I love reading the Sunday paper. I always find interesting tidbits that aren’t touched on in the daily papers. For example: Last weekend I discovered an article by Molly Lyons (USA Weekend – January 20-22, 2012) about why you should exercise, even if you hate it.
Hate is a pretty strong world but truth be told, most of us aren’t all that keen about exercising. It is just another item to add to a long list of things to do, but we do it (or I hope you do it) because it is good for you. If you have made the effort to make exercise a part of your life, you probably hate it when January roles around. People come out of the woodwork to fulfill their New Year Resolutions. You know that most won’t stay around to go the distance so you groan mightily and complain about the crowded conditions in your gym, and you look forward to spring when a huge percentage of them drop out. This year, instead of being thankful that most drop out by the end of March, you should be congratulating them, as well as yourself, for embracing a healthier lifestyle.
Why does this happen every year? Trainers are too enthusiastic and the guidelines are too intimidating. Thirty to sixty minutes of strenuous exercise three times a week sounds daunting to someone who thinks walking to the mailbox is hard work. Just the thought of setting aside a block of time to do something that isn’t fun can be intimidating. But wait! You are retired now and you have a lot of time, or not. I am still waiting for things to slow down and for a blank square to appear on my calendar. You know that blank square that begs you to pencil in a walk or a trip to the gym.
Exercise should not be a chore. Your body craves exercise and even doing a little is better than doing nothing at all. I don’t know about you, but I think the hardest part is getting started. Once you get your shoes laced up and push yourself out of the door you feel fine, and the time goes by rather quickly. With so many ways to be active, surely you can find something that you actually like to do.
Watch your grandkids. You may have noticed that they never just walk. Kids jump, hop, run or spin around in circles until they are exhausted. Wouldn’t it be grand to have that kind of energy again? As we age, we start neglecting physical activity. We get fat and we lose that keen sense of exercising for the fun of it. It is a different world than when we were kids. Our folks were pretty trim, not because they went to the gym, but because they worked hard and energy saving devices hadn’t been invented yet. We won’t reminisce about laundry being done in a stream, but remember those wringer washing machines? Remember hanging clothes on a line in the backyard? Labor saving devices and going everywhere in car is a way of life now. We seldom do a natural form of exercise. Even a walk is an event instead of just a way to get from point A to point B. Life is more sedentary and exercise has become a chore.
What can you do to make exercise less of a chore? Try to think of little things to cut down on travel time and extra trips. If you join a gym make sure it one that is nearby; adding a commute to your time frame is just one more obstacle. Find a time, place and activity that will fit into your lifestyle.
Unfortunately, it isn’t any easier to find time to exercise at age 60 than it was at 30, but you know the consequences if you cheat. Turn everyday chores into a workout by doing them briskly. Be ready to workout at any time. You are more apt to go to the gym if you have a bag packed and in your car at all times. Once you go home you are less apt to go out again. Walk around the outside of the ball fields when the grandkids are playing soccer or stop at the gym when you have 40 minutes to kill. Think exercise at all times and reward yourself for your efforts. An active grandparent sets a good example for both their children and their grandchildren.