Shape up!

Posted: January 3, 2015 in Health
Tags: , , , , , ,

At the start of a new year and after several holidays in a row, a young man’s (or most likely, woman’s) fancy turns not toward love, but towards losing weight and getting in shape.  New Year’s resolutions often include one or both of these goals, goals that often fall by the wayside after either never starting or never finishing.

I want to encourage you to make this the year you DO get in shape.  You don’t need to become a triathlete or power lifter.  Start simply and build on your success.  One building block of getting into shape is, of course, eating healthily and in moderation.  People make many different choices about what sort of eating plan to use.  But getting into shape is less daunting than trying to decide how you want to eat.

Before I started participating in the Weekly Photo Challenge, I did a few Fitness Friday posts.  I’m going to share the links with you and guarantee that if you follow the advice, your health and fitness will improve without any huge financial investment and without any special programs.  Just so you know, my background is in PE and I ran my own personal training business for 16 years.  Feel better?  🙂

There are three kinds of fitness:  aerobic (fitness of the heart and lungs), strength (muscular fitness), and flexibility (range of motion for joints).  You want to improve all three.  Heart fitness has obvious benefits.  Better strength means your muscles support your body more easily, help blood move through the arteries and veins, help you have better posture, let you do more things easily, while muscle takes up less room than fat and burns calories.  Fat is stored calories; muscle is a calorie-burner.  Most women actually care less what the number on the scale says than how they look.  Flexibility allows you to move more easily and to get injured less easily.

Although the title of my first article, “Get in shape while watching TV” is a bit tongue-in-cheek, it has the advice you need to begin improving your fitness easily and even without going outdoors if the weather’s bad.  You only need a good pair of athletic shoes and socks (but wear clothes as well!)

The next article shows you how to use the push-up to improve muscle strength without using weights.  Don’t panic!  Anyone at any level of fitness can do a push-up of some sort, as you’ll see when you read the article.  Push-ups are great for more than just your arms, but fit arms not only look good, they help you every day in every way.

Balance is an important skill that few people work to improve, but one that provides many benefits, especially as you grow older.  I show you some simple ways to improve balance ways you can even use while brushing your teeth, two benefits in one.

Take a look at these three articles and get started on getting into shape during 2015.  I’ll have more advice for you later, but this will get you moving and improving.  Questions?  Just put them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.  I’ll be doing more fitness posts throughout the year.

Here’s to making 2015 a year of health and fitness!

  1. Madoqua says:

    Excellent post… I will await your subsequent advice with interest!

    • Sounds like a deal. In the meantime, start getting in shape if you already aren’t. 🙂


      • Madoqua says:

        Definitely one of my New Year resolutions. Actually it was an Old Year resolution carried forward to after Christmas!

      • Never too late to start and the beginning of the year is the perfect time to start new habits. Just make a plan, start slowly, keep track of what you’re doing, and enjoy your accomplishments Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do everything you planned every day. Just get back on track and you’ll see the improvements.


  2. I’ll check out those posts. I’m walking an hour a day and giving up alcohol for a whole month – wish me luck:-)

    • Great start! Don’t kick yourself if you don’t meet these goals every day, just get back on the routine. I walk every weekday morning in a nearby park, giving me exercise and my nature fix at the same time. I may miss a bit next week since the prediction is for as low as -25F!! But I’ll be lifting weights and doing my indoor jogging. Alcohol has a lot of calories, so that’s a good thing to give up, but in a subsequent post, I’ll write about the thing to give up that can make all the difference, both in weight and in health. Let me know how your program goes.


      • I’ve set myself a realistic goal and Smelly Dog has cottoned on to the hour of walk, and is being very insistant every day. I’ve put the scales away, because weigh loss isn’t my goal – it’s just an attempt to see if I still have the same willpower I had before.

      • The dog-walking weight loss program is a good one–for both man (or woman) and beast. 🙂

  3. ledrakenoir says:

    Yeah every year at the first days of january we see all those who in common with a bottle of champagne on New Years Eve have decided turning into a more healty attitude – some keep on a few days others a few weeks – but some actually still do it at the end of january – not a single “bad” word about any of them … 😀

    I do as I use to do myself – take care about my living through the year – because I want to see my penis when I look down, and not just my stomach… 😀

    But I believe it’s a very good idea, taking care about our own healty… 🙂

    • As you say, taking care of our health needs to be year-round, Drake. Hopefully people reading the articles will just get started and find out it’s not all that hard. It’s not a matter of whether or not you live longer, either, but the quality of life while you’re alive!


  4. susipet says:

    All good suggestions!

