10 ways you are exercising without really knowing it.
Does the thought of going to the gym or running 5k every morning give you a thrill? If you are like me it does the complete opposite. When I feel like I must do something, it tends to lose its appeal. We all know we should exercise and we are surrounded with pictures of beautiful, toned bodies telling us to join a gym, do yoga, run, walk. All of them have one thing in common (other the beautiful toned bodies!) and that is you should designate time and commit to a schedule. And if you are an introvert, like me, the sheer thought of having to be in a gym with those beautiful hard bodies is enough to make me never want to exercise again!
Even if I wanted to commit to a schedule, I would find it difficult to find time. This might sound like an excuse, after all if you really want to do something you find the time – right? Sometimes easier said than done. So what if you can combine exercise into your every day routines and actually, possibly, amazingly even enjoy it?
Start by Just Moving
Exercise is all about moving. Now if you are looking to run a marathon or take part in the Olympics then clearly you need to commit to a more serious schedule. But for us regular men and women, trying to hold down jobs, raise kids, run the home and perhaps have a few nights out, we just want to know we are doing something to exercise and be healthy
The most important part of exercising is to actually start doing it. The hardest part about anything is starting but what you don’t realise is that there is a very good chance you are already exercising. Check out the list below to see what you are doing already that counts as exercise.
- Sex – this does not mean you should go and have random sex instead of going to the gym. But if you are in a relationship, sex can be a fantastic sense of exercise. Your heart rate increases, depending on positions your muscles are engaged and often held for periods of time. Experiment with different positions and remember to tighten those abs and glutes. Not only will you look sexy you will be toning too.
- Housework – the bending , reaching, pushing (vacuum) all stretch and tone your body. You can increase the benefit by engaging your muscles as you work. If you keep doing this, it becomes habit and before long, you will feel like you have done a work out and the house will be clean.
- Walking the dog – walking is a great form of exercise especially when outside in the fresh air. Be mindful when you walk– take steady deep breaths, walk purposefully at a steady pace.
- Cooking – whilst not overly vigorous, chopping vegetable, stirring ingredients (with a spoon not an electric mixer!) lifting dishes in and out of the oven all contributes to exercise.
- Washing dishes – scrubbing those pots and pans clean uses those arm muscles. Putting them away? Watch how you bend to reaching to the drawer or cupboard, do a squat instead of just leaning down. Use strong arms when reaching to put dishes away up high.
- Shopping – yes it really is exercise. Going store to store, carrying bags all is exercise. Now you really do have a good reason to go shopping.
- Dancing – Dance like there is no one watching. Out with friends or home alone (my preference!) Put on your favourite tunes and let go. No judgement, no rules, just dance. Your metabolism will increase real quick and before you know it you’ll be sweating and best of all – smiling.
- Washing the car – bending, stretching, reaching. All over body workout which will save you money too.
- Shovelling Snow/cutting grass – depending on where you live you may do one or both. The weight of snow on a shovel is an intense workout for your arms, just remember to look out for your back. Using the lawn mower, walking up and down whilst breathing in fresh and hopefully warm air is a great way to get that metabolism going.
- Laundry – loading and emptying the washer and dryer. Hanging up laundry and ironing, all uses muscles.
You’re already exercising – now just improve on it
From this list I am sure you can pick several you already do. Congratulations you are already exercising. This is a start and a great one. You can enhance all of the above by being conscious of the activities you are doing. Engage your muscles, use strong arms and legs. Once you start to look at what you are doing as exercise and contributing to your health, you will start to notice a difference. With that difference comes a sense of pride, a sense of confidence and a feeling of wanting to do more. This doesn’t mean you will want to go out and buy that gym membership. But it might mean you might start to seek out and experiment with other activities that give you that same feeling. This might be more walking, with headphones on, listening to your favourite music. It might be Zumba because you love to dance. Or you might even try a class or do an exercise video at home.
Exercise needs to be fun and needs to fit with your life. If you dread going to a class or the gym – stop. Not only are you wasting your money, but your time. Life is too short to waste time. It does not have to be structured, every day. If you just start to move and build on that, one day at a time. Be healthy, be mindful and make the most of the exercise you are already doing.
Till next time – JJ