I'm sorry to break it to you but the saying is right. When we don't use it, we lose it. What exactly is IT? Our health. Specifically our physical health. Our bodies were never meant to be sitting behind a desk for 8 - 12 hours a day. Our bodies were never meant to sit in front of a TV binge watching the latest Netflix or Amazon show. Our bodies were meant to move.
The problem is when we don't move for an extend period of time, we get used to not moving and it is harder to start moving. It is a terrible cycle. Don't move and you'll feel tired. Feeling tired means you won't want to move. Then you give in to not moving. You become comfortable with not moving. Your body misses moving and starts to lose it's physical health.
The very first thing you lose when you are not moving is the ability to maintain your weight. Our metabolism slows down as we age. Exercising regularly means we are able to maintain our weight because muscle burns calories. Regular exercise helps us maintain and/or build muscle mass which helps us burn calories. Next, when you aren't exercising you are more susceptible to getting colds and illnesses. Why? Exercising helps the body get rid of waste by sweating. Plus, our body temperature rises when we exercise which helps our bodies prevent bacteria from growing.
Ultimately, our cells need energy to be healthy. They get energy through movement, food and supplements. Movement doesn't mean we have to belong to expensive gyms and pay for expensive classes. Movement doesn't mean we have to do things we don't like. If you haven't been exercising for a period of time, below are some ways to ease back into a lifestyle of movement. Of course, check with your doctor if you have any ailments that may limit the type of exercise you can participate in. It is important to know your limitations and to modify exercises where necessary for it to be effective for you.
#1 START SLOW. If you haven't been moving in a while, you may jump right into it and get frustrated then stop. Set a simple goal. Three days a week go for a walk. Don't time yourself, don't set a certain amount of miles, just walk. If the weather is bad, look for an indoor mall that opens early for walkers. Or join a cheap gym to walk on the treadmill. Read a book, watch TV or listen to a podcast while on the treadmill. You will probably walk longer on the treadmill if you are entertaining yourself.
#2 GET A BUDDY. Exercising with a friend is always better than exercising alone. Maybe it is a loved one or a neighbor. Ask someone else if they have a goal for exercising. Then you can pair up your schedules to get together. It may also give you an opportunity to try a class. Sometimes going to a class for the first time with a friend is easier than going alone. The best part is when you have an exercise buddy, you become accountable. This can be some of the best motivation to keep up a routine.
#3 TRY DIFFERENT EXERCISES. In order for an exercise routine to be something you do regularly, it has to be an activity you like. In the beginning, try different workouts. Try a spin class or go for a bike ride. Try an elliptical machine or a Zumba class. Try a program on a treadmill that adds inclines and speed changes. The key is to keep activities interesting so you want to keep doing it.
#4 WHEN IN DOUBT TRY YOUTUBE. YouTube has to be the best, free solution for anyone who wants to start moving but doesn't know where to start. The best part is you can do it anywhere! Traveling for work? YouTube an exercise class that focuses on strength training and can be done in your hotel room. Want to try yoga? There are a lot of beginning programs on YouTube. Want to try a Zumba,-like class, you can for free!
#5 SCHEDULE IT. Don't let life get in the way of your goal to start moving. Write down the activity you are going to do, the time you'll do it and for how long. Then put the schedule somewhere you will see it daily. Put it on your electronic calendar, set reminders on your cell phone or do it old school and write it on a paper calendar. Scheduling exercise makes you more likely to do it because you've made the commitment to yourself. If life does get in the way, look for another day or time to do it. Rescheduling is a part of life. Just don't let life cancel your routine so that you stop moving.
If you are still having trouble starting an exercise routine, there are solutions to help get you started. Some fitness centers have personal trainers that will work with you for 1 week or more to set a routine according to your goals. While you have to pay for this service, it would be a valuable investment in your health. After all, who needs another pair of shoes or another blouse? There are plenty of resources online, such as WebMD and YouTube, with examples of exercises you can do at home to get you going.
I hope this blog post inspires you to start moving. I promise once you get into the habit of moving, it will be hard to stop. You will feel so much better and have more energy that you will want to help others start moving!