Stop thinking big, and start thinking small. As summer closes to an end, it is time to think about how you will continue your exercise routine through the fall and winter. It is never too late to start a new activity and it is always a good idea to find new ways to use your body so you don t get bored with your routine.
I recently realized this when I had an errand to run. I needed to drop something off at a friend s house and I thought: I really don t need to take the car, I should ride my bike. The funny thing is I am conditioned to think that a bike ride needs to be twenty-five or more miles to be worthy of jumping onto the seat.
When I hopped on my bike and sped over to my friend s house (only about a mile and a half away) I realized how much fun it is to just ride a bike for leisure. I felt like a kid. Just riding fast, with a purpose: to get to my friend s house. Yet at the same time, I also realized how even a short jaunt is a great sprint workout. I rode there and back as fast as I could because I had to get back to work, so my body had a good workout, even though it was just minutes.
The lesson learned here is that small moves can lead to results when it comes to both fitness and weight loss; and they are worth it if you are strapped for time. Busy people simply don t always have time to spend an hour or two in a gym or on a thirty-mile bike ride. Fitting in what you can through the week will still help you get results.
Sure a longer, harder work out will promote quicker fat loss and more muscle tone, but for overall health, every little bit can help. Research has shown that short bouts of exercise throughout the day has the same benefit as one long bout, in both reducing blood pressure and weight. In addition, this approach may be quite doable for a lot of folks. So as you begin the new season, consider these ideas for fitting in useful exercise, in small segments, five days a week:
– Take a 10-15 minute walk before you get in the shower in the morning
– Take another 15 minute walk at lunch hour
– Walk or ride a bike to run your errands.
– Ride your bike to work (yes it may be uphill home, but that s a highly effective butt and quadriceps workout)
– Park in one spot downtown, then walk to all the places you have to go to.
– Sneak in some push-ups. Work up to doing 8-12 boys push-ups, adding 2 more each week (men typically can do more than women)
– Take 90 seconds to do a wall sit . Stand with your back against a wall, slide down the wall, with knees bent into sitting position. Hold for 20 seconds; work up to 90 seconds.
– Keep 5-10 pound hand weights at your desk. Do three sets of biceps curls, 8-12 reps each set, while you are on hold with the bank or utility company.
– Run sprints. Warm up with a slow jog for 5 minutes, run/walk the next 5-10 minutes, alternating 30-60 seconds between sprinting and walking. Do a cool-down jog for the last 5 minutes (total time: 15-20 minutes).
Mix things up and keep it fresh. Set small goals, and achieve them with ease. It will make you feel good to set a goal you can accomplish, and you will be on your way to better health, fitness and weight control.
Rust is a licensed, registered dietitian and nutrition coach who has a private practice in Meadville (www.rustnutrition.com). She is a licensed provider for Real Living Nutrition ServicesÆ and a nutrition instructor for Penn State s World Campus. For more information about her online weight loss counseling and nutrition coaching service, visit her Web page at www.rosannerust.com or contact her at Rosanne@rustnutrition.com.
©Rosanne Rust 2009