4 months ago Anni made the decision to start exercising. “At age 65 I decided it was now or never!”
“Once I had committed to a regular workout and a careful diet of adequate protein, plenty of veg & moderate fruit, I began to lose weight and feel great! My energy level has increased so much and I want to maintain and improve on what I have achieved so far.”
She's lost 17 lb and experienced some other awesome benefits too. “I’ve had great relief from back pain and my hips don't ache when I get up from sitting a while. Walking uphill is easier too. I also feel stronger in everyday life, more balanced, less wobbly… it’s the little things like getting up - you suddenly realize it isn't as big an effort as before”
So what does she do in her 3 times a week workout? “I know how important it is to protect my bone strength as I get older so weight bearing exercises are an essential part of my workout." She loves squats and uses resistance machines, walks on the treadmill and does mat work.
Want to get fit but not sure where to start?
Do you feel like the pounds are sneaking on… or like you just don’t feel as vibrant as you used to?
You’re not alone. It happens to all of us. We feel like it's an inevitale part of getting older. The great news is it’s just not true! We just move less than we used to.
“Studies have found that people who spend more time each day watching television, sitting, or riding in cars have a greater chance of dying early than people who are more active”… and unfortunately... “staying active does not mitigate the harmful effects of sit time.”1
How depressing is that? Sitting makes us die early!
As a personal trainer, I let my clients know that workouts that build muscle, keep joints mobile and their heart healthy are awesome. AND it's also essential to limit sitting and keep moving in day to day life too.
So how can you become less sedentary, transform your body & live longer?
The American Council on Exercise (ACE Fitness) 2, insists we need 5 mins of standing activity in every hour seated. OK yes, sometimes you're in a 3 hour meeting you can't stand up in but when that isn't the case here's a simple 2-step process you can use.
1. Make a note of the things you need to do that CAN involve being on your feet where you are (home, work). Eg, calls, coffee breaks, ironing etc.
2. Do them for 5 mins every hour you spend seated.
It's a small change to make to avoid “the consequences of a sedentary life” that are “as well documented as they are dire.”! 3
“If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.” ~Tarnopolsky 4
There are over 112 waking hours in the week for most of us. Even motivated exercisers spend only a few of these working out. Thankfully the less intense movements we do the rest of the time burn the lion's share of our daily calories. Walking is THE place to start no matter what your fitness level. I encourage my clients to sneak in extra steps any chance they get.
An extremely wise man once said- “If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” Hippocrates 5
Recognize these kinds of questions?
Our inner voice sure does like to torture us doesn’t it?!
When we have these thoughts they influence our behavior whether we notice them or not.
Our brains are wired to solve problems and seek answers. It will find a negative answer if you ask a negative question. I don't know about you but that seems like a waste of brain power to me!
So how can we turn this around?
Give your mind the mission to find good stuff by creating positive questions.
Here's an example-
(Warning. These statements do end up sounding super corny but they do make you feel better, which is the point.)
"Why CAN’T I just sort my diet out once and for all and stop having to start from scratch every time?"
Change can't to can etc. and write in the positive. Think of what you DO want instead. Include at least one positive descriptive word per question and reword until you don't get reminded of the original problem.
"Why CAN I stick to a well-balanced and DELICIOUS diet?"
What else do you want? In this case it's for it to be easy.
'Stick to' is a reminder of what you can't do so we'll take that out.
"Why do I always find it so EASY to EAT a well-balanced and delicious diet?"
Now your mind is focus on the words 'easy' 'well-balanced' 'delicious' and is starting to seek out evidence.
Give yourself a little time to get used to the change of direction. Your mind will kick into positive seeking mode in no time.
Why can't I keep the weight off? = Why am I always at my optimum weight?
Why can’t I stop eating so much? = Why do I find it so easy to eat the perfect amount of food?
Why can't I just a have drink or two at parties instead of getting wasted? = Why do I have such an awesome time at parties without drinking much alcohol?
Why am I so useless at sticking to an exercise program? = Why am I so brilliant at working out regularly?
Credit to Noah St. John for this idea.
Have you ever started a new exercise program full of enthusiasm but then got injured or burnt out, started dreading working out and gave up? Still got a goal to lose weight or get fit? Well... have you ever tried doing a new SMALL habit every day for 7, 28, 90 days etc? If you haven't tried a chain maybe now's the time.
The chain process is attributed to Jerry Seinfeld. James Clear explains- "The Seinfeld Strategy works because it helps to take the focus off of each individual performance and puts the emphasis on the process instead. It's not about how you feel, how inspired you are, or how brilliant your work is that day. Instead, it's just about "not breaking the chain."
"Pick a task that is meaningful enough to make a difference, but simple enough that you can get it done.". If you don't have a current workout regime I recommend taking more steps. There are loads of great fitness trackers, apps and low cost pedometers to help you measure your progress. Simply see how much you walk on the first day and increase daily for x amount of days. You could work up to a good amount, 10,000 steps is often recommended and keep the chain going after that at your new target rate.
Mark each day you complete your task on a calendar or use a chains app to get that 'I've accomplished something' buzz.
Consistency Consistency Consistency!
Don't break the chain!
Do you feel inspired and alive about making a healthy change one minute... and before you know it it's months later and your idea has drifted into oblivion?
It's definitely not just you. Here’s me. I'm wide awake at 4am again. I've always been a night owl. My mind is whirring and planning and excited for my next project but… all this energy will be wasted if I don't make practical plans.
Jim Rohn wonderfully explains “when the idea is strong, clear and powerful...capture the emotion and put it into disciplined activities”
Successful people aren't necessarily smarter than others. They are just doers!
So what change do you want to make? How will you commit to action? Some of my favorites are
What's your favorite way to make sure you take action on your goals? Comment below
Here are some of the health & happiness benefits of exercise. I hope they motivate you as much as they do me.
What benefit would you most like to experience?
The list is endless...
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Clara is a NCCA certified personal trainer who loves to work with awesome women like you.