When I joined the military immediately out of high school, I knew push-ups, running and marching would be in my future. I tried to prepare myself by running a mile or two from time to time before I left for Basic Training. The only thing my “preparation” did was reinforce the fact that I’d rather have a root canal without Novocaine than run. Truly!! Thinking back on my years in the military, I can honestly say that the worst part for me was the physical requirement.
Hate is a strong word. But, I HATE to workout. I am definitely not one of those women who says “sometimes I just need to go for a jog.” Or, “working out helps me clear my head.” Not me!! The only thing that clears my mind is nap!
Now that I’m over 40, staying fit is more than just worrying about gaining or losing weight. I care about what I look like, but I need to get “moving” for my heart, my hormones, and my mood. Read more here. I need to stay in shape now even more than I did 20 years ago. And, don’t even get me started on my metabolism. I remember the “old days” when I could over-indulge on the weekend. Then, on Monday, all I needed to do was drink a ton of water and eat a salad or two and POOF 5 lbs would fall right off. Those were the days!!
So, what can you do when you know you need to stay in shape, you want to be fit, but don’t want to join a gym? Here are a few of my favorite tips for staying fit when you hate to workout.
- First and foremost, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or shame you into doing a workout routine you hate. Exercise and movement are important, especially as we age. But, do it for you. Your body will thank you and you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
- Do what you enjoy when it comes to exercise, just try to do more of it. I hate to run. Have I mentioned that already? But, I enjoy a good walk. Most of the time we make it a family event and even bring the dogs. We actually walk more in our neighborhood in the fall and winter than in the summer. Southern summers can be brutal and I hate to sweat. We really enjoy getting out of the house when the weather is a bit cooler. Especially after all the “not so healthy” holiday foods we usually eat.
- Find an “extra activity” to enjoy. Our extra activity is bike riding. Our daughter loves it when we all ride bikes together. If that’s not an option for you, try a stationary bike. I’ve seen used bikes for sale at secondhand sporting good stores. You can watch your DVR and ride at the same time. Bonus! Maybe there’s an indoor pool in your community, bowling or even skating. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to work out or move your body. Just make it a focus to find a different physical activity occasionally.
- Take extra steps. When you go to the grocery store or the mall, park as far away from the store as possible. It all counts, especially when the sun is out. The vitamin D will help you stay healthy also. (read more about the sun, SPF, and vitamin D here)
- Develop an easy workout you can do anywhere. When I do work out, I do it at home. My goal is 3 times a week. My exercises require either small weights (5-10 lbs) or no equipment at all. I do things that use my body strength (plank, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc.). That makes it easier to continue no matter where I am.
- Fit it in when you can. I do extra things all the time. I’m constantly doing squats throughout the day. Most mornings I do at least 3 sets of push-ups or the plank 3 times (60 seconds each time). You’d be surprised at what a difference those two exercises can make for your body.
Does it all happen for me in the same week? Nope!! But, I try to do as much as I can, as often as I can.
The idea is to make staying fit a priority even if you’re not ready to run a marathon or try out for Olympics. Just focus on getting moving as often as possible and do it for you and your health, not anyone else.
For more great tips to help you look and feel your best,