February 12, 2010

Randy brought home a puppy this past summer - cute as a button he was/is. But he came with a long list of chores simply because he's ours. You know - feed me, bathe me, play with me, walk me... "Walk me." That's the one that takes all my time. That's the one that interrupts whatever it is I'm doing. That's the one that forces on the boots, hat, gloves, coat, scarf, etc. ARGH! THAT'S THE ONE I HATE - or used to anyway. Since we've gotten Toby I've made it my job to walk him and Mr. Higgins everyday at 4:30 pm. We usually walk until about 5:30 and if the weather is cold it doesn't take me to long to warm up. And guess what? I've grown to love this daily adventure - I've even lost a few pounds. Even Mr. Higgins is starting to slim down! Exercise really IS everything it's cracked up to be. Here's a little list of excuses for not exercising that I received in an e-mail today. Read it and then try to get moving - you won't regret it, I promise!

1. There's no time. True, there never seem to be enough hours in the day, but if we consider all of the minutes we fritter away chatting, surfing the internet, or watching TV, the likelihood is that we can squeeze in a walk or a few reps with handheld weights. Remember that exercise need not be long to do the job. A few short spurts of exercise throughout the day have been shown to be as effective as a longer chunk of workout time. You might also try multitasking. Plenty of people have toned up by walking on the treadmill while watching TV or lifting weights during commercials. When all else fails, schedule exercise into your planner. Use every minute you've got and you'll work up to a substantial fitness routine!

2. It's too hot/cold/rainy/snowy/sunny to be outside.Take your workout indoors, whether that means a gym or your living room. Weather doesn't get in the way of 99 percent of the other things we do during the day, so it shouldn't stop a workout either. If you typically exercise outdoors, craft a go-to indoor routine as well.

3. I don't feel like it. This could mean a dozen things - you're hungry, tired, feeling lazy, irritable - but none of these moods matter. In fact, if you can just build up enough motivation to begin your workout, chances are that you'll be in a better state of mind because of it (thanks to that endorphin boost). Recognize if you are truly hungry and eat something small and energizing like a granola bar or peanut butter on toast that won't over-fill your stomach and then get to it.

4. I'm embarrassed. Maybe you don't have a coordinating workout wardrobe to wear to the gym, or you feel out-of-shape running down your block in front of the neighbors. None of this matters once you get going. Fitness, to borrow from a common saying, is not a destination, it's a journey. And it begins with the first step you take. Remind yourself that nobody feels glamorous while working out (even when they're dressed to the nines), but the post-workout satisfaction is something we all share.

5. I should do the laundry/make dinner/vacuum/take out the trash first. Face it; there will always be something else that you could be doing instead of exercising. We all work hard to fit every last chore and obligation into our day, but the reality is that some things will always be left undone. Let the dishes lie in the sink and go out and break a sweat. They'll still be there when you get back and you will have taken some well-deserved time to treat your body right.

6. I don't know where to start.Pick an activity, start small (if you haven't jogged in years, make it your goal to run once around the block) and ask for help and instruction when you need it. If you have the means to work with a personal trainer, he or she can customize a workout plan for your ability and goals. If you have a friend who exercises regularly, ask if you can accompany him on his next trip to the gym. Or simply ask a family member to go for a brisk walk with you. There - you've started!

7. I can't afford a gym membership/exercise equipment/a personal trainer. There's no question that these can all be expensive. But there was a time when gyms, elliptical machines and trainers weren't around- and people still exercised. Think of activities that you can do in your home or around your neighborhood. Pull the basketball out of the garage, pump it up with air and shoot hoops. Drive to your local high school after hours and jog around the track. Do the classic exercises like sit-ups and push-ups that pricey trainers still recommend to their clients today.

8. I hate exercise. Try something that doesn't feel like the exercise that you hate and change up your routine all the time. Working out doesn't mean logging endless hours on the treadmill, staring at the wall. It means getting out and moving, and having fun while you're at it!

9. I'm too old. Try saying that to the 94-year-old man who completed the London Marathon in 2008. You certainly might feel old when the soreness sets in after your first big workout session, but every workout is a step toward being young! Take it easy and gently and build up to a workout that your body can handle regularly. You'll be adding energy and strength to your life- no matter what your age.

10. There's no one to babysit the kids. We all know that kids are bundles of energy- so bring them along and get a fresh perspective on exercise. Get to the park for a family game of soccer or keep them occupied with tennis balls and rackets while you play doubles with a friend. They'll learn by your example and make exercise a priority for life.

Thanks for reading!

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