If the thought of exercise makes you cringe…welcome. You’re not alone.
Let me be frank.
I don’t like to exercise.
In fact, the thought of it makes me automatically respond with a list of more important things to do (a.k.a. excuses).
Putting on my running shoes or packing my gym bag makes me squeamish. Scheduled “gym time” can be so boring and it’s such an inconvenience at times.
After all, my daily “to-do” list is a mile long (and much more interesting). There’s a million other things that take priority throughout my day.
Can you relate?
The majority of my day is spent sitting at my computer either writing or talking to patients. But, loving my job makes it hard to pull myself away to exercise—sometimes it feels like a huge distraction (especially when I’m “in the zone”).
Truthfully, I’d rather work than exercise (it’s way more fun)!
So I did a little experiment to find out how much I move my body on days I don’t exercise.
I bought a fitbit pedometer. It’s awesome—I just put it in my pocket and it counts my daily steps. But, the truth was hard to swallow.
On days that I skipped my exercise routine I had only walked about 650 steps by 6 o’clock quitting time. Yikes.
The word on the street is that it takes about 5,000-8,000 steps a day to maintain current health and weight and 10,000 steps minimum to increase health and weight loss. [A mile is about 1,500 steps.]
So you can easily deduce that my 650 daily steps wasn’t going to cut it—especially because it’s important for me to practice what I preach—and daily movement is essential.
As a physician, I’ve studied ad nauseam the health benefits of exercise such as: reduced risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), increased HDL (the “good” cholesterol), maintaining good bone density, or warding off chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.
But, as a woman, I know that moving my body daily helps me straight-up feel better—because it helps boost my energy, balance my moods and hormones, and improve my sleep quality.
But, the problem is…I just don’t like to schedule in exercise.
INSTEAD OF EXERCISE, TRY THIS:
If you’re like me and finding time for daily scheduled exercise is a challenge (and you really don’t enjoy it anyway)… then don’t “exercise”. Simple as that.
Feel free to let go of the notion that being healthy means going to the gym or lacing up those running shoes.
Instead, make it a daily priority to just move your body. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Include things like a brisk walk at lunch with a co-worker, digging in the garden, a snowball fight with your loved ones, an evening yoga class or even a good romp in the hay!
Keep it interesting. Change it up. Invite a friend. Do more on days you have more time (like weekends) and include vigorous activities that get your heart rate up.
Aim for at least 30-45 minutes of movement a day (or 5,000 steps or more).
You’ll reap the same kind of benefits as “exercise” and you might actually enjoy it.
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
Let’s face it—on the quest for health nobody will stick with things they dislike. If a daily trip to the gym or forcing yourself to eat salad at every meal feels like pulling teeth…don’t do it!
Health must be rewarding and fun or we’ll never stay the course.
There are hundreds of enjoyable activities (that just happen to be good for you, too). Just make it a priority to do something everyday.
What are your favorite ways to move your body?
Please leave a comment below.