I’m working a specific theme for the blog this week – Get Physical Week! We’re 6 weeks into the new year and many people have already slacked off on their physical fitness goals. Now if you’re like me and live in the Northeast, weeks of snowstorms have made it difficult to keep up with workouts, but don’t let go of your goals just yet!
Spring and Summer are coming – and soon – and the desire to shed those outer layers will start to rise. I look forward to warmer weather much more now than I did before my weight loss surgery – shorts are no longer the enemy, and I’m working on taking swimsuits out of that category as well.
With that in mind, I’m going to publish posts this week that will help you stay on track toward your personal fitness goals or to get back on track and set new goals. Let’s tackle this week’s theme of Getting Physical!
You may have heard the expression – or even said it yourself – that your body is a temple. Since you only get one physical body in a lifetime, it’s a wise goal to strengthen and cherish the body you’ve been given. One way to do this is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Fitness experts suggest limiting the calories you consume daily in order to maintain a healthy weight. That’s easier to do when you are building muscle, which help you to burn as many calories as possible throughout your day. If you can’t consistently make it to the gym – winter snowstorms are a serious challenge – check out these easy ways to burn calories. Get your physician’s okay to exercise before beginning any fitness program or dietary changes.
- Stand up. If you have a job where you sit a lot or find yourself spending considerable time on the sofa, stand on your feet periodically throughout the day.
At work, there may be tasks you can do while standing.
Sorting documents, looking through files, reading reports, and making handwritten notes can all be done from a standing position. Some workplaces even offer standing desks at which you can do computer work.
Here’s an interesting tip to try at home: if you use a laptop computer and you have a raised counter/bar area, consider placing your laptop on the high counter and doing work while you stand.
Even if you’re only on your feet for 15 minutes at a time, the calories you burn will increase while you’re standing, and you can work up to standing for longer periods if you are starting slowly.
- Walk around. Something as simple as walking around rather than sitting burns calories. Think creatively to fit in more walking throughout your day.
For example, let’s say you work from your home office and sit at the computer all day. However, you occasionally receive phone calls on your cell phone or cordless home phone. Make it a point to walk around the house during phone calls. You can make this even easier by purchasing a headset that works with the phone you receive the majority of your calls on – be that a home or office phone.
Think about this: if you receive four phone calls during the day, each lasting 15 minutes, and you walk while talking, by the end of your work day you’ll have walked for an hour.
Although you’re not speed walking, you’re on your feet and moving, burning calories during your busy workday. You may also find that your conversations are better because moving while you are talking raises your energy level, and that comes through in your voice. You’ll sound more enthusiastic and excited during your conversations.
- Take the stairs. If you live or work in a building with stairs, consider taking the stairs to burn calories.
- Park farther from the door. If you take your car to work or to run errands, park far away from your destination, even if that just means the far end of the parking lot.
You can add several extra minutes of walking time simply by using this method everywhere you go.
Don’t underestimate the value of a 5-minute walk from your vehicle to the grocery store or your workplace and back. Those 5-minute walks add up to more calories burned.
- Get a pedometer. For some extra motivation to keep you moving, consider getting a good pedometer, which is a device that counts your steps.
If getting instant feedback motivates you, wearing a pedometer will drive you to burn more calories.
Fitness experts now recommend walking at least 10,000 steps per day.
Use your pedometer as a reminder to get up and move around more.
- Use exercise DVDs at home. Seek fitness DVDs you enjoy; otherwise you may not feel motivated to use them.
If you can’t squeeze in time to go to the gym, selecting an exercise DVD may be your perfect strategy to burn more calories. Many of them can be done in half an hour or less, or offer abridged versions of longer workouts.
Check out the exercise DVDs at your local library. Normally free of charge to use for a few days or a week, different library DVDs will help you decide which types of exercise DVDs you prefer. Once you determine your preferences, you might want to purchase your own DVDs to burn calories on a regular basis.
Alternately, keep cycling through the ones available from the library. This will keep your routine from getting stale.
Caring for your body is crucial to living fully. Let the simple strategies above work for you. After all, only you have the power to take steps to improve your most cherished “possessions:” your body and health.