It has been super difficult to get back into a regular workout routine for me. I could probably write a whole series around personal health and the pandemic because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one making the “Covid 20” joke these days. Fitness is very personal. Some of us want to get our beach body back now that we’re easing into spring. Others may have gotten some bad news about cholesterol, heart health, diabetes, or blood pressure. Some of us have developed depression over the last two years. Whatever the reason for getting back into a healthy and achievable workout routine, I think it’s very important to ease into it, so you don’t give up.
12-3-30 on a Treadmill
If you’re a TikToker, you may have seen this workout. If not, it sounds pretty easy, but it’s not for some of us. This 30 minute workout was created by Lauren Giraldo in 2019, and she attributes it to a significant weight loss. Her workout is simple. Set the treadmill at a 12 degree incline, walk at 3 mph for 30 minutes.
Here’s my first tip from a skeptic (me) – Just exercising won’t peel 30 pounds off your body. There’s a diet shift at work, too. Just know that.
Skeptic tip #2 – As easy as a nice walk sounds, 3 mph is faster than you think, and a 12 degree incline is going to be a leg burner for beginners. I found some good advice about this workout on Everydayhealth.com. The TLDR is positive, but it comes with some good advice and information. In short, take it slow, but yes. It works.
In Search of a Stationary Bike Alternative
I am not a runner. Ever. I do enjoy hiking, but my left knee fights back. Therefore, I bought myself a stationary bike. It’s not a Peloton because I will not spend that kind of money on an activity that belongs on a bike trail. My indoor substitute is a $250 spinner that I have to manually adjust the resistance as I spin. I am OK with that. My problem with this kind of workout is I tend to get lazy and just set the resistance to something I think I can manage for 30 minutes and never change it.
When you take a bike ride outside, you have to mange inclines, declines, stops and starts. You’re riding in intervals. Health.com offers a variety of stationary bike workouts for all levels of fitness. These seven workouts allow you to grow into as much of a challenge as you can manage.
A Commitment to Health
Boy howdy. “Commitment to Health” sounds suspicious in a lot of ways. It sounds like a multi-level marketing scheme that you’ll get so excited about only to find you can’t achieve the promised goal. Here’s the difference, the only person who wins when you win at health is you. Not your toothy neighbor with the new RV.
I’ve linked to a couple of reasonable exercise options because both allow for individuality. We all need cardiovascular exercises, but food matters, too. In the USA, we have a pretty bad general diet. Yes, some of us eat grass and air religiously (I mean, how else does your 55 year old best friend look so amazing). But most of us sneak in the cookies, chips, and queso more than we admit. In my case, I’ll come clean right here and say that I am not sneaking it. I am openly and shamelessly eating things I shouldn’t. Yeah. I’m sloppy about my health these days. I’m not my super fit 45 year old self anymore. So how do I get back to that way of living?
Commitment to myself. I’m more likely to work out regularly than to say “no” to ice cream, and that’s where I will start. What has always worked well for me is to make my workout part of my “job.” I do it immediately after work. As I get more “fit” I get more motivated. I slowly increase my workout, and in turn, my energy levels rise, my mood lightens, and I feel ready to take on new challenges. Food is harder for me. I don’t eat bad. I don’t eat fast food if I can help it. I eat fresh vegetables and fruit. I don’t drink soda very often. If someone puts a vegan chili in front of me, I will eat it with gusto. So that’s the nugget for me. I like healthy food, so I can survive on healthy food. It’s a mindset.
Don’t Forget About Muscles and Bones
Some kind of resistance training and stretching is actually a great way to lose weight. Muscle mass burns more calories. Stretching loosens up those ligaments and gets the energy flowing in your body. If you work from home, and you have the space, throw down a yoga mat, and make a few stretches and downward dogs your 15 minute break a few times a day. Crunches, leg lifts, planks, and even the dreaded pushups will make a difference. And don’t forget to breathe.
I found this great video for a chair workout. This is good for all levels of ability and fitness. Donovan Green makes the chair workout into a beast. But what’s nice about it, is you can slow it down and make it your own. He reassure those who can’t keep up that it’s ok. Do your best! He even encourages you to curse him out if you want. So here’s to variety and accessibility in fitness and health!