Do you often find yourself blowing off your work out? Do you know you SHOULD exercise but find all kinds of reasons not to? Do you join gyms and go for a few weeks all gungho then just stop? You are not alone, but if ya wanna be healthy and age well, ya gotta do something more then web surf!
Here is the “why we should” list:
1) Get our blood circulating and lymph moving
2) Maintaining bone density and staying tall and erect
3) Improving agility and flexibility so we can bend and reach as we age
4) Reducing aches and pains
5) Lowering resting heart rate and reversing lifestyle induced disease risks
And what about….
6) More energy to do fun things?
7) Stress relief?
8) And looking sexy-hot no matter your age?
Of course, there are more health related reasons as to why we should be getting exercise, so why don’t we ALL do it on a consistent basis?
I think this answer is two-fold. First, we have a perfectionist mindset about what exercise needs to look like. And secondly, we are really good excuse makers.
If you think exercise means you need to hit the gym 5 days a week and slog on a treadmill or kill yourself in a spin class, you have limiting beliefs, my friend. And if you think you need to lift heavy weights until you are half dead, you are way off base. This is your perfectionist mindset. Get out of your head and just start moving.
If you are just starting out, go walking with little 2-3 pound hand weights for 30 minutes a day. Set a goal number of days that is doable and not overwhelming, them schedule it in your planner. Some other options are dancing to your favorite music, stretching, easy yoga, or going for a bike ride. Add in a few stretches. Change it up after a few weeks and try to walk-jog if your back works better than mine. Or take an exercise or yoga class once a week. Done is better than perfect. Just make movement part of your life. You will NOT regret it.
I used to listen to that monkey chatter in my head telling me to wait until tomorrow. Or, eh, what good will walking do? Or, I have no time and omg I hate exercise. Frick it. There are many, many other reasons our inner monkey comes up with to get us out of doing this most basic form of self care.
If you need more motivation, National Geographic has studied several areas of the world that the populations live the longest. They call these areas the Blue Zones. Most of these communities either get physical activity daily as part of their normal routines or go for walks after they eat. None of them exercise for the sake of it but all move more than the average American at a desk job that commutes by car and plops on the couch at night.
So let me share with you my exercise journey. I had a love-hate relationship with working out for many years. I joined my first gym at the age of 17 and l enjoyed working out. Then eventually life got busy with kids, career and higher education. It was hard to get to the gym. The struggle was real but I always did something even if what I was doing was inconsistent. I would walk or go to Curves or join a gym near my job and go at lunchtime or right after work. There was a time I was at the YMCA at 5:30AM. My mom instilled this in me and my sisters, but perfect I was not.
In my forties I decided I wanted to have Michelle Obama arms.
I also had two deteriorated disks that flared up from time to time after having scoliosis as a kid. How I worked out had limitations. Partially due to these limits, I decided I was going to make working out a top priority to ensure I developed a super strong core to protect my lower back as I age. Move it or lose it, right?!
I started to schedule my workouts on Sundays for the upcoming week. Let me state that I run two businesses, a household with 6 pets, a teenager and a husband. Plus I try to cook at least 3-4 dinners per week and eat breakfast at home. As busy as I am, I now get really cranky when I need to pass up my scheduled workout for a meeting and when this does happen, I walk, do some yoga or an exercise video at home. It’s not perfect, but it gets done.
So what do I do as my workout routine?
- Barre or Pilates class twice a week (strength work)
- Walking briskly 4 times per week for about 45 minutes (cardio)
- Yoga once or twice per week (flexibility)
Start small, be consistent and let go of perfection! And try a Fitbit or an accountability app.
Just today after I started this blog post, while boarding a plane heading home, a man asked me if I needed help putting my bag in the overhead compartment. My response was, “No thank you, I work out.” His response was, “That WAS excellent form!” Oh and I now do military push ups when other women younger than me are on their knees.
Guess who has Michelle Obama arms!!!
Heck yea. You can, too.