Several weeks ago I did a blog about the health benefits of regular exercise for women over 50. You can access it here.
I don’t think too many people would argue that exercise isn’t an important part of living a truly healthy, vibrant life. But so many women I talk to and work with seem to struggle with making exercise a priority and fitting it into their busy schedules.
All too often we think unless we spend at an hour or two a day at the gym, get sweaty and sore, we are not “exercising.” Many inactive women seem to consider this to be the only type of exercise that will be worthwhile doing and yet they don’t want to spend any free time they may have in an already packed schedule doing this. Honestly, I don’t blame them!
What if it all comes down to a shift in mindset? Instead of feeling pressured to spend a large chunk of your day doing something you have already decided sounds exhausting and then feeling like a failure if you don’t follow through, what if you could fit small chunks of higher intensity exercise into your day and just moving more to achieve improved fitness goals?
I always recommend scheduling your exercise session into the first part of the day because then at least you’ve done it and the rest of the day won’t mess up your plan. I typically do a 10 minute HIIT workout first thing, before I eat, so I do it fasted for more fat burning, and then shower, have my coffee and start my day! I think unless you have a newborn, toddler or very small children at home or a very long, early commute, almost all of us can fit a 10 minute workout into the morning.
Then if you just add some intentional activity into your day (as I suggest in Today is Still the Day) like taking a walk at lunchtime, using the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away, doing 20 squats or lunges on bathroom breaks, you’d be surprised how that intentional activity adds up – painlessly! Set a timer for 30-45 minutes and get up and move no matter how little you do! It all counts.
By adding in some shorter workouts throughout the day, you begin to see how exercise actually can fit into your schedule and how it helps you work toward your goals for fitness, overall health, stress relief and relaxation. Also adding in activities you enjoy when you have more time, whether that’s hiking, swimming, roller skating, dancing, or whatever, keeps things fresh and fun. Exercise is more than aerobics and weight training! In fact, just renaming it activity or movement, gives you a whole new perspective!
Perhaps by broadening your definition of “exercise” and being willing to try a different way, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many benefits you will reap.
Do you intentionally include exercise in your day or find it difficult to do so? Do you think a change in perspective would help?
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Always a wealth of helpful information Ms. Ann. God’s blessings ma’am.
Thank you, as always, J.D.
I go to the gym about 3 times a week first thing in the morning. Thankfully my gym is small and still open during this COVID -19 pandemic. High intensity did not work well for me and I did not see any results. My routine consists of cardio and weights once a week and then cardio and 20 minutes of barre (or pilates) on the other 2 days. The gym I go to has an option for virtual workouts if you are unable to attend the group fitness classes and you can choose from different types of workouts at different skill levels for different time periods. I have tried several different ones, but “low and slow” for about 20 minutes seems to work best for me. The barre workout can be challenging as it takes focus and awareness of proper form, posture, and breathing at all times. I am not graceful and have no ballet experience but I truly enjoy it. Plus, not only have I lost weight. I can also see improvements in my posture, strength, and balance (which is really important after age 50). I think it is important to find something you like that works best for your body, and that will be different for different people. I always enjoy your posts although I don’t always have time to comment.
Rochelle thank you for sharing your thoughts. That’s exactly what I was hoping to get across – everyone is different and something that works well for me may not be right for you. But we each can find some from of activity and movement we like and that is effective for us and that’s exactly what you did! That’s awesome. Great to hear from you and I pray you and your family are staying safe and well during this time.
Movement is one of my daily habits. And even though I don’t always feel like it, I always feel better once I do it. To your point though, I’m not sure if you’ve studied much about the Blue Zones (the areas with the highest percentage of centenarians) but that’s exactly how they stay active–fitting movement into their day. Rather than going to the gym, they garden, walk to the market, make dinner, climb the stairs. So while I always have a daily “workout” I try to stay mindful of fitting movement into my daily routine.
I have read about the Blue Zones and I have definitely always been an “exerciser.” But especially as I have grown older I am very intentional about staying active and keeping movement throughout my day. I remember my mother in law who wasn’t that much older than I am now – she was very overweight but her legs were so weak she could barely walk up stairs or even stand up from a chair. That impressed me and I was determined to never let myself get that way. It’s great to exercise formally – but more important to stay active and fit movement into each day. Thanks Holly for always sharing your wisdom.