So, you’ve been exercising for about a month. Maybe walking 5 days a week, or going to the gym and working out, but you haven’t lost a &*&^% pound! I mean what’s the use? Why put in all this work if you’re not going to look like a bikini model right?! Well the dirty little secret is that diet is really the key to weight loss, and I think eating right is way harder than exercising or being active, because exercise makes you feel good, but so does chocolate cake. But all of your hard work is not in vain. Exercise has many benefits for your body and mind. If you want to live for ever, well, exercise better top your list of strategies.
Benefits of Exercise
The ACSM recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise a week for health benefits. The good news is that increments of as little as 10 minutes at a time still carry these benefits. If you are exercising 150 minutes a week, these are some of the awesome things that may happen to your body.
your resting heart rate may decrease. This means that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
your resting blood pressure may decrease. High blood pressure increases your risks of all kinds of nasty things like, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
your triglycerides may go down (this is good) and your good cholesterol may go up (this is also good) This also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
improved glucose tolerance, this means your body handles sugar better and lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes
decreased anxiety and depression. Exercise can stimulate the release of “feel good” chemicals in your brain, and who doesn’t like to feel good?!
What about weights?
Well, I love resistance training. There is nothing like lifting and moving heavy things, including your own body to make you feel powerful and confident. Also training specific muscle groups is beneficial in my opinion. In reality our bodies are very lazy, if you have a weak muscle, your body will do everything it can to compensate for it instead of using it, so full body resistance training done right, forces your body to use each muscle or muscle group instead of avoiding the weak ones. And yes even avid exercisers can have weaknesses. In fact those weaknesses are usually what contribute to injuries. What are other benefits of resistance training?
decreased risk of osteoporosis and slowing of bone loss in those who already have osteoperosis
improved strength…. this is a big one, it lowers your risk of injury, improves your ability to perform daily tasks and decreases your risk of falls!
improves sleep patterns
and improves mobility and balance
I have worked with older adults for 20 years and my view on the importance of exercise has changed over the years. When I was young it was all about how I looked but I have seen the difference regular exercise makes as we age. It can mean the difference between spending your retirement years going to bingo and coffee with friends or a going to a multitude of doctors appointments or hospitalizations. Exercises is indeed medicine for our bodies, and we don’t have to pay a thing for it.
So when you become a Personal Trainer and start and Instagram page, you get followed by lots of other Personal Trainers. I look through their posts and think “good God this is so not me!” There are lots of impressive physiques, young fit bodies, wash board abs, perfect butts,and fabulous arms! Bodies like that take a lot of time and discipline to achieve both eating and in the gym, and well….I’m just not that into it. Don’t get me wrong I love the way I feel and look since losing weight and exercising regularly, I feel great! However I have lots of other things that make me feel great too. Like watching my daughter play softball, hanging out with my son when he plays video games, spending time sitting and chatting with my husband over a drink on a Friday night. I’d love to have rock hard abs, but I’m probably not willing to put in the disciplined eating and workouts needed to achieve them. And you know what, that’s OK!!!! I eat healthy 90% of the time, I exercise regularly, and I lead an active lifestyle. My favorite thing about losing 40 pounds….being able to pop up without effort if I’m sitting on the floor! How my priorities have changed since my 20s.
So here are some fitness tips for regular people, especially those of you just getting started or are thinking about getting started making some changes. You know who you are! You want to be stronger so you can lug mulch to your flower bed, and kneel down on the ground to plant bulbs. You want to be able to keep up with your kids or grand kids without feeling like you ran a marathon the next day. You want to sit comfortably in a seat at the theater without feeling wedged in. But you have no desire to spend hours in the gym or be unable to walk after a workout by Hans the personal trainer.
1. Eliminate sugar
I am not a dietician. But I don’t think it takes a degree to know, sugar is bad….mmmmmk? For me it’s like crack, one sugary treat leads to another and forget having it in the house! I realized a long time ago I have zero will power, so I can not have junk food in the house. Does this mean no birthday cake at the party? No, of course not! But it should not be a regular part of your diet.
