So, how are you doing on those goals and resolutions you made on December 31st? Are you accomplishing them or have they been forgotten?
It’s hard to create new habits and change our ways. I’m very familiar with that; probably why I choose not to make any promises based on a date on the calendar. I have to get fed up with my situation before I do something about it.
I want to share with you one of the best things I learned a few years ago, during my first health challenge.
(I love challenges!)
Do it. For 20 minutes a day.
You don’t even have to do it all at once. Break it up into bite-size chunks, or do it all together, it’s your choice. I typically do it all together, but I also take advantage of down days, by taking the stairs, gardening, or playing with the dogs out in the pasture. Do whatever keeps you in constant motion long enough to raise your heart rate.
There are so many activities to try! I love kayaking and want to try a paddle board. Who’s with me?!
This is the Key
Moving enough, hard enough, to bring your heart rate higher than it normally is during your day.
We tend to spend too many hours in a sedative state.
Sitting at a desk
Sitting on the couch watching TV
Sitting at a table on the computer
Sitting in the car
I know for me, something had to change. So here’s what I did, how I did it, and some ways you can do something similar.
Making the Change
When I decided something needed to change in my health—because I didn’t feel good and the weight was piling on at an alarming rate—the first thing I started to do was walk. I actually love to go walking, so I did.
I started out by walking about 3 miles, four times a week, at least. I walked briskly and quickly, pumping my arms to add more movement. Before turning around, I had to reach my favorite place to stop. I’m not one to listen to music; I love nature and the sounds it provides.
After about a month, I was getting bored. so I added T-Tapp workouts to the days I wasn’t walking. (I’ll talk about that more in a minute.)
I also decided to begin doing short jogging intervals while walking. I started small. I would take 20 walking strides and then jog 20 strides.
Okay. That was hard!
I’ve never been a runner, but just walking wasn’t challenging me anymore. I learned that interval training was a great thing to do. It challenges your body to push harder and not fall into doing the same thing all the time.
I did this for a certain distance and for a week straight. The next week, I went to 30 paces of walking and then jogging. Each week, challenged myself to up the distance of each interval. Next thing I knew, my counts became so high, I was forgetting my pace! So I needed a new way to mark my intervals. I decided to make them into quarter miles, then half miles, etc.
Finally, I managed to run a whole mile! I was so excited!
I kept challenging myself to extend my distances, a bit at a time.
That was a few years ago. I’m still not a long distance runner, nor do I want to be. I just want to move my body and keep it healthy. I still also walk some days.
Benefits of Walking
There are lots of great benefits to picking up the walking habit.
It will alter your mood. Having a hard day? Go for a walk. Many choose to eat comfort food or turn to alcohol to help them on a hard day, but walking is calorie free! It will help to diffuse any anger you may be experiencing and it can also be a social activity. Bring along a friend! It’s also great to expose yourself to daylight and the sun.
It’s great for thinking through problems or accessing your creativity. Bring along a little notebook to jot down any inspirations you have. I find it’s also a great uninterrupted prayer time.
Walking will cause you to lose weight. It will! You get moving and the weight will begin to slowly melt off. Walking helps improve the body to respond to insulin, which helps reduce belly fat. It helps to burn calories and prevent muscle loss. The best part? You can walk almost anywhere! Inside, outside, the mall—be creative!
Your legs will look fantastic! Make sure you buy good walking shoes. Go to a small running store and get properly fitted with the shoe that will work with your feet. It is worth the investment. Walking also helps to prevent varicose veins in the legs, as we age. If you already suffer from them, walking helps prevent swelling and restlessness. By keeping the leg muscles strong, blood flow remains healthy from the legs to the heart.
Gastric mobility improves. Does your gut feel sluggish or do you have trouble moving your bowels? Go for a walk!
Other Ideas to Get Moving
Here’s a few ideas for other activities or workouts to try:
T-Tapp is a gentle, yet effective workout for anyone, but in particular, those who are maturing or are suffering through cancer treatment. This works! I love to do these routines on my off days. You can buy DVDs directly from their website.
Fit2B Studio helps you gain back your tummy. Do you notice a big gap between your abs? They can help. Check them out!
How about trying something new? What about kayaking, paddle boarding, stair climbing, cycling, etc? Some types of moving require no investment except a good fitting pair of shoes. Others will require you to purchase or rent equipment. If you can rent equipment to try the sport before you buy, better yet! Pick several things to try in order to mix it up. If you’re like me, you get bored doing the same activity all the time. (I have a spinning bike, a Total Gym, I run, and I also go to the gym for weight training.)
Fitbit watch and app for your phone will not only keep you informed of your day, but also provide all sorts of great information. I chose Fitbit over Apple Watch because I just wanted a fitness device and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. While I’m walking or running, I’m not interested in communications. I have the Fitbit Charge 2 and it notifies me of texts and calls, but I choose to not answer them, usually. This time is for me, so I guard it. In the app, there are also Challenges and Fitbit Coaches to challenge you. It’s a win-win!! As a side note, I’ve gotten use to wearing a watch again.
What Will You Choose to Do?
Picking up a new, healthy habit of moving for 20 minutes (minimum) a day is easy to do!
Get out there!
I challenge you.
You won’t regret it.
Leave a comment and let me know what you choose to do!
If You Get Moving Outdoors…
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