So I'm a certified Lifestyle Educator. (Stop laughing. It's true. I have a certificate. Framed. Boo-yah!) Part of the "lifestyle" I am certified to educate (...on) is diet and activity. That's right, folks, "activity." Note I did not say "exercise." And why such semantics?
Well, I'm so glad you asked... (Otherwise this post would be utterly useless.) (Hush.)
An integral part of the lifestyle program I teach is that our mindset/thinking/perspective has sooo much to do with our ability to implement healthy changes. (Did the Earth shatter? No? Right.) One of the central elements of a healthy lifestyle that people struggle with is staying active. I for one detest anything having to do with exercising. (Except for maybe the post-workout shower. And treat.)
Activity, on the other hand? Well now that is a horse of a different color. Far too many of us* get all amped on a workout routine, going balls out for about THREE! WHOLE! DAYS! before fizzling out and giving up, having wasted a lot of effort and excitement. (Not to mention dollars on memberships, classes, special equipment and/or clothing. Ever owned a pair of spinning shorts? Woof.) But there are so many seemingly small, easy (relatively speaking) things that we can incorporate into our daily life that over time will (a) help us stay in shape and (b) lead to adopting other healthy habits/behaviors/rituals.
I'm a concrete examples kind girl, so here are some of my favorites:
~ Do you work in a building with multiple floors? If yes, I bet they have an elevator. And if they're fire code compliant, I bet they also have stairs. Use them! Even if you're schlepping lunch, coffee, a change of clothes for Happy Hour (put down that sugar-laden margarita, for the love of cellulite!), consider it resistance training and prance up those steps like a champ. Stairs at the workplace are also awesome for breaks and lunchtime movement. Especially if you're sedentary at the office, this will be such a huge caffeine-free pick-me-up.
~ Is there a Starbucks around the corner? (If you live in Urban City, USA, the answer is yes.) Or any local cafe, bistro, bar, etc. within a mile? Next time you have a free hour or two, walk there. Grab a book, your pup, your roomie/spouse/lovah, whatever and take the extra time to walk it out. I admit that even I will be less jazzed about this one as the mercury rises in the fiery wonderland that is Texas, but don't let that be an excuse to laze it up. Drink lots of water, dress coolly, and wear deodorant. Like I mentioned earlier, the joy of a post-activity shower is reason enough to break a sweat. (And I'm pretty sure it goes without saying that that sassy green 'Bucks siren and her lovely coffee treats are enough to motivate this gal to action.)
~ Hit the playground. No seriously. Have you recently joined your kiddos, nieces/nephews, neighbor scamps, etc. for a weekend of play? You should! I don't think I've ever felt the burn more than I do after some time spent on a trampoline, swing, jungle gym and/or bouncy house. The best part? You're so busy laughing and messing up your clothes (I busted a pair of designer jeans in a Spiderman bouncy house...true story) that you don't even think of the many calories burned. It's good for the soul and the waistline. Party on, young 'en!
Of course none of these ideas are unique or totally out of the box. But that's the point! One of the best ways to stay in shape is to find the little things that you can actually commit to long-term.** Everyone's got stuff and I admit that it's much easier for me to stay busy as a single gal, so reflect on your own schedule, likes/dislikes, physical abilities (both objective and perceived), and start with an activity or two that get your heart rate up, make your booty move, and inspire you to do it again.
What are some of your favorite activities?
*Except for my friend April. That girl gets pumped about something and actually sees it through. She should be studied. And cheered on. With pom poms.
**This is also my philosophy when it comes to changing deeply-engrained food patterns/preferences, but that conversation is for another blog.