I’ll be honest. I’ve always HATED to exercise and looked for every excuse in the world to keep from doing it. “The weather’s too hot. The weather’s too cold. Was that a drop of rain? I’m too tired. I don’t have time. I don’t like to sweat. The pollens will bother my allergies. My foot hurts. I can’t go to the gym because I’m having a bad hair day.”
Yes, slap the tiara and the sash on me because I was the couch potato queen. Do any of those excuses sound familiar to you?
I even found a Bible verse (I Timothy 4:8) to back me up. “Bodily exercise profiteth little.” Yeah, I think I took it a little out of context but it sounded good to me.
Then when I went for a check-up with my doctor, he had the nerve to tell me I was overweight. (That came as a total surprise to me! Not.) My blood pressure was up and my blood sugar was inching into the heading-towards-diabetic zone. He got my attention that day and I started walking several times a week.
And I discovered something amazing. I felt better when I exercised. I had more energy, and I felt bad when I DIDN’T exercise. That was four years ago and I’m still exercising on a regular basis. In fact, a few months ago (proving that miracles really do happen!), I began the couch to 5K training program. And you know what? This former couch potato queen is actually enjoying it. Who knew!
I’m down to the last few stages of the program. Yes, this tubby Southern gal who never used to exercise at all is now jogging 20 minutes and will move up to 25 minutes of jogging this week. Trust me when I say that if I can do it, you can do it too. Maybe what I’ve learned will be of help to you, so if your resolution this year is to lose weight and exercise, check out my ten tips and see if they’ll help you keep on track…and on the track.
- Exercise for the right reasons. If you’re doing it just to lose ten pounds before your high school reunion or your son’s wedding, you’ll probably quit. (Yes, I know that from experience. Um, from lots of experiences.) If you’re exercising to get healthy, you’re much more likely to stick with it.
- Get it in your head that even a little exercise can make a big difference to your health. A cardiologist told me that just 20 minutes of walking three times a week provides benefit to the heart.
- Get rid of the excuses. Is the weather bad or is your treadmill broken? Walk inside at the mall. Are you snowed-in or won’t the car start so you can get to the gym? Then walk or jog inside your house. Do laps around the coffee table and the kitchen island. Walk up and down the steps. Stack the clean laundry at the far end of the house from your bedroom and put the clothes up one piece at a time. In other words, get the idea in your mind that you’re going to exercise no matter what.
- Keep a journal or calendar of when you exercise. It will keep you honest.
- Make your exercise sessions fun. Exercise with a friend and the time will go by much quicker. Put some headphones on and listen to some upbeat music or learn a foreign language. Or put your exercise time to some extra good use and pray for your family and friends and for your country.
- Buy comfortable shoes and workout wear. Yeah, that no excuses thing again.
- Make a plan for how you’ll work exercise into your day. Awhile back I was under contract to write a book with a deadline of only 25 days. Add in keeping grandbabies for a couple of days, several speaking engagements, and teaching at a conference for five of those 25 days and it was a crazy month. I honestly didn’t have time for official work-out sessions so it was time to get creative. I’d go to the grocery store, set my timer, and do my shopping at warp speed, zipping my cart up and down the aisles, grabbing items as I zoomed past the shelves. (Be careful with your cart so you don’t take out any little old ladies. You know, little old ladies like me.) Who knew you could work up a sweat buying groceries! Or I’d set the timer for 30 minutes, walking at a brisk pace and straightening through the house putting up one item at a time. Was it as good as my normal work-out routine? No, but it was better than nothing, and it kept me in the habit of exercising.
- Check out the couch to 5K plan. You start out jogging for 60 seconds and move up in increments. I can say honestly that I’ve never felt sore or like I was advancing too fast with this program. C’mon, even your grandma can do 60 seconds!
- Set goals and then celebrate when you reach those goals. (Probably would be best not to celebrate with a big piece of chocolate cake—unless you want to exercise some more.)
- Find your own personal cheerleader, someone who will be excited for you as you reach your exercise goals. This will also provide accountability for you on your exercise journey.
You’ll discover one negative thing about reaching your exercise goals in 2013—you’ll have to come up with a new resolution for next year. But you’ll have plenty of time to think about that while you’re out running.
Now quit reading this. Get your running shoes on and exercise. Happy trails to you!