Hiking two weeks ago was tough. Each step was hard. I suppose it didn’t help that we set out on a day that was heating up close to the 100 degree mark. Nor did it help that the trail I chose was steeper than our normal trails.
Last Sunday was one of those days when I need to exert my will over my body just to keep putting one foot uphill in front of the other. After about one hour’s worth of paces, I finally sat down on a log and declared that I’d wait there if my husband wanted to hike farther.
Was this a bad day of hiking? Absolutely not. It was glorious – bright blue sky, roaring creek nearby, gentle breeze, green and lush vegetation. By the time we returned to the car, I was in high spirits. Seems those fun-loving endorphins kick in even when the body resists.
I’m so delighted when I hear from you that you’ve embarked on an exercise program and you’re sticking with it. That in fact, you can’t imagine a day without exercise. Just like you can’t imagine a day without food or water.
Here are some ways to get moving and keep going. But just a warning here: Please don’t think of this as starting a program. Why? Because endeavors that have a start also have an end. Instead, you’re simply adding regular and frequent exercise into your daily activities. Some ideas:
Exercise with a friend and pre-plan your outings.
Make friends with the people you meet at the fitness center, at exercise class, and wherever you exercise. That way, when you go, you’ll be meeting up with your friends.
Schedule your exercise time into your daily agenda, PDA, outlook, or calendar.
Ignore your own inner excuses. Put your exercise clothes right beside your bed at night. In the morning, put them as soon as you get out of bed and don’t shower until you’ve done your exercise. (This really helps me.)
Get outdoors for exercise. It adds to the feel-good-ness. When you do, remember to use sun protection – sun screen, sun hat, long sleeve shirt, etc.
Play competitive sports, such as racquetball or tennis, volleyball or basketball, even if you play in the “slow”, the beginner or the “older” group.
Expect to have sore muscles. One friend explained that she loved the feel of her sore muscles because it meant she was doing something great for her body. And she went to the fitness center every workday.
Even if you don’t want to keep your fitness appointment with yourself to suit up and go, go anyway. Once you’re there, then you can decide if you want to turn around and go home or not. It’s the discipline of showing up that brings you fitness rewards.
Stretching and flexibility-training is highly under-rated. Few, if any exercise classes do anything more than give “lip-service” to your need to stretch. The only exceptions are yoga and some Pilates classes. Stretch and then stretch some more. Learn how. (If you have heavy muscles, the only thing that will boost your weight loss is slow, and steady stretching to help restructure your muscles. Yes, this is an “ouch” at times, but the reward is high.)
Make it fun. Even when it’s work. Keep on making it fun everyday of your life.
IMPORTANT: New research indicates that the success of low-carb diets isn’t as much about reducing carbs as it is increasing protein. Eating more high-quality complete protein gives you a higher feeling of satisfaction after eating, slows stomach emptying because protein takes longer to digest, and it keeps your blood sugar levels stable longer. But you don’t need to get carried away and eat huge amounts of protein – 15 grams, or 3 ounces a meal is plenty for women. Men can eat more – 20 grams or about 4 ounces.