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Exercise. Just the mere thought of exercising makes many of us want to do nothing more than sit on the couch with a bowl of ice cream. It’s okay – you can admit it. I won’t tell anyone as long as you don’t tell on me. There are MANY days when I just don’t feel like adding one more thing to my list of things to do and that includes exercise. Exercise is for all those people who don’t have a list as long as their arms of things to do right? Sorry to tell you this but that’s not correct. You need to fit exercise into your busy life every single day not only to help manage our weight as we get older but to just plain keep moving. And in my case, to also manage my stress.
I thought as I became more “mature” I would eventually get over my road rage but let me tell you some days! I’m minding my own business, singing along to the oldies station driving to town to go to the gym when all of a sudden, here comes a car that pulls out of a side road without stopping at the stop sign THEN proceeds to drive at 25 mph. Um hello? This is a 60 mph road and I’m driving 60 mph! Not only do I have to slam on the breaks, I’m ready to jump out of my car and ring the other drivers neck. I know I’m not alone here. BUT after the gym, I’m much more laid back and even though that same driver will still irritate the heck out of me for poor driving, I won’t have as strong of an urge to wring his/her neck because I’ve worked off my stress from the day. Bet you didn’t know that exercise would make you a more patient driver did you?
I recently read a book that has totally changed my perspective on nutrition and exercise. It was called “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger” by Michael Matthews and in this book, he talks about what motivates us to exercise and the best foods to eat and that you do not want to starve yourself or crash diet as that may actually harm your health.
So what’s a busy person to do to fit exercise into our already full days? Two things we should keep in mind. First is to find something we like to do. Fact of the matter is if we find anything including an activity like exercise fun or enjoyable, we’re more likely to do it. Second is to keep in mind the amount of time we exercise is not as important as getting exercise. Everything counts. If all you can swing is a 15 minute walk or a quick body weight workout that includes both strength training and cardio, you are WAY ahead of everyone else that is still making excuses.
The easiest way to stay on track is to do what you love. If you love to dance, try a dance fitness class like Zumba. If you enjoy walking, squeeze in walking any time you can during the day by parking farther away from your destination, taking the stairs, or take the dog for a walk. Like running? How about joining a softball or basketball team?
Next be as efficient as you can. A HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout can be as short as 12 minutes and still target both cardio and strength training. There are many studies that have proven a short HIIT workout can equal longer moderate exercise times for health benefits. I have a Gymboss HIIT Timer that I have set to 30/30 second intervals with 30 seconds for cardio and 30 seconds for strength training and I’m drenched by the time I have finished my workout.
Keep it simple. All the large sporting good companies will have you believe that you have to purchase boatloads of exercise gear and equipment when the fact of the matter is all you need are good shoes, comfortable shorts and t-shirt (and a GOOD sports bra if you’re a woman – trust me). That’s it. All that’s left is to open the door and head outside.
It is important that we make fitness a priority in our lives. After all, healthy people are happy people. You just might find it a little bit easier to deal with everything tossed your way on a busy day after you exercise. I know I do.
To your health,