Monday, October 13, 2008

Habit-A-Week Challenge, Week 2: MOVE!

It's Week Two of the Habit-A-Week Challenge! If you missed week 1, you can still start now. Each Monday I will post a new healthy habit to work on for that week. For those of you who started last week, try to keep up the good work with drinking enough water and adding green or white tea. Staying hydrated is important not only for weight loss but also for general health. So stick with that habit, and add the next one: MOVE!

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!


Emily said...

Hi Lyn, I've only commented once before, but I'm a religious reader. I love this series of tips, as well as loving your blog in general. I'm fortunate enough to never have had struggles with weight, but the way that you write and really get to the issues behind your challenges with food make your posts something that everyone can relate to. I've been trying to keep your tips in mind and have even thought about trying green tea again (I'm not a fan) on your recommendation! I'm starting to train for a 10k this week, so this tip to move couldn't come at a better time. Just wanted to let you know that your blog goes beyond what you might think of as your core audience and is something that I think anyone can really get a lot out of. Good luck with the bike this week!

~TMcGee~ said...

Hey Lyn,
I'm still working on the first week's challenge but I'm trying! lol You have inspired me (with this post) to get up 30 mins earlier and do my "Walk Away the Pounds" DVD. I find that I have to exercise in the early part of the day or it is just not going to happen. Anyway, thanks for the motivation and I hope you have a great day!

Lauren said...

cool, this fits right in with my other challenge that I'm doing to get 30 minutes a day of exercise, it's through elastic waist.

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

I have a few people I need to refer to this blog entry. Excellent challenge, my friend.

And Emily, if you're reading the comments, green tea can be disguised in iced tea. Brew 4 green tea bags with 4 flavored tea bags with 8 cups of water. Chill and drink as iced tea. You'll never know you're drinking green tea :)

spunkysuzi said...

o.k i'm already doing the walking and today for the first time in a long time i tried my hand at running a little!! So my challenge to myself this week will be to go a little further running everytime i go on a walk ;)

Stephanie said...

Great challenge, Lyn - I agree with you that just doing something, even if it is not a perfect 30 minute "workout" is better than nothing. Just by increasing how much we move, we can totally improve our state of MIND, along with our health.

For those who still have weight to lose but are in fairly good cardiovascular shape, I want to be sure to make a fuss about jumping rope - DO IT. Lately, I've been doing a 20 minute workout - I alternate 1 minute of jumping rope with a 1 minute recovery (I do squats, lunges, bicep curls, etc) and wow, has my aerobic capacity increased dramatically. And I feel great afterward!

DVD workouts are also a great form of exercise for folks - of all weights. It's important for all to keep in mind that ANY workout DVD can be modified - you shouldn't just throw in the towel because you can't do some high kick or jump around as much as the instructor - scale it down and have fun. A good example of that is Hip Hop Abs - a really fun workout. Even if you can't do all the moves, you can do a scaled down version and still get a fantastic workout.

Sorry - I got into cheerleader mode but I hate it when I hear people say "I tried X workout but it was way too hard so I stopped." It's all do-able - we just have to modify. And folks will be amazed at how much they will improve if they just keep at it, no matter what it is.

Best of luck with the bike this week, Lyn - just decide to get on it and you will accomplish your goals!

Sheri said...

Thanks for doing this Lyn, I have to say though, this one will/has been one of the hardest to accomplish. I have a fear of strangers in general, which I believe has been hampered by the shame of being overweight, but I will overcome, not succumb to that fear.

Ceres said...

I have disappeared for a while due to work, family visiting and travelling. But I did try to do the first week's challenge, and I think I did well on the two-three days that I paid attention. But then I went away in the weekend, and it was hard to get the water in. Do beers count as water intake? :-)
This week's challenge is easy for me, since I exercise regularly, but I will try to take the water challenge more seriously.

Vickie said...

I had a back injury last spring - and that is exactly how I built myself back up to walking longer distances - I walked to the end of our driveway several times a day - for a whole week - each week I went a little farther and eventually started increasing my speed. I am back to walking miles instead of yards - but it took a long time. A little bit every day really does work.

Roder said...

Alright Lyn, you're an active weight-loss blogger, so now it's your turn. You're officially tagged. Tell us six random facts or interesting tidbits about you. Then pass it on. Ready? Go!

Heather T said...

Perfect challenge for me! I am not a very good exerciser. Mostly because it hurts my joints...which is why I should exercise more!

45 and Aspiring said...

Hi Lyn,

I'm glad to have found your blog. I lost 60 lbs in 1999 and kept it off until 2006.

Then I started gaining when my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I lost my job and we moved all within the span of a few months. I gained it all back, plus 20 pounds. Something I didn't think I would do.

But I am back at it with renewed enthusiasm. I'm working with a trainer, and weight-focused psychologist, and I feel like I've turned an important corner.

Thank you for sharing your life; I'll be back to keep up with you.

MizFit said...

ok great post. and now I have ringing in my head that song:



(know it? :))


Teale said...

Hey Lyn, long time no see! I'm back to blogging/reading, so came to catch up... so expect a handful of comments today:)

Susie said...

Thanks for the motivation to MOVE. I found my pedometer..and will get those step numbers up. Your story is very inspiring..great job..great determination. Keep it are doing SO WELL!

Shannon said...

Hi Lyn,

I've just found your website and am exploring all that you have put into it. I must say how exhilarating it is for me to find this resource; written in a tone that I can relate to. You speak to the everyday Mom in me. Doesn't feel preachy, or doctory, but like friend sharing some wonderful advice. I'm going to keep reading. Oh and I'm starting the Weekly Habits tomorrow. As far as week two I just wanted to share that I dance, dance, dance. Silly, sexily, sloppily, with no rules or requirements. I just tune into Pandora and play a station my daughter got me into, Basshunter radio. I'm 44 years old, but I love this music for dancing around my living room for 30 minutes a day. I do it when no one else is around and I just move however the music grabs me. It's so fun, and freeing. I've never been one into structured exercise, so dance is it for me. I'm so happy that I found an indoor exercise that is such fun! Thank you again for this wonderful website and for sharing You with Us!