~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #190
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It was the nineties. And Cindy Crawford had a fitness video, yes this one. It was 20 minutes of simple strength exercises, and I memorized the exercises, completing them twice a week on my own. In no time, without the need of the video. I was in my late pre-teens. Not having access to a gym, somewhere I knew strength was a good idea along with cardiovascular exercises. I will admit, the video was similar to a music video which helped, but it was a routine from my past that I continue to draw on today, and have not been a member of a gym for more than 14 years.
Now, I have since updated many of the exercises after training with personal trainers, but the concept of not needing a gym membership, but rather simply knowing how to build your own strength routine that you can complete in your home is not only a money saver, but time saver. The key is to use proper form and stick to a program even if it is challenging, and it will be in the beginning.
Initially, you may want to schedule a session or two with a personal trainer to make sure you have a strength routine that works well for your body and you are clear about what the proper form will be. During this consultation, you can ask questions about your overall health, the cardio vascular routine you adhere to and based on what your goals are, ask for ideas to maximize your fitness schedule. In fact, to calibrate my strength routine after years of doing it on my own, I have set up a few sessions with a local trainer to make sure I as physically fit as I can be for my health primarily, but to feel truly comfortable in my skin.
I was reminded of my fitness routine from decades ago and how simple fitness can to be when Crawford was interviewed this past November for The Cut. In that interview she alludes to the fitness routine she was introduced to which was what was shared in the fitness videos:
I try to get 20 minutes of cardio at least three times a week. Then I do anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of old school lunges, weights, squats, and bicep curls — it’s just stuff that I learned 30 years ago. Once a week, I try to go on a hike with a friend so I combine exercise and girlfriend time — it’s the best multitasking.
The fitness routine we create for ourselves should be enjoyable, consistent and paired with a well-balanced diet which includes moderation not deprivation. The reality is our weight has far more to do with what we eat than what we do for exercise as was reported in The New York Times in 2015, so why not create a fitness approach we look forward to?
Below are a few ideas for staying fit while keeping it simple.
Let the Outdoors Be Your Gym
Not everyone lives in a town like Bend, Oregon, with trails just blocks from our front doors and massive dog parks to hike the forests with our furry children. So heeding this suggestion will be dependent upon where you call home, but even if you live in a bustling city, especially New York or any city with public transportation, walking will add up. And walking counts.
Find a Class You Enjoy and Go Regularly
The combination of aerobic, strength and flexibility is the tripod of good fitness, so whether you enjoy a circuit training class with a particular instructor, a pilates or yoga class for deep stretching as well as mental agility, find a day of the week and time that works best and get into a regular schedule of attending. Another motivator is to buy a pass for a month or a pass of 5-10 classes. Not only will you pay less as they are often reduced when sold in multiples, but you will not have the excuse of not having the money and knowing you’ve already paid will motivate you to not let your money go to waste.
Do What You Love
If you enjoy working out with others, join a group that cycles weekly and explores the many trails around the area. If you enjoy working out alone, grab your shoes and earbuds and star running or walking. During the summer months I love to paddleboard with Norman, and while it can be a leisurely pursuit, I try to make it a workout when we go upstream and then relax on the ride back down as we move with the current.
Walk with Intention
If you do like to walk for exercise, as I do, walk with purpose. In other words, strolling will not keep your heart rate up high enough to burn the calories you are hoping for. I drive some of my walking companions up a wall sometimes, but to me a walk is an opportunity to get a nice workout in, and if I haven’t gotten my workout in, I am going to want to pick up the pace. Having walked two marathons, it is possible to derive an amazing aerobic fitness routine solely from walking, just walk with intention.
At the core of any successful venture or change in habits and behavior is to make your fitness routine consistent. From engaging in an aerobic activity for 30-40 minutes 3-5 times a week, strength training twice a week for at least 20 minutes and taking time for your body to truly be stretched well once a week, schedule these appointments as you would a necessary doctor’s appointment.
Water, all the time, Water
I am on a constant quest to drink more water. My efforts include making it my drink of choice when I am not sipping on tea, taking my 24 oz Hydroflask with me when I go to work, yoga class and travel and doing my best to drink the entire bottle before I return home. Part of why we reach for food we really don’t need is because we are thirsty and the more we stay hydrated the more we will have a honest gauge of what our body is craving.
Let Curiosity Be Your Guide
When traveling, give yourself extra time to explore on foot, climb that famous trail or step off the metro or the tube one stop too early and walk the rest of the way to your destination. Again, you will be doing something you enjoy and are curious about and all the while getting in a few extra minutes of cardio.
The bottom line to take away as many of us are making resolutions to improve our health is that what we eat is a priority that can derail our fitness efforts, so eat well, plan a regular well balanced fitness program and enjoy going about your everyday knowing that in time you will see the results you were looking for.
~Peruse theHEALTH postsin the Archives to find posts targeted on exactly what you are looking for (eating well, fitness, yoga, losing those last 10 pounds, etc.)
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~Love Food, Love Your Body – 10 Simple Tips (episode #8)