  5. I’m in the diet boat too :o) what a fabulous timing for this post. Easy would like to get in shape while watching TV but I’m afraid we have to walk some miles for our goal (but maybe we could take a portable TV with us :o)

    • That Easy!! I prefer walking outside so I can get my nature fix, but if the weather’s bad, the indoor jogging is a good place to start. Next week I may be doing it myself, as the prediction is for as low as -25F (-31+ C) and that’s without wind chill, which we often have in the Chicago area! The pushups and balancing are good for everyone at every level of fitness. One good thing about having a dog is that it get you out and walking, at least it should. When we had our foster dogs, I was sometime the only person out on a cold winter day, but we walked a lot and it was great.


  6. Dear Janet,

    This is why I have an elliptical in front of my TV. The old thing’s falling apart but still gets the job done.

    Here’s to a healthy and fit 2015. I raise my Sauvignon Blanc (in moderation of course) and wish you shalom in the coming year.


  7. JustJan says:

    I am one with a dog, but some days he doesn’t want to walk, till we get going then he loves it. Then it is good to do some lifts with weights. But, if you just start out a little at a time and add on, it ends up being fun and not work….well, at least to me.

    • Jan, when I’m walking regularly and lifting three days a week, I feel great, all other benefits aside. Starting slowly and manageably, then adding on a bit at a time, is the formula for success. I plan to talk more about weights and things as the year progresses. Thanks for commenting and enjoy those dog walks!


  8. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but it sure isn’t a bad idea to shape up. I love the way that you frame it that way, too- Not just to lose weight, gain muscle, etc, etc, but just to get fit. That I can get behind!

    • Even if someone doesn’t want to lose weight, they need to get in shape. And there are girls and young women who need to develop some muscle! The models you see often have no muscle definition at all; they’re just skinny with big chests. 🙂 Getting fit improves your quality of life and your attitude, as the endorphins produced are a natural high.


  9. We are off to our regular Sunday Boot Camp tomorrow. Did a two and a half hour Gym Master Class on New Year’s Day. Exercise definitely makes one feel good. 😃

  10. Steve says:

    What’s your advice for someone who can’t even walk up a very small hill without almost passing out? Lol

    • Walk as far as you can with just a little more effort than usual, walk for 15-30 minutes if you can, then when that becomes fairly easy, walk a little faster and a little longer. Keep upping the speed and distance as you get better. 🙂 Don’t compare to anyone else, just push yourself slightly and keep working from there

      Same thing with pushups or any other strength exercise. Start at whatever level you can, increasing number of pushups and increasing the difficulty by choosing negatives, knee push-ups, or regular ones as you improve. As Nike says, just do it!


  11. Helen C says:

    Hello, Janet, I wish I’ve read this earlier… just paid $25 to get the same info 😉 Thank you so much! I am going to read those 3 articles now. Helen

  12. Great stuff posted here, Janet. I will take a look at your suggestions, but already I like the one about balance. It is vital to maintain that as we get older and one of the things we lose first as we age.

    • You’re right, Amanda. Balance is too often ignored but it’s really simple to improve. I love being able to tie my shoe without bending over or sitting, but by bringing my leg up high enough to do it. 🙂


      • Already I find this difficult ( bringing the leg up) although I practise my balance in other ways every day, so this is definitely something I can work on.

      • I was amazed at how difficult it was to keep my balance with my eyes closed, especially with one foot in front of the other. But that improves, too, and working on balance is well worth the slight effort.

  13. I, like half the rest of the world, need to work on getting in better shape! I look forward to your articles. I was always athletic and, in fact, started as a PE major in college. But back when I was in it, the college counselor told me unless I wanted to teach high school, there was no future in it. You see, it was pre the aerobics epidemic! HA! I coulda been a contender! 😀

    • I taught high school, then worked at a health club, and finally had my own little personal training business for 16 years. So it worked out for me and since I always wanted to teach, it was perfect. I ended up also homeschooling our girls through high school, so I used both PE and teaching.


  14. fazriniayu64 says:

    hi i m new subscriber becuase of this thread~!! hihi

    • I see you have a new blog. All the best with it. I hope you enjoy my blog, even though I don’t do health posts most of the time, just a mix of writing and photography.


  15. […] Shape up identifies the three types of physical fitness in case you want to refresh your memory or find out what they are. It’s short, to-the-point and has a bit of humor as well. One thing I want to add for you women is something I shared with my personal training clients, about 3/4 of whom were women. Although women tend to say they want to lose weight, what they really want is to have a better shape and look better. When you start working out, especially if you use weights, your shape will change and maybe your weight as well, but even if your weight doesn’t change dramatically, you’ll look and feel much better and be healthier. What’s not to like? […]