2. Read labels
This goes back to #1. Holy crap! Have you seen the ingredients in some of our food?? I mean it almost impossible to find an envelope of taco seasoning without sugar as an ingredient, or Beef stew seasoning! Look more at your ingredients than anything. I learned how to make my own taco seasoning, and guess what it tastes great without sugar. Know what’s in your food.
3. Just move!
And give your self credit for it! Regular house hold chores like mowing the grass, mopping the floors and scrubbing the tub burn calories. Make a goal to do some type of moving every day. Some days it may be going for a walk or getting work out in, some days it may be spending an hour weeding your garden. You are still moving, give your self some credit.
4. Start a Text group
I can’t take credit for this one. I got the idea from my sister. She and my niece and our cousin along with some friends started a text group to keep each other accountable for getting some sort of activity everyday. When you’ve done your activity, you text the group “moving done” Sure there is lots of other banter in the group but no competition of “oh I did 5000 push ups” or judgment, and lots of encouragement….lots of “good job” or “way to go” . And if someone is missing a few days, they will ask, “where is Sally? we haven’t heard from you lately” My sister has lost a ton of weight and looks fabulous and I think their text group really helped. In fact I think everyone in the group has lost weight. Find your self a few supportive friends who have similar goals to you and start a text group, you don’t even have to live close.
5. Make your goals small and reasonable in the beginning.
Losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks is not a realistic goal. How about take a 10 minute walk Monday, Wednesday and Friday before dinner. Achieving a goal feels satisfying even if its small, and motivates you to achieve more goals. However failure can be very discouraging, and lead you to say “screw it! I’m gonna eat the whole pack of Oreos!”
6 . If you fall off the wagon, get right back on.
What’s the saying? “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, just how many times you get up” This is true for fitness as well. You will skip work outs, you will eat junk, you may even put on 10 pounds when you just lost 5. But DON’T GIVE UP! I think this was one of the key things for me. I have been fat, I have been thin. But a year and a half ago I adopted a different mind-set. If I got away from eating healthy or went a week without working out, I just started up again. The key….not beating my self up for it. I considered my self a healthy person in my mind. I just happened to take a week off or eat some unhealthy stuff but it was time to get back to my healthy self. I think we are our own worst enemy in our heads. We are too critical of ourselves and not forgiving enough when we fall.
So there it is, 6 fitness tips for regular people, especially those just starting on a journey of fitness. Starting simple IS an option. Some people may be successful diving into an intense exercise program and eating plan. ( I hate the word diet by the way) But for some, that is intimidating. Small behavior changes over time can lead to bigger results.
Welcome! Let me tell you a bit about my self. My name is Katrina Wolf. I have worked in the field of physical therapy since 1997 and I truly love it. Over the years my passion has evolved. When I graduated from college I just wanted to help people but as I spent more time in the field I found my calling in working with older adults and neurological conditions. I find neuro-rehab fascinating, no two people are the same. I have spent the last 15+ years working in home health, which I find very rewarding. There is nothing quite like helping people maintain their independence in their own home. However, the time would come for discharge, patients no longer had “skilled need” they just needed to continue to exercise. Often physical therapy was finished but the patients weren’t! They wanted to continue to progress but were afraid or nervous about going it alone. They didn’t want to go to the gym or maybe even couldn’t get there. They didn’t want to do outpatient or maybe had finished out patient therapy. This is where Agewell Senior Fitness was born. I wanted to help these people! I had been on my own health and fitness journey and recently found my way back to making healthy lifestyle choices. Fitness had become my other passion. I wanted to meld the two. So I got my ACSM Personal Training Certification and started Agewell Senior Fitness. My goal is to work with people, older adults and/or people recovering from health issues or living with chronic conditions, and help them continue improving their quality of life after physical therapy has ended. “When Therapy Ends And Life Begins”