I love walking
I hear this often -“I’m having a hard time getting exercise-I’m bored, get interrupted, it’s too cold and just don’t like it. What can I do to get my exercise and stay motivated?”
I always ask, “What is an activity you enjoy? Walking? Dancing? Ballet/Bar? Yoga? Tai Chi? Meditative movement? And then what is the best time for you to take 30 minutes to dedicate to a workout of some sort?” For me it’s walking and dancing. I love to walk.
30 minutes 5 days a week gives you the recommended 150 minutes for promoting and maintaining health and wellness. Add two days in your week to do resistance exercises using weights, bands or even your own body. Make the 30 minutes your sacred half hour and find something you like to do. Walking can be boring. I usually listen to podcasts or make phone calls. Some people love to listen to music and walk to the beat.
When it’s cold outside, walk in place or turn on a You Tube Walking Workout video. You Tube has just about any kind of workout you’re in the mood for.
Here are the links to a couple of my favorite indoor walking workouts:
FAST Walking in 30 minute
30 Minute Boosted Fitness Walk
10 STEPS To Help You Stay Motivated
- Make this your time to feel good. The best motivation is what comes from you internally instead of trying to please someone else or because you feel guilty. Call it movement instead of exercise or workout if that makes you feel better.
- Get a pedometer and track your steps-go for 10,000 but start from whereever you are and make 10,000 your goal. (More below)
- Make it fun. Put on some cardio dancing music and dance for 30 minutes. Or add variety. You can do some cardio and whole body work.
- Walk around your house when you are making phone calls or listening to podcasts.
- Put on a You Tube video.
- Join a Zoom exercise class.
- Buy a new exercise outfit that makes you feel comfortable with your movement. And don’t forget good shoes.
- If you can, create a special place in your basement or home just for exercise. You can put mats on the floor and posters on the walls that motivate you and help you to visualize your success at feeling and staying fit.
- Forgive yourself if you a miss a day or two and just get back to it. It’s not all or nothing, it’s something – whatever you will do.
- Reward yourself. After you are done, you can take a soothing bath, read magazines, play a game on your phone, or make a relaxing phone call.
More on 10,000 Steps
If you want to begin with lifestyle changes and exercise is your top priority, go out and buy a pedometer and work up to 10,000 STEPS PER DAY. I love my pedometer. I put it on in the morning and track every step. You would be surprised how little walking you get in if you sit at the computer all day. On the other hand if you have steps in your house and you vacuum daily, run errands, do the gardening, and walk to the mailbox, you may find that by mid afternoon you have over 5, 000 steps. Now all you have to do is go out and take a brisk walk for less than an hour and you will have your 10,000 steps. You can sneak steps into your day by parking your car farther away, walking up and down every aisle in the supermarket, window shopping at the mall, or simply walking around while chatting on the telephone. I wish I had invented the concept of 10,000 steps. 10,000 Steps is equal to about 5 miles of walking. In the beginning don’t worry if you are getting sufficient aerobic exercise at your target heart rate, just WALK. Once 10,000 steps is a habit increase your intensity and frequency, but for now just clip on your pedometer and get walking, and of course, if you are not used to exercise, check with your doctor to make sure you are ready to begin.
I found a great web site using this concept.
“We see that harmony does not mean a balance -at -rest, but a vibrant, bi-polar energy force that urges on all other energy.” – Matthew Fox
“Blessings and Balance, Balance and Blessings, For from Balance comes all Blessings.” – Grandmother Keewaydinoquay, Ojibway Medicine Woman.
TAMING THE BULL
I’m a Taurus, and we bulls can have a lot of energy. I certainly do. Sometimes I feel like there are fireworks inside me ready to explode. I feel like running – usually I tone it down and take a long walk. Other times I have used up my energy and need a rest.
I think I have always had a vast amount of energy. I also have used it up to the point of fatigue. The challenge is learning to balance energy. You only have so much. The body produces energy all the time. We also use up energy. The good news is our bodies and minds were made to balance.
I once went to a therapist who noted the unbalanced and unhealthy way my energy would go up and down. He used an excellent analogy to explain the art of balance. He said to imagine that you have two clear cookie jars and in each of the jars are “gobnicks” of energy. You could picture the “gobnicks” as marbles for instance. Now imagine that one of the jars represents the gobnicks of energy you spend or use. There are days when that jar is full to the brim, and if it were popcorn on a burner, it would pop all over the place. Other days it is only half full, so there needs to be room for the conservation of energy. Other days, those days of low energy, fatigue – there are few or no gobnicks left.
