Are You Destined to Sit on the Couch?
If someone mentions exercise do you think, “I hate to exercise. There’s no way I’m doing that. Exercise is hard, it’s a drag, it takes too much time.” These types of beliefs may be keeping you from discovering a fun way to add to your weight loss plan.
I’m a prime example. When I was younger I didn’t like participating in sports. I felt I was clumsy, I couldn’t throw a ball to save my life, and I’d rather not try to catch one (might hurt myself). I never felt confident about my ability on the practice field and I didn’t have a competitive spirit. I didn’t really care if I won, which tended to anger my teammates. So, if anyone talked to me about exercise I’d say, “Thanks, but no thanks, I hate sports.” But something funny happened on the way to the locker room; I discovered weight lifting. Keep your eyes and ears open and you may discover some activity you love.
If you’re perfectly happy sitting on the couch, then just accept you’ll stay heavier because of it. It is perfectly fine to choose not to get up and move around, but if you do get up more often, you’ll find that it feels good to move. Our bodies were designed to bend and flex. Physical activity just feels good.
Change How You Think And You’ll Change How You Feel About Exercise
Lots of people say they hate to exercise, many because they relate exercise to grade school physical education class where they had to wear dorky shorts, hated how they looked and weren’t as athletic as the other kids so they felt bad or were chose last for teams. (I wanted to be chosen last, I really hated sports). Maybe too, they just hated dressing down in front of all the other kids.
These early unpleasant experiences leave most of us dreading the mere thought of “exercise.” You may have noticed kids who did enjoy sports though. They were always a bit healthier, running, jumping, becoming out of breath, and slapping each other on the back. They seemed to have something you didn’t. A certain vitality, zest for life? Wouldn’t you like some of that?
Exercise can be anything you do that isn’t just sitting or lying down. Walking upstairs or down is exercise, carrying grocery bags is exercise, and so is bending and stretching to wash clothes or load the dishwasher. It’s all a chance to move, and movement is exercise. All the chores around the house are exercise. Start to pay attention to how you move. Bend from the waist and squat down, using your leg muscles. Stand on tip-toe while you brush your teeth. Don’t grumble when you have to go get the mail; be happy! It’s exercise time.
If you like participating in sports maybe you can find some like-minded neighbors and put together a few evenings a week basketball game? If you start something and are consistent, then exercise will help you lose weight even faster. So-called weekend warriors are better than nothing, but try to add something mid-week as well. Walking is good, brisk walking is even better. It may be for you that simply getting up from your chair is exercise.
Getting Started with Exercise for Weight Loss
We all must start at our beginning point and work from there. If walking to the front door is your exercise, good. Start there. Get up and walk to the door and back again, every day working toward the day when you walk out the front door and to the street. Imagine, one day you’ll be walking around the block. It may not sound like much, but it isn’t a question of quantity but quality.
I once heard of someone who’d been in a terrible accident and she used rolls of pennies in her hand for weights. Now that is truly starting at the bottom but eventually, she regained strength and today is healthy and happy. If you’re reluctant to exercise, it could be how you think of exercise. Change from thinking of it as jumping jacks and running laps to something fun like hiking in the woods or walking on the beach. A change in perspective could be all it takes to overcome your resistance to exercise.
Finally, an Exercise Even I Could Do!
I love weight lifting (bodybuilding) because it’s something I can do by myself (I don’t lift so heavy as to require a spotter), and I can see results quickly (usually in six weeks or less you will notice a real difference with weight lifting). I also ride a stationary bike because I can read while I ride and I LOVE reading. The idea is to find something you really like so you’ll continue to do it. If you joined the gym and you dread it, then it’s not likely you’ll continue that program for the long-term.
All Movement Counts as Exercise
What about gardening? I know a lot of people wouldn’t consider gardening strenuous enough but I beg to differ. What was it that kept most people in better condition 50 years ago? It was more walking to the corner store, standing at the fence gabbing with a neighbor, sweeping the floors, beating the rugs, mopping, washing tubs of laundry by hand, chopping firewood, hanging clothes outdoors (my mom used to do this). Chores kept us healthy. Today those of us who do our own chores have a lot of work savers like washing machines, clothes dryers and car washes. Even the grocery clerks don’t get the exercise of moving their fingers because now they simply swipe the food over the scanner.
Some people get a rowing machine or treadmill and put it in front of the TV and exercise while watching their favorite shows. If you’re going to watch TV no matter what, put equipment in front of it and go for it. Living rooms are perfect places to put some equipment. Most of us hardly use that room at all and generally, it’s one of the largest in the house! Add to your exercise time until you’ve got around 30 minutes or more a day of actual movement and you’ll see the pounds slipping away.
Realize that all movement counts and you’ll start to feel better about regular household chores (maybe you will, at least give it a try). Do you have stairs? There’s a piece of workout equipment and it didn’t cost you a thing. You can walk up and down them, stand on the edge of one and raise and lift your heels (calf raises). Walk on tiptoe sometimes. Every time you get up from a chair, use your leg muscles, maybe even sit down again and do it again. Stand against the wall and slowly lower yourself to a sitting position (or as low as is comfortable even if it’s only a quarter-inch).
Your House is a Fully Equipped Gym
Your house is a fully equipped gym, so start to use it. Just because you don’t own fancy equipment or don’t belong to the gym doesn’t mean you can get regular exercise. Look around and be resourceful. Empty milk jugs filled with sand are heavy enough for most men to use as weights. Canned food can become a handy weight too. See what ideas you can find and have fun putting some exercise into your daily life.