I don’t own a Fitbit but I am interested in the number of steps I take daily. The powers that be suggest a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Depending where you live that could be a daunting number or your mid-day count. I moved from the remote little town of Saint Mary’s GA to the pedestrian friendly city of Charleston SC. I worked out and ran while in Saint Mary’s GA and usually hit 9,000 steps give or take 1,000. Now, living in an urban area within walking distance of all things I need, I am hitting about 20,000 steps per day. I walk to the grocery store, the yoga studio, restaurants in the area on top of runs or other workouts I complete in a day.
It is said that European women are often thinner due to their activity levels. But I think this is really comparing city living to suburban living. When I visited London and Paris recently, my husband and I averaged about 20,000 steps a day. We walked everywhere, toured museums, historical sites, etc. It was great exercise. I would imagine if we visited more remote towns we would have driven more and walked less. I really think this is a city vs suburban living issue. When I lived in a suburban area, all I could do in my neighborhood was walk for exercise on the paths near my house or walk the dogs. The neighborhood clubhouse (pool and gym) was 2 ½ miles away and the grocery store was a 10-minute drive. It would take me 90 minutes round trip to walk to the gym. I can’t imagine how many hours it would take walking to the grocery store and back.
Living in such a remote area left us thirsty for pedestrian friendly living. We are very excited that we can walk wherever we want and driving is only for getting to work or running errands outside the area. I’m very thankful for this change in activity. I know that not everyone can change where they live. I also believe that there is an unfair advantage for those who cannot walk to all their daily activities. It’s so easy to get in my steps and multiply it by 2 and that is all due to living in a pedestrian friendly area. So what do you do to get in your steps???
Why do we wait for Monday to start things? Why can we not make a commitment to change something, anything, and it start that day or the very next morning (for those late day revelations)? What does a clean week have to do with anything? Life is not set up in nice organized rows stacked on top of each other. It’s a long line with one day after another. Seems to me that if you want something or you know you need something, that starting or making those changes are necessary now vs later. Monday is not a special day. Now is the moment. You are motivated now, you made your declaration, so waiting seems counterproductive. Makes me wonder if there is a bigger issue. Do we really want these changes? Are we saying what we think others want to hear? If you have been saying you want something, anything, any change, adding or deleting something from your day or life. Do it the minute you state it. Feel the power of acting on your proclamation. It’s a great feeling! Yes, there is fear, but use it to propel you not stop you.
I am an action person. I do not hear others state a proclamation and not hear their excuses too. Excuses are just that…excuses. They are not reasons for not doing something, they are just excuses for not acting. Other forces in this world are not keeping you from your goals, you are. You and your excuses.
Think about what you have been wanting to change for a while. Just one, you can think about all of them, but land on one. Now take it and act. No excuses. You want something, then make it happen. Only you can do this. Only you can make a change. If you came up with even one excuse, then you need to work around it. The rest are just excuses.
Don’t have the time? Make time: get up earlier, skip the tv time, do short burst of moves instead of one long workout.
Don’t have the money? Walking, running, jumping jacks and other body weight movements are free. There are countless videos and Pinterest workouts, also free.
Too old? No such thing. In fact, there is no person too old to exercise. Walking, water walking, chair yoga, etc.
Kids keep you from it? Oh, this just an excuse because there are countless moves that can be done with kids either holding, keeping them close or with them joining in.
Back hurts? There are plenty of moves that help the back. Also, plenty of back friendly workout plans, no one said you had to squat your body weight or start running. Yoga, Pilates, stretching, Thai Chi, etc.
Too overweight? Pounds are never an excuse. You need to start slower, consider walking, swimming, etc.
Already thin? Weight is not the only reason to workout. Health is why one should exercise. You can be thin and unhealthy just as you can be overweight and healthy. Thin does not equal health
No more excuses, act!
I think everyone should ditch the old way of doing New Year’s Resolutions. I think you should instead incorporate a monthly ‘promise’.
Here is how it would work: Each month you have a promise. It can be anything you want…walk the dog more, exercise 3 times per week, go meatless during the week, start meditation, eat or drink less of something, etc. Any change you feel your life needs. And I wouldn’t even plot out each month in advance, just make a list of changes you want to see for yourself. Before each month starts, pick a promise and write out realistically how you can incorporate it during the month. You are only promising to do what you picked for that one month. Towards the end of the month note what worked and what didn’t and decide if it’s something worth keeping in your life. If it is something that worked, then keep it, tweak it and decide how it works going forward. If it didn’t work, ditch it or even come up with a different promise for the list, especially if it was a change you really wanted. The idea is that you set these goals in smaller bite sized pieces and in a short time frame that has a very visible end. There are twelve months in the year and plenty of time to start new habits. I have even ‘revisited’ one month’s plan later in the year with a new plan for that same promise as I too have my struggles. But I wouldn’t do it two months in a row unless you think that is how you operate best.
Each month you do repeat the process. Pick a promise, make a plan and you have that one month to execute it. Each month is a fresh slate, each month can be the determining factor for what you pick off your list. If a months’ promise worked, then leave it as a regular part of your life. If not, pat yourself on the back for making the attempt or trying something new. The idea is that you have these experiences and they are more pleasant and rewarding.
Happiest and Healthiest New Year to you!
I saw this quote “I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this old before” and I knew it was my new personal motto. When I was very young and people asked me to imagine myself at age 30, 40, 50, 60, etc, I pictured a much older, sedentary and somewhat sad version of myself. As a young trainer in my 20’s I even purchased the book ‘Fit Over Forty’ on training the over 40 crowd so I wouldn’t make any mistakes with an older clientele. I was really trying to be a great trainer and yes I still have that book. To be honest, it was a great tool and has excellent tips and I use so many of the moves on clients of all ages. So if you ever trained with me or see this book and note moves that I had you do and you were not over 40…they are just good moves!
But here I am seeking to be ‘fit over forty’ and will tell you that I find myself somewhat at odds with the world around me. Pictures of healthy ‘older adults’ are walking with big smiles and big sweeping arms while most runners are really young. Yikes a little stereotypical since I know plenty of over 40 runners.
I remember when I had some minor surgery a few years ago, the doctor told me I could start exercising again. I asked for clarity because at the time I was doing crossfit and power yoga. He told me I could walk. I told him that was my usual and daily form of transportation from point A to point B and did not count as exercise in my book. He wasn’t sure how to answer me and told me that I was only allowed to walk for exercise. Ok, I mean I had been walking all over the place up to that point but now I guess I could walk more.
More recently I visited a hand specialist to help me with my grip strength. I dislocated a finger and it was causing problems long after it should have. He asked if it impeded daily activity. I told him I couldn’t do pull ups or hold heavy weights because of my grip strength. His answer was and I quote “well you are 46 and shouldn’t be lifting so much weight”. I was shocked! Flabbergasted! Gobsmacked! What?!? I explained that I was a trainer and that I hoped to live to 90 and didn’t really want to hear that I should give up half way there. He was clearly aggravated with me and just wrapped up our appointment.
Is this how the world sees us over 40 folks? Start winding down? I mean I feel so young and healthy and yes my body doesn’t ‘bounce back’ like it used to but come on! If I give up I will become that sedentary sad old person I falsely envisioned back when I was a teenager. So I guess we need to redefine 40-year-old behavior, 50-year-old behavior… Because I’m not done, I’m just getting ready for round ’four’ in life and plan to be fit for rounds 5, 6, 7 and beyond. So yes, I do not know how to act my age…this is my first time being here but know one thing…I do not want others to define it for me.