But it is for some people. Take my blogging friend Annabel Candy. Here’s what she had to say about a recent quest in her post about running a half marathon for charity in Luang Prabang, Laos :

“Mentally I struggle with running. I’ve never been sporty and have always avoided heavy exercise. Maybe I’ve got hypothermosis, a phobia of excessive sweating which is linked to social anxiety. Maybe the shortness of breath running causes feels like a panic attack. Or maybe I’m just lazy. Whatever the reason, the most common thoughts that spring to mind when I’m running are: “I hate this!”, “Just stop!” and “You’re useless!” I try to practice mindfulness and not buy into these thoughts. They are just thoughts and my mantra valiantly tries to drown them out. Just keep running. Just keep running.: Annabel Candy

Bicycling (I Love)

If you learnt to cycle as a child – you can cycle now. No excuses. Find a bike path near you and get out and enjoy the outdoors. You don’t have to go crazy fast. Take a friend. Pack a cool drink or a flask of coffee and a sandwich and stop half way to have a picnic. Again, it’s not just about the ride – fresh air is good for you and being out in the open is good for your soul.

Keep fit without stressing, Jo with bike

Take The Stairs (I do – do you?)

Do you have stairs at home? Don’t leave a laundry basket at the bottom and put things in it through the day to take up in one go (like I used to do!) No, if you’re able to then march up and down the stairs every time you have something to take to the upper level. Even if it’s a pair of socks.

No stairs at home? Then find a small wall, or something in a park that you can step up and down onto (changing stepping legs half way through your routine). Start with just a few steps and work up. During my morning walks I do 25 on one leg and 25 on the other on a small wall (the size of a large step) which I espied, handily circumferencing a children’s sandy playground.

Oh, and don’t forget to take the stairs at work and at train stations, and everywhere you can. Say NO to lifts and escalators. It all counts.

Exercise at home

Don’t know about you but I’m not one for exercise classes. When I was younger I used to love them, but now I can’t be doing with the getting there and dressing up in fancy exercise gear.

If I have to drive there, look good, wait for the class to begin, and pay, I’m already putting my good intention at a disadvantage, and I know I’ll make excuses not to go.

But I’ve done some Pilates and yoga in the past, so I know a little bit about what I’m doing and I’ve bought some Pilates and yoga dvd’s which I play at home on the TV and do my own classes. This means I can fit in 20 mins or 30 mins before Dave comes home, or before I need to go shopping, or in between writing blog posts – it’s so much easier and I can be spontaneous. Just whip off my  day clothes and exercise in my bra and knickers if necessary! No fancy clothes required.

On our Sea Princess World Cruise, I’d walk around the promenade deck, and lift a few light weights in the gym.

Keep fit without stressing


Love gardening? All that bending and lifting it’s good for you. Get out there and plant some plants. Er, which reminds me … 😉

But in our last house in Bunbury, together with Dave, I did create a Bali inspired Garden – you can read about how we did it here: Balinese Garden.

How to keep fit without stressing, pic of Bali Umbrella

Get out in or on the water

If you enjoy being in or on the water then that’s great. Of course there’s swimming or water aerobics, but how about meeting a friend and going kayaking on a sleepy river for a change? You might have a laugh, and you’ll be out there exercising (don’t forget the life jacket!).

Swimming is gorgeous in the heat of our WA summer’s, so just take every opportunity – even if it’s only a 10 minute dip. Getting your body moving whenever you can is my mantra.

Do things with your friends

If you need more motivation to get out and exercise then make a regular date to go for a walk  or bike ride, or kayak, or swim or whatever, with friends. There’s nothing like being held accountable and feeling like you might let others down if you don’t turn up to motivate you to …

Just Do It!

I think a FitBit makes a great motivator to get out and exercise. Do you have one? If not, here are some to choose from. FitBit Models to Choose From

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Showing 6 comments
  • Kathy Marris

    I love all types of exercise and I like to mix it up between walking, stair climbing, cycling, pilates and yoga. Years ago when I was much younger I loved doing more high intensity exercise, but these days I find my body is no longer up for this. I believe there is no excuses for not exercising! There are so many great benefits.

    • Johanna

      I think mixing it up is the best idea Kathy, to keep it interesting, and also so that you don’t have to think about it all the time. Yes, also agree about the benefits. Just finding time to exercise can be a problem for a lot of people though (including me!) but it should be a top priority.

  • Rae Hilhorst

    I love walking, I also walk up 56 stairs Monday through to Friday. I can now do this without huffing and puffing x

    • Johanna

      Hi Rae, that is a big achievement! Go Girl!

  • Annabel Candy

    Hi Jo,

    You’re doing all the right things – a bit of everything and mostly what you love. So glad to read I’m not the only one working out at home to a DVD in my undies! I’ve taken to watching stand up comedy on YouTube while I do it, because I know the DVDs off by heart so sound isn’t needed!

    Thanks so much for sharing my running post. If you want to start just alternate running and walking. Even if you just run for a minute every five minutes that will help and you can increase from there. But be careful – you never know where it will end. I certainly never expected to run a Half Marathon!

    • Johanna

      HaHa, love how you watch stand up comedy on Youtube while you exercise, Annabel. Now that would be a good motivator for me to get in more exercise each day. Thanks for the tip 🙂 I will try to fit in a little running with my walking too – thanks for the encouragement. I’m sure your tips will also inspire other Lifestyle Fifty readers too 🙂

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