One morning on my way to work I saw a woman, probably in her late seventies or early eighties, walking. She had on a jogging suit and was pushing her walker briskly around the parking lot of the shopping center.
Well, if that didn’t just put me to shame. You see, like everyone else, I’d had every intention of getting aboard the workout wagon this year and so far haven’t quite made it. (Truth be told I haven’t even been anywhere in the vicinity of the wagon at all.) As if that’s not bad enough, a recent weigh-in showed that I had gained two pounds, which may not be a whole lot, but it’s still two pounds in the wrong direction–up!
Even though it’s nobody’s fault but my own, I was still embarrassed but soon realized that I am not alone. While there are many who have managed to make great strides this year with eating right, exercising more and staying fit, there are just as many (and probably more) who never even started–or if they did, they eventually gave up along the way.
My sister recently accompanied a co-worker to LA Fitness who had been agonizing over the fact that more than half the year had passed and she still hadn’t used her gym membership. While at the gym, they encountered yet another member who was desperately trying to get out of her contract and get her money back because she too had been paying for a membership she wasn’t using.
According to an article on bodybuilding.com, 73% of people who set fitness goals as New Year’s resolutions gave them up. Another said that “…even though the gym will be packed in the weeks following New Year’s Day, many will lose their motivation quickly. More than one-in-ten (11%) U.S. adults who signed up for a gym membership as a New Year’s resolution quit before the year was over.”
So what do we do? Do we continue to beat ourselves up because the wagon has moseyed on down the road without us? Sit in the dust of self loathing, throwing a pity party while we wait for it to roll around again next year? No, I don’t believe that we should.
Personally, I’d call it just a set back. I mean we have jobs and kids and spouses, meetings, shopping, chores, and the list goes on and on. Some of us will probably never be able to adhere to a weekly routine at the gym. So, we should lower the bar a bit, be realistic, and set goals that are achievable for us.
Take me for example. I work in a building that has four floors, and as I’m writing this post I’m thinking to myself: Four floors mean that I have four flights of stairs at my disposal every day that I can take advantage of instead of using the elevator. This means I won’t have to worry about squeezing in an hour or two at the gym after work. Combine the stairs together with parking my car at the farthest end of the supermarket parking lot as I run in to grab dinner items, and the brisk walk to and from my car, it all adds up.
What do you already do from day-to-day that you can incorporate into some regular exercise? For example:
- Using part of your lunch hour can be another great way to squeeze in some daily exercise. Walk to go get lunch instead of taking your car. Or if you bring your lunch from home, save 15 minutes for your lunch time for a walk around the parking lot–and maybe enlist a co-worker for support.
- That treadmill you paid so much money for really wasn’t meant to be a clothes rack. Go on and use it already. Combine it with something else–like reading a magazine, listening to music, watching an episode of Scandal.
- Wake up 15 or 20 minutes earlier in the morning to exercise, before the busyness of the day clamors for your attention. Not a morning person? Then do it before dinner–maybe some sit-ups or crunches, or even a short workout video.
- Power walking around your neighborhood is also a great way to get in some exercise every day, or at least a few times a week
Cut yourself some slack. You will never get it perfect every single time, some days will be better than others. Yeah, we all feel bad when we miss a day or two of our routine–but don’t feel so bad that you stop altogether. The main thing is to try and be consistent. And it may seem like small steps, but as the saying goes “more may be better than less, but some is definitely better than none!”
Below are some books and DVDs that I checked out at DCPL while writing this post. They include simple and practical exercises as well as overall healthy living habits that may be helpful to you.
Ageless with Kathy Smith: Total Body Turnaround (DVD)
Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath
Fit in 5 by Gregory P. Whyte
Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It by James A. Levine
Sit and Be Fit (DVD)