What he pointed out is that when we use our gobnicks, we have to find a way to replace them. The other jar represents the gobnicks of energy that you pay back or restore. We restore our energy or pay back our gobnicks by relaxing, meditating, or taking a quiet walk in the woods. Some people gain energy when they do some invigorating exercise. A talk with a friend or reading a good book can help us gain perspective and energy. These activities restore energy and refuel the body and mind. Whatever it is that creates peace or happiness will restore energy. Activities that involve judgment, analysis, work that is not in line with one’s passion, running or racing against time with a sense of urgency will deplete energy. And there needs to be a balance. Energy in and energy out and energy in and energy out. Balance would be a cookie jar that is at least half-full always. At times life will take more gobnicks. At those times you may need more meditation or quiet time.
If you don’t replace gobnicks of energy with tools for physical, emotional and spiritual replenishment, you will likely suffer from “burnout.” If you stay burned out, you will likely slip into a depression. If you allow life to take you this far on empty, it will take more energy to get back to a healthy state of being.
The key is to listen to your body and watch how you are using your mind. Awareness of energy levels is essential.
It would seem that vacations would replace gobnicks, but instead often they take much of our energy. Sightseeing involves thinking. Packing and running to airports, figuring out flight times and hotel arrangements all take a great amount of energy. On your arrival, you hurry up to have a darn good time. No sooner are you unpacked, you run out and catch the sunshine at the beach or climb mountains or enjoy every minute. You are still racing and running with a sense of urgency to get it all in. After all, when will you be back to experience this place? On returning home from vacation often our bodies and minds feel tired. In fact, often we are more tired than when we left, and the cookie jar comes back drained.
The most relaxing vacations are those where you stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast or a retreat facility and let time and energy guide your activities and schedule. On a retreat it is relaxing to build in prayer and quiet time; eat healthy foods and take long walks around the accommodations or in the woods. I usually go to bed early and wake up early. I journal and enjoy where I am and every moment of my time.
If I am traveling with my husband, we usually stay in bed and breakfasts, travel at our leisure, keep our plans open and enjoy the time together.
We walk a lot. Our bodies love the exercise. We also eat more rich foods on vacation, especially at breakfast. We enjoy our host’s recipe specialties and the company of other guests. We usually do some shopping without a sense of having to buy. Sometimes we attend a lecture in the area where we learn something new or hear an author or speaker who we may never experience in our area. We also go to bed early and rise at our leisure. We avoid doing any business on our vacations and seldom watch television or listen to the radio. We sometimes read a daily newspaper, but if we miss a day, we don’t feel a need to catch up. We enjoy each other in all ways- physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
You know when you’ve overspent your energy. The throat gets sore; your ear may hurt, which is usually a swollen gland and the signs that the immune system is weak. You may catch a cold and have symptoms because the body could not fight it. You may feel more tired and sleep later. Despite it all we often keep going as much as we can.
I do try to take an afternoon nap and pace myself throughout the day. I should do more yoga and meditation, but I am more likely to take a walk or journal-it seems my make-up likes to be “doing something” rather than just sitting.
I have many tools for stress management and balance. For me, this is the key to not breaking down. In fact, what I usually have are “ nervous breakthroughs” instead of nervous breakdowns. Even since childhood, I have only let myself be down for a few days. Inside I would fight back at whatever was getting me down. There was always something to bring me through. I would think of everything positive or bake a cake or call a friend.
When I was a young adult in nursing school, and later when I started working at my first jobs, stress took a toll on my body. I was diagnosed with various psychosomatic illnesses, but then I was not aware of healing techniques to relax my body and mind. It was not playtime anymore. I was studying or working and under much pressure to complete education and career goals. Exercise was the first tool I learned, but I also learned to overdo it. Later I found journaling, meditation, and yoga to be helpful tools. I also learned more about vitamins and herbs and holistic healing.
Recently someone said he thought I had more energy than most people did and that he bet I never got down or lost it. I explained that I did get down and just like everybody else I could use up my energy. However, I have learned to use my stress management tools before I burn out.
Being a Taurus, I often feel the bull in me – running with those horns out – going forward without looking to see who is in my way – and determined to go until something in my path stops me. I need to remind myself to restore those gobnicks.
That analogy I learned years ago is one of those pieces of advice that has always made sense. I have shared it with others, and it is so simple.
Having energy to play with children is absolutely exhilerating and keeps us young at heart.
