How to Keep Fit Without Stressing
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.
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.
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.
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.
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