As women we give a lot of our time and ourselves to help and support others. We’re daughters, mothers, wives, girlfriends, employees, bosses, students, volunteers and more. And having hectic schedules dedicated to all of the above is exactly why we have to be concerned first and foremost with our health. We can’t be the best version of ourselves if our bodies are run down and broken.
When most of us hear the phrases exercise, diet or workout we experience a negative internal response. That response is extremely real for me when anyone mentions running. I’d rather do a host of other things than run, like wash the dishes or dust the house. This is one of the reasons a lot of us fail at our New Year Resolutions to workout regularly. In my audio interview with Althea Lawton-Thompson owner of Aerobics, Yoga & More, she talks about why she prefers to use the term movement and how doing what we love is a strategy with a much higher success rate. Click on the image below to hear the audio podcast.
I listened to what she had to say and thought about my current situation. How much movement do I really incorporate into my life? Running my own business, I have an office at home as well as one about 2 miles from the house. But when it’s cold, like it has been this past week, getting me to budge from the house is an indomitable task…courtesy of the island blood that runs in my veins. That means from morning to evening I might be fairly stagnant. I don’t need a doctor, trainer or anyone else to tell me that continuing down this road isn’t going to lead to a healthy future.
In fact, I already know what that future looks like. Six years ago I reached my largest size. I’m 5’3 and at that time I was a size 8 and 150 pounds. I was uncomfortable, easily winded, my feet got bigger (devastating to my shoe collection), and on a more serious note I was told by my doctor that I had high cholesterol, which I’d never had before. Since then with a change in my eating habits and exercise I stayed around 125lbs and a size 2. However, the last year which included getting married, being laid off and then starting a new business, as well as buying a house, has had an impact. 10lbs over my ideal, my chat with Althea came at the perfect time.
*sidenote: I use pounds because that’s what most people are familiar with but weight really isn’t that important. Muscle versus fat and your personal ideal size when you look in the mirror is what matters. I just happen to know what that translates into on the scale for the most part.
How can we be healthy and happy. How do we get our bodies moving in a way that is sustainable and impactful?
1. Do what you love
Human nature makes us adverse to doing things we hate. If you despise your job, chances are you’re going to leave it. If you hate flying, you’re probably a road warrior. Why do we expect our attitude to exercise and physical movement to be any different? Yes there are things we have to do but we can find ways to move our body and get our heart rate up that we enjoy. There are so many options!
Let’s just think about the possibilities
Playing with a pet
Playing the Drums
Pushing a stroller
…. you get where this is going.
I LOVE to dance. I listen to music all the time. If you put on my favorite upbeat playlist I can work up a sweat all by myself in my room. I also like to roller skate, hula hoop (I was named the hula hoop Queen in 2009 for Gwinnett County…yep), and I love anything that involves water. So that’s where I’m going to start.
And then you think…
But doing what I love still takes time and that doesn’t always fit into a crammed schedule.enters point number 2.
2. Just Do Something
When it comes to moving your body. Doing something is always 100% better than doing nothing. If you aren’t able to make time for the gym, or in our case now the skate park, you can still work towards a healthy movement lifestyle by incorporating some of the below.
- Take breaks in between projects at work or home. Go walk for 10-15 minutes. Note: Immediately after I typed this line I decided to practice what I preach. I’ve been up working for three hours already without a break so I put on a jacket and took my dog for a walk. See exhibit A at the bottom of this post.
- Park farther away. Seriously. We all hear about it but rarely do it. As Althea points out in the podcast, it will help keep you looking sexy AND your car, since people are less likely to hit it. Who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special.
- Skip the stair master and just take the stairs. At the office, shopping center, hotel, and any other opportunity.
- Do planks, crunches or other similar exercises during commercials. If you used a DVR let the commercials play!
- Try doing 3 simple stretches or yoga poses each night before going to bed. It will help to keep your limbs loose but also calm your mind and help wit the transition to sleep
- Listen to upbeat music while you shop for groceries or clothes. You’ll move faster. Not only does it help get your heart rate up but it brightens your mood and you’ll complete your task sooner; giving you time to do other things or just relax. A 3 for 1 we’re on a role!
Week 2 Growth Goal Overview:
- Write down a list of 5-7 things that you love to do. Understanding that some will be more feasible during different seasons of the year or your own personal schedule.
- Do 2- 3 of your movement based loves this week. Get your heart rate up for 20-30 minutes if you can.
- The rest of the week try to incorporate 1-2 of the other shorter movement tips each day. These especially, can become habit. What’s great about habits is that they become a natural part of your flow and require less thought, effort and mental encouragement; you’ll just do it. So what if during girls’ night all your friends look at you like you’re crazy because you do squats during a commercial on New Girl. Soon they can look at your crazy amazing rear-end!
Below are sites to check out with sample fitness moves you can do at home. A standard google search or youtube search will give you a lot of options.
Top 10 Functional Exercises for Full Body Fitness | SheKnows.com
The Ultimate Home Workout | Shape.com
Top 10 Best Fat Burning Exercises | Fitnessblender.com (list is near bottom of page)
Slide Show: A Guide to Basic Stretches | MayoClinic
Lastly, as promised EXHIBIT A from the walk I took earlier.
We fondly call him Big Boi. Even though he’s on the small side for a Rottweiler he is big compared to most dogs!
To many years filled with lots of laughter,