This week we will work on being more active. Once again this is a goal EVERYONE can work on! Some of you might be a lot like I was at 278 pounds: unable to walk up and down my own stairs or even walk out to the mailbox without excruciating pain and being exhausted. I knew I needed to move, so I started by JUST walking out the front door, about 20 feet down the sidewalk, and back inside. That was ALL I could do. You have to start where you are. There is no shame in doing the best you can, even if it is just a few steps out the door at first. I kept at it, doing it every day. Every couple of days I walked about 3 feet farther, until I was finally able to walk my child to the park 2 blocks away and back. What a victory that was for me! I cried tears of real joy when I was able to do that, because it meant I was no longer a prisoner in my own home. It made my life better and my child's life better. And I have come a long way since then. So start where you are. Take a few steps. Every day. It WILL get easier.
If you already have no trouble walking, perhaps you would enjoy a long walk, jog, or run as your form of movement. If you can go a mile, try going two. Or try walking a little faster. Do something this week to improve your fitness level and get your heart rate up. I have a torn meniscus, severe arthritis of both knees, and bone spurring in both knees, so my doctor recommended a stationary recumbent exercise bike. When I started riding it, I could barely do two minutes on no resistance. I was breaking out in a sweat, breathing hard, and aching. But I kept at it, and now I ride 30 minutes at a brisk pace on a resistance setting of 4-5. If you keep at it and gradually increase your exercise, it gets easier and you'll feel better. (Mandatory disclaimer: check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.)
It's best to get some form of exercise every day. I used to bike 6x/week but I slacked over the summer, so my goal for this week is to get back on that bike! I already did my 30 minutes this morning and I feel great!
I think a key is to just do SOMETHING. Get up and move daily. And it's a good idea to pick something you enjoy (or have the potential to enjoy once your body gets in shape). Maybe you can play a sport, roller blade, or swim. Some people like to go to aerobics classes or yoga or pilates. Or you might want to do a DVD in your own home... those Richard Simmons videos have pretty high ratings and I understand that very heavy people can do them. You can get a used treadmill or elliptical out of the newspaper for a pretty low price most of the time. You can bike or dance. Pick something and move.
If you are already in the regular habit of exercise, take this week to do better. Improve your stride, your technique, the amount of time you spend exercising. Some people find that wearing a pedometer helps them to be more active. Just looking at your Steps and trying to reach a certain number of steps per day can be very motivating. And the other thing that we can ALL work on is lifestyle activity. Some examples of lifestyle activity that will help you MOVE more, improve your fitness, and burn more calories:Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Park at the far end of the parking lot instead of right up by store entrances.
Park a block away from your destination and walk there.
Walk the dog more often.
If you are downstairs, use your upstairs bathroom, and vice versa.
Get out and rake some leaves, do yardwork, wash the car.
Play with your kids.
Mop the floors (love this workout!)
Vacuum and dust to music, dancing around a little and having fun.
Ride your bike to the store instead of driving.
All of these things add up and increase the calories you burn. I know I feel much better after an active day than I do after a day being a slug on the couch! Get your circulation going. Oxygenate your system. Have fun, and get moving!