Friday, March 11, 2011

Get Real Exercise

Let's get real about exercise. If you don't like it, you're not going to do it. Not regularly and not to your best ability. Even if you have a favorite type of exercise that you do regularly, say swimming or jogging, its bound to get boring doing the same thing all the time. The best kind of exercise is the kind that makes us feel like we are not exercising; in other words, things that are fun!

Don't confine yourself to a view of a workout as going to the gym and lifting or stepping until you feel like you are going to fall over. We can tone, strengthen and increase flexibility doing many of the things we already enjoy doing. Maybe you love ballroom dancing, or maybe just dancing with your broom while you sweep the kitchen floor. Maybe you enjoy playing sports or playing tag with your kids. Not to mention having sex! Who doesn't enjoy that?!

The point is that our bodies are meant to get physical activity each and every day through a variety of means, including both those that are necessary and those that we do simply because we enjoy them.

Looking at our ancestors way of life can help us realize why hitting the treadmill for 20 minutes can seem so dismal. Throughout our evolution, humans have never had to try to keep their bodies in shape. Obesity was a fairly rare occurrence and no one lifted weights to obtain attractively defined muscles. There was just no need. Early humans had to struggle everyday just to feed themselves and stay out of danger; then as the human race evolved into a “civilization” they continued to participate in daily household duties, sports, battle, and other physical recreations.

It is only the most modern man who sits on the couch or at a desk all day staring at a screen while overeating packaged and processed pseudo-food loaded with sugar. It's no wonder we all struggle with our weight considering how little daily activity we are actually getting. It is also no wonder that our nation is plagued with disorders like depression and anxiety which are definitely relieved and prevented with regular physical activity.

So forget exercise routines and workout plans, well, unless of course you really enjoy them. Instead try to find a physical activity every day that you can look forward to doing and that will keep you moving for at least one hour. Interval training is the latest news in fitness science, so it is not important that you are working at the same intensity for the entire time, or even that you are engaging in the activity for one full hour at a time. You might do your broom dance for fifteen minutes, then haul the laundry up and down the stairs, do squats and bends while you fold it, then start walking again while you put it away and make the beds. Another day you could take your dog for a walk or go power walking at the mall, giving yourself a short break of course to browse your favorite store. It's easy to see how when you are doing something you enjoy, an hour can pass without seeming like eternity.

One of the best ways to get some variety in your activity routine is to take a class or join a group doing sports or dancing, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gung or cycling. Many people also enjoy dance workout routines like Zumba or doing kickboxing. The idea is to create a variety of activities that you enjoy so you can do something a little different each week. Any personal trainer will tell you that you don't want to do the exact same workout every time because your body will become used to that routine and no more progress will be made.

When you do a variety of physical activities on a daily basis, you will notice that your body is becoming stronger and you are gaining stamina to do the things you love. You will look and feel great and won't have to fight yourself every morning to go to the gym.

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