Move it to lose it

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Health
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Put on your workout clothes or just some comfortable clothes and stand up for some hints on how to lose weight or just get into better shape. 

I morphed from athlete into PE teacher into a masters degree in teaching PE and finally into personal trainer for about sixteen years.  I was never the flashy personal trainer with her own TV show, peppily working out with two gorgeous, ripped males on either side (drat!!) and Hawaii or the exotic location of your choice in the background.  But my clients’ fitness levels and knowledge improved.  My goal in all my manifestations of physical educator was to teach my students or clients to keep themselves in shape when I wasn’t around.  I didn’t object to them paying me to come each week.  But if I weren’t there, I wanted them to be able to be physically fit.  I wanted them to be physically educated.  And that’s my goal here.

I want you to take away one simple idea from this post.  To paraphrase…just do something…anything more than what you’re already doing and if you want to gild the lily, eat less (if you’re overweight), and better (no matter what your shape.)

How does this work?  With all the technology we have, it’s easy to blame our machines.  “I sit in front of the computer all day.”  “I like to watch TV at the end of a long day.”  “Playstation (Xbox, Wii) games relax me.”  Let’s try turning those excuses on their heads.  Let’s say that technology gives you more time to do other things.  How can we work with this as well as the business of being a parent, having to work, etc.?

Here are some easy ideas that are, however, effective.  Pick one or as many as you like.  Add some in the “comment” section so other people can use your ideas.  Just do something.  And start today.  As always, if you have a physical problem that means you can do some of these things, fine.  Do something else.  Just do something.  Regularly.

  •  Park as far away from your destination as possible and walk briskly to and from the store.
  • Walk to the store, post office, library, etc. or ride your bike.  Walk in the mall during the winter.  All the cool kids are doing it.
  • Put your laptop on a counter or piece of furniture high enough for you to stand while checking email and then stand. Tuck your tush under and pull your stomach in.  Balance on one foot.  Lift your legs (one at a time, of course) to the side to strengthen your thighs.  Balance on one foot and lower your body slightly, then raise it, strengthening another part of your thighs.
  • Walk in place while watching TV.  Jog in place while watching a movie (at home, naturally.)   Exercise your self-restraint by not eating as you walk in place watching TV.  Stand while killing the evil monsters in your PlayStation game.  I’ve watched my husband play, so I know you can use up energy even without trying!
  • Use the steps in your house as much as possible during the day.  Use the steps at work or wherever you are, rather than the elevator.  When you go up and down, go as lightly as possible and as quickly as possible.  Head up, stomach in.   Breathe deeply.
  • Walk to get your lunch instead of having it delivered.  This does NOT apply if it’s too far to walk or too dangerous.  Use common sense.  Running from a mugger is not the best exercise formula, although you may burn lots of calories.
  • Eat the lunch you brought to work outside and then walk for the rest of your lunch break.  It will give you a better attitude as well.  If it’s cold, eat inside, then bundle up and walk anyway.
  • Walk in the morning or evening, whatever your preference, with your spouse or a friend.  Talk.
  • Walk or bike with your child or children.  Go to the playground and play with them.  It’s never too early to start good habits.
  • While sitting, jiggle your leg.  As goofy as it sounds, this uses up energy and calories.
  • Look around your neighborhood and see what stores or services are within walking or biking distance, then walk or bike to them.
  • Garden or do your own yard work.  As a personal trainer, I found it ironic that the people who wanted my services were people who worked and paid others to do all the things around the house and yard that I did myself and that helped contribute to me being in shape.  I’m not criticizing them, just noting the irony.  By the same token, the more appliances you have to get more done in less time, the less calories you use and the more weight you can put on.  I’m not telling you to give up your appliances.  But be aware that the more calories you save by doing less, the more other things you have to do to lose those calories.
  • While you’re brushing your teeth, walk around the bathroom or in place.  Or use the time to work on balance exercises, such as simply balancing on one foot.  When you get good at that, try balancing with one foot in front of the other (on the floor, obviously), but be ready to catch yourself.  And when you’ve gotten that down, try it with your eyes closed.  DO NOT do this while brushing your teeth or doing anything else at first.  Be sure to have your hands near the counter or a wall, because this is surprisingly difficult to do.  But improving balance is a very valuable thing, especially as you get older.
  • If you have a dog, be the person who walks the dog and walk quickly.  In fact, whenever you go for a walk, walk as though you plan to get somewhere, not as if you’re walking to the guillotine.  Lift your head, look around (even if you’re listening to your iPod), walk briskly, swing your arms a bit.  Not long strides, just quick ones.  No leg or arm weights.  Just move along.
  • When the weather’s good, get outside and walk or bike.  Go to a nearby park and smell the roses while walking instead of stopping (although a quick stop-and-sniff is fine.)  Play on the playground, with or without kids.  Use the swings.  It’s fun!
  • If you’re talking on the phone (cordless or cell only, please), walk around.  Go up and down the stairs, do some calf raises and lunges; just do something.

That should be enough ideas to get you started.  Pick one or a few and get moving.  Then see what you can lose on the way to wherever you end up going.  Have a great time!

  1. Great post….in fact awesome post. As I have now reached the mid 50s age bracket everything is shifting and not where I want it to shift!! I have got to do something and this is just the post to get me motivated. I am on my way to Do Something!!

    • I’m so glad! If you have any other questions, please feel free to let me know. I plan to do some more blogs periodically on getting in shape for strength and for flexibility so stay tuned.

  2. thirdplan8 says:

    Here is an idea. Sometimes I take long showers and almost half of the time, I am just standing in the shower, loving the hot water. It feels good after a long day. But the problem was, I was taking to long of a shower. Not good, wasting water. So if I caught myself just standing there in the shower, I made my self do arm exercises. By just lifting your arm above you head and back down, then up, then down (you get the picture) you get exercise. It solved to problems. 1) getting at least a little bit of exercise in my life (but don’t worry, I do more. Sometimes there just isn’t a lot of time) and 2)It made me take shorter showers because I didn’t want to do arm exercises that much. But still, it is a good idea to do arm exercises and you can do it while watching tv or when you are walking, to boost the exercise you are already getting while walking. Supposedly, you get your heart pumping every time you lift your arms above your head. Supposedly.

  3. […] introductory post on fitness back in 2012 is “Move it to Lose It”. The “lose it” part doesn’t apply only to losing weight. Even if your weight is […]

  4. Marsha says:

    All of your fitness posts are great, Janet. You should be reposting some of these at various times. I think Terri does a Fitness Friday post, and you could link them there. This is good information to get out to people. You wrote it when you weren’t as well known, but it is great material. I’d like to link to this one, too. 🙂