Here we are, at the last part of the Healthy Weight installments – exercising! This is my favorite part of the series. In context of losing excess weight, you can do it with diet alone, and that is true. But it is exercising that keeps it off. Our body loses lean body mass as we age. Even if you maintain the exact same calories every day for the rest of you life, you will eventually gain weight. That is, if you do it without physical activity to counteract the loss of lean mass (remember, the more lean mass, or muscle, you have, the more calories you burn).
With exercising, you have more energy to conquer your days and you develop a can-do attitude because exercising does require determination! Working out does not make you feel and look good. It makes you feel and look better. And who does not want that?
1. Exercising as Preventive Medicine
Really, do I have to preach about the benefits of exercising? I will sound like a broken record, but I will say it again, no less. Exercising, in general, is so very beneficial for your health. It will reduce stress (remember that women are more prone to depression), make your heart strong and keep heart diseases at bay, reduce the likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes, makes your bones strong (women are more likely to develop osteoporosis), slow the rate of lean mass loss as we age, decrease bad cholesterol (and increase good cholesterol), and enhance cognitive function. One saying goes, “If you can’t make time to exercise, then you will have to make time being sick”.
2. Be a Role Model for Your Loved Ones
As we grow older, not only our waistline gets bigger; our partner’s waistline may be too. Between the two of you, you can be the one who is the role model by living more actively. If you partner sees you so motivated, he or she may be moved to follow your lead. This is even more important when you have kid(s). The prevalent of childhood obesity is growing at a staggering rate. Childhood obesity is also more difficult to deal with than adult obesity. Would you want your loved child to struggle with weight as he or she gets older? Certainly not. If you want your child to be active, then it is your role as parent to give a good example. I remember that my friend once told me she grew up seeing her mother jogging around the house complex and incorporating physical activity as she grew up. Now, she said, being a mother herself, she wants to give that kind of memory to her daughter.
3. Start Something. Anything.
Start with walking more, taking the stairs, do more housework, walking to your colleague instead of emailing or calling, or even just brisk walking during lunchtime or in the morning. Instead of driving to a car wash, why don’t you try to wash the car yourself? There are a lot of squatting while washing car, you know… Or maybe, why don’t you sweep and mop the floor yourself? The important thing here is having the mindset that you will increase your physical activity, even when it takes one day at a time. When you have that mindset, you will find ways to get moving more and more each day. Doing more house work is also a way to ease you up into actually exercising – with athletic shoes, sports bra, and all.
4. Believe in Yourself
I know, I know… The talk about motivation and determination is a never-ending one! But truly, believing in yourself is a big part of starting an exercising program. A lot of people tend to say “I don’t think I can do it” too often, too soon. The power of mind is so underappreciated when these self-suggestions you are instilling into yourself can make a whole lot of difference. If you are trying to exercise today and you are out of breath within 15 minutes, then take a rest, regroup, and try again. Just believe that you can do any exercise you want. It’s really only a matter time, perseverance and training. Never go to battle feeling defeated, because chances are, you will be.
5. Don’t Just Find the Time. Make the Time.
Exercising does not have to take long. The recommended amount of exercise is at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week. You have a full time job, and think that your daily schedule won’t allow that. Well, think again. What about weekends? If you rack up an hour each on Saturday and Sunday, you only have 30 more minutes to add between Monday and Friday. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Maybe one workday, you decide to wake up 30 minutes earlier, or on another day, you try to squeeze in 30 minutes between arriving at home and the start of your favorite series on TV. You can find 2.5 hours in between the 168 hours you are living in a week. That’s only like 1.5% of the time! I don’t think it’s a whole lot of investment when you consider all the health benefits and the feel-good aura you get from exercising regularly.
* images via reasonstobefit.tumblr.com and matton.com