Here’s the thing about exercise. Some people just love it and really enjoy doing it every day. Others hate it and nothing you can say can inspire them to get moving. Some learn to love it because their efforts make them feel empowered, energized, slimmer and more engaged with life. Some still mostly hate it but realize it does a body (and mind) great good, so they do it for the payoff, but never really enjoy doing it. So today I am really talking to those who hate to exercise. Because you need to do something to deflect all those holiday calories that are going to end up on your waist, thighs, hips or earlobes!
I usually try to find out exactly what a client (or patient) hates about exercise. Sometimes it’s the sweating that they hate. Or it's the pain that comes from working out body parts that are not used to being challenged with weights or aerobic exercise. For some it’s the embarrassment of feeling like everyone is looking at the “fat lady or fat man,” and smirking at their pitiful exercise efforts. And for many it’s the simple reality that it has been so long since they’ve moved their body in even the most basic way, that the initial effort to move seems nearly impossible. So can we just talk about walking, something basic and rudimentary that we all need to do to just get around?
The benefits of walking include:
- Lowering LDL, the bad component of cholesterol
- Raising HDL, the good component of cholesterol
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing risk of diabetes type 2
- Improving mood
- Managing your weight
- Keeping you strong, fit and engaged with life
- Keeping joints pliable and engaged
- Reducing risk of heart disease when walking pace is brisk
Another plus with walking is the fact that you can ease into it, and then begin to set goals to improve your pace, including hill walking for an interval experience, or at some point try a more energetic jogging pace. One of the best tools you can buy, to inspire your walking commitment and to help you to set goals, is a pedometer. They come in various price ranges depending on their features. You can buy a simple inexpensive one to simply record daily steps taken, or invest in a more sophisticated model that tracks distance, pace, speed, time or one that even offers navigation features. A pedometer is crucial to helping you set goals and it can also motivate you to be accountable, if you set a specific goal. Most health experts suggest that you target 10,000 steps a day – a milestone associated with significant health benefits.
You can assess the accuracy of your pedometer, by taking 20 regular steps and seeing if the pedometer captures between 18 – 22 steps. You can also consider your pedometer your buddy and a truth tool. A buddy inspires you to stick with your program and the objective information tracked by the device will keep you connected to your commitment. And if technology is truly your inspiration, then expect to continue to see a new generation of pedometers that communicate directly with your mobile devices. Apps for the iPhone will also evolve and connect you directly to Facebook and also opportunities to receive walking programs, games and challenges.
So get up out of that chair and get walking!!
Published On: November 21, 2012