If you’re talking about going to the gym or a focused exercise routine, it depends.
If you go to the gym 6 days a week and feel pressed to fit that in, you may not be doing your body any favors.
A recent study showed that those who exercise 4 days a week burned more calories overall than those who exercised almost every day.
I understand now more than ever when people tell me they work all day and have no time to exercise. I have been tired lately. Yes, in spite of all of my energy, I lose it like all normal human beings.
Here are some of the things I hear.
“By the time I get home I am so tired and still have to cook dinner and help the kids with homework.”
“ I would have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to make time for my workout.” And some do. I remember hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger works out every day beginning at 5:00 AM giving him enough time to run the state of California.
“I joined a gym but don’t get there as often as I would like.”
We live in an age of being Tired and Wired as Marcelle Pick’s new book Are You Tired and Wired spells out so aptly with 30 days to help you get back to balance.
So what do we do to make sure our body gets proper rest and proper exercise while living the high-wired life…?
Here are five tips to fit in fitness.
1. Get a pedometer. I can’t say enough about these little gadgets that you can buy for $20.00 or less. Just put it on in the morning after brushing your teeth. Keep it next to your toothbrush so you remember. Go for 10,000 steps a day. See what you get doing your normal activities then work on the remaining steps by taking a nice long walk during the day.
2. Today it’s about functional fitness. You don’t have to go to the gym and use fancy equipment to get a proper work out. Recently I worked with a personal trainer who gave me a variety of 20-minute workouts that incorporated resistance training using bands and lightweights along with high intensity body movements that raise my heart rate and work my muscles in a way that supports everyday movement and life.
3. Park your car far away from your destination when you are shopping. Enjoy shopping at SUPER markets and stores. You can walk miles just enjoying all the stuff that you can buy nowadays at Super Wal-Mart, Target, and Super Kroger etc.
4. Dance, dance, dance like no one is watching. It’s true. Many people wake up to music on their radio, I-phones, or stereos. Use this time to dance before you take your shower and then dance again at night. We all know Jane Fonda gets her exercise, but what impressed me was the fact that every night she and her husband dance together alone at night. What a great way to stay fit and nurture your relationship.
5. Do what you can and don’t beat yourself up because you are not working out at your target heart rate for 30 minutes five days a week. Those are the old rules. The new way of thinking is to move all through the day, stay active, garden, play actively with your children, take an early morning or evening walk, or at work go out for 20 minutes before you sit down to eat your lunch.
Most of all enjoy your life, move your body, laugh out loud, sing and dance.
A mother bird has to take care of herself to take care of her babies. Love this photo from a Bed and Breakfast where my husband and I stayed while taking a break.
I just got off the phone with a friend who shared her recent trip to New York City. She went by herself, leaving her 7 year old with her reluctant husband and had the time of her life. She walked the streets of Manhattan, spending 5 hours in the original Macy’s. She talked to people, enjoyed the holiday decorations, and thoroughly enjoyed the city. She visited Soho, the East sides and Chinatown. I love walking and as I listened to her story I felt the joy of this walking experience. She spent hours, being in another world, away from home enjoying the moment. The weather was cold, but she had a warm coat, great boots and the heat of her own body from walking and going in and out of shops.
It sounded like so much fun! Sound selfish? This person works part time with her husband on a family business, is raising her sister’s daughter and may be gaining custody of her sister’s other children. Selfish? Or was she taking care of herself to replenish her energy to give to others.
Many people were upset with the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert for her “selfish” journey to far away places in order to get in touch with her own soul. Should she have stayed with her husband, lived the life that appeared happy by most standards, and grounded her in a life not fully satisfying, but certainly stable? Or do we sometimes need to take a journey where we have time to get in touch with our inner person, our true selves, and the inner direction to live a life that is not just satisfying, but honest and full of the joy of living and the energy to truly love others. We then can share lessons and journeys they might not have the luxury or freedom to take.
When Robert Ringer wrote his book, Looking Out for Number One his message was not to take care of your own needs regardless of the needs of those around you, but rather to be aware that by taking care of your needs you will be able to be a more whole person to those around you.
My friend returned from her trip energized and ready to “get back to her real world” with a renewed spirit. Her husband, who had been a little bit anxious about her timing for going away, stated that he had a new appreciation for how she balances her day-to-day life.
We are not helpful to anyone if we are stressed, burned out, or stepping over our feet to take care of people. Most of us appreciate a gift when given with joy and from an open and healthy heart.