Keeping or Getting Fit

All of the over-indulgence associated with the holidays at this time of year makes me think of weight gain and working out. For ages my New Year’s resolution every January 1st was to get more exercise. That always lasted about a month at best, but I have gotten better recently. For one thing, I finally realized that the whole three times a week idea simply did not work for me. I was always changing my schedule and found some way to put off exercising. My latest thing is to plan for at least some kind of physical activity every single day. Now, don’t get me wrong…this is not two hours of hard labor at the gym that I am referring to. A mere twenty to thirty minutes of activity with a cardio component is sufficient in my mind.

By far, the top Cheapo way to keep fit is by walking. A comfortable pair of shoes is all the “equipment” that is necessary and you don’t have to become a member of a gym to get the job done. When it’s warm out, there’s nothing more invigorating and beautiful than a fast-paced walk along the river, the canal, the bike path, or even in town. During the cold weather one can bundle up for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood. I knew someone in Vermont who would go out every night after dinner, even if it was snowing, to get some exercise. If you have the time, you could also join the mall walkers, which is not bad at all. There are people and things to look at which makes the time go by fast and at one of the larger shopping centers you can get in your time without retracing your steps.

What I like best in a walk is to have a purpose to it, a destination. The problem here in the United States is that very few suburban areas have sidewalks, which can make getting to the local pharmacy, for example, a traumatic experience. In Europe, of course, people walk all the time. I remember going out with our children on a Saturday the year we spent in Lyon and not thinking twice about walking for three hours downtown. Trying to walk to a near-by supermarket upon our return to the States nearly got us all run over! Sometimes my husband and I create destination walks on the weekend. If we have to go to the bank, say, we plan an itinerary, park the car in an urban area, and walk the round-trip. You can get creative with this and see new sections of the city while getting in your exercise and doing your body some good.

Naturally, as with any type of activity, boredom is the enemy here. What I like least about working out is if I have to go round and round in a limited area like the gym. Even having a partner to talk to doesn’t really make up for the inherent monotony of this type of exercise. With a little imagination, I have found, I can work out, feel more relaxed, and sleep better as a result.

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Lisa M. Nolan said...

Jayne, I was thinking just THIS on the way to the gym today, and I was happily remembering walking around Madrid and never once being worried that I needed to get on a treadmill.

Mme Boisvert said...

We're on the same wave-length!

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