Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Days After National Walking Day

OK, have to admit I didn't even know there was a "National Walking Day"; but I'm not surprised since there is a national "almost anything you can think of" day. In honor of this one I hope to encourage everyone to get off the couch, or away from your desk, or from the computer, (you get the idea) and get active. National Walking Day hi-lights walking, and walking is a good place to start. However, going forward, making cardio and weigh training a regular part of your routine is even better.  We all know our bodies are designed to move. "Use it or lose it", is more than a catchy statement; it really is true.  My husband had shoulder surgery, about 30 days in a sling; and it took months to regain strength and muscle mass in his upper arm.  I had a broken ankle; 4 months in a cast.  My calf muscle was shriveled looking and it took several months of strength training to get back to normal.  These are extreme examples but over time a sedentary lifestyle will result in muscle loss just the same.  Though I really hate to admit this; these statements become more relevant the older you get.  Ask me how I know...... yes, I'm older than I would like to admit. :)

So we make the decision; get up, start moving, and never look back, right?  Maybe not since it is also true that our lives are very busy.  Between family, work, housework, shopping, cooking (not to mention just figuring out what to cook), and life in general; exercise often falls to the bottom of the priority list.  The problem is, the less exercise we get, the less energy we have to do the things that need doing.  Seems to defy logic, I know; but it is true. In addition to challenging schedules, exercise is not the first word most of us use to define "fun".  So it takes some determination (OK a lot) and motivation to really make exercise a habit. If you can use the determination long enough to see the benefit in the way you feel, that will produce the motivation.  I am very fortunate; I have motivation in the person of my husband.  He is the one with the determination and I reap the benefit of it, since it is much easier to go with a buddy than alone.  So I have him; but anyone can be a workout buddy. Spouse, friend, a group of co-workers (part of the lunch hour or after work), or a parent/child pair. Find someone else who needs encouragement too and be that person for each other.

Good habits don't happen by accident.  How do they happen?  Here are some suggestions you can use and tailor to fit your personality and lifestyle.

  • Evaluate your schedule, be realistic.
  • Prioritize activities, daily, weekly, etc.
    • You may need to cut some activities, or reduce their frequency to make room for the good things you want to do for yourself.
  • Start slow, don't overwhelm yourself, baby steps are still steps.
  • Find a buddy, an accountability partner, be each other's cheerleader, make it fun.
  • When (notice that isn't an "if") you fail to stick to the plan; forgive yourself and get back on track.  No one does it perfect.
  • Remember the reason you are making changes.  Not to look good in a bathing suit; but to get healthy and keep or improve your quality of life.  The better you feel, the more enjoyable the fun and necessary things will be.  The people who love you will be glad you are taking care of yourself too.
  • Figure out a way to track progress.  I confess I fail a lot in this area; but it is very helpful when you keep up with it.  If you like the tech toys and can afford one; there are several on the market that will track things (movement, food, etc.) for you.  You just need to figure out you and that isn't always so easy as it should be, :)
I hope this encourages you to do good things for yourself; and and as you see the benefit you will encourage someone else.  We'll see a lot more healthy people as we lift each other up.  Have a very healthy day!

4 comments:

  1. Nicely written and very motivational. I think I ought to get back into the groove of things. Been slacking for the past couple months :P

    ReplyDelete
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