We have all been there. We have worked so hard to get fit, eating all of the “right” foods, and yet, we still feel like we aren’t really “there” yet. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, my first foray into fitness was, like so many Americans, through running. The research told us the harder you worked and the further you run, the more you will love how you look. So, I ran and ran and ran…
I’ve watched countless women do the same… even today. Maybe the exercise they believe that will do it for them is spin, or bootcamp, tennis, or any of the many options we have at our sweaty fingertips these days. Yet, the point is the same. The harder you work, the better your body will look, the more confident you’ll feel in your clothes, the better you will do in life. Really.
Now, as a menopausal woman in my mid 50s, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve followed every trend from bootcamp, running, Tae Bo, spinning, Crossfit, HIIT training, Kettlebells, gymnastics, and many more. I even played competitive tennis through high school into college. All of these, and more, are at our fortunate disposal right here in Alexandria. How blessed are we? While all of these and the other ways we choose to “workout” are fantastic choices, my three rules below do not include them. After spending over half of my lifetime trying everything under the sun to “get fit,” I can now tell you with confidence it is not what you do, it is most important how you do it and how consistent you are about your choice.
The most important factor as someone who is as fit as I’ve ever been is below.
Move throughout the day. Do not rely solely on your “workout.” You will end up frustrated because the one hour you spent didn’t give you that body you so crave. You won’t get it that way. I am sorry. To get fit and safely fit, moving throughout the day will trump any killer morning, midday, or evening “workout.” Not only will you “burn” more, your body will appreciate the sunshine, the consistency of moving how she wants to move (not sit all day). I highly recommend “practicing” skills you want to improve for your morning/midday/evening exercise like any athlete trains for their sport. Practice them throughout the day. Maybe work on some rotational drills between zoom calls to improve your tennis game. Practice the squat if you are into Crossfit or another strength training method. Work on your foot strength if you are a runner. Practice handwork if you are a gymnast. The options are limitless. You can choose to practice the skills that will make you even better at your chosen method(s) of exercise. Athletes train. Athletes practice. Athletes do not “workout.”
Get in your steps. Don’t worry about the 10,000. Instead, think about walking for 30 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be all at the same time. Yet, 30 minutes will get you upright, stretching out your legs, hips, neck, back, and give your brain that gravity fighting love it feels from its primal function – walking! Going to run errands? Park at the furthest spot. Got a break between meetings? Spend half of your break walking around the block. Always take the opportunity to get out of your car and walk 25 steps before you walk toward your destination. Every little bit adds up!
Get to your know your body and how it responds to a variety of exercise. As humans, we were not meant to not only sit most of the day – we weren’t meant to move in only one way. Therefore, move your body in a variety of ways, trying one to two types of exercises you like. If it is Zumba, do Zumba. If it is Tai Chi, do Tai Chi. If it’s bootcamp, more power to you. Just try a variety and make sure you are having fun doing them, or chances are you will not stick to them.
Don’t box yourself into one way. Try a new exercise method. See how your body responds. Honestly, one of my goals is to literally be able to play any sport, from gymnastics to strength training to bowling, with confidence. When we tend to do choose one way, our body gets used to that one way and can result in Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), something none of us wants. There are so many ways we can choose to approach our fitness! Often times we make things much more complicated than they need to be. These strategies are not only simple, they work!
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