The Richmond Register

January 6, 2014

The ā€˜eā€™ in exercise should stand for enjoyment

Plan realistic routine

By Dr. Jack Rutherford
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — You may have promised before and not followed through, so why not make this the year you step up your exercise game and get fit.

You know the reasons why — better health, longer life, lower stress — and so on. You also know benefits; still, you just can’t seem to stick with it. What gives?

One reason may be that your exercise routine isn’t realistic. It needs to not only nourish your body but also your soul.

If you are a night owl who plans to force yourself to wake up early and drive to the gym, think again. The chances are good that you’ll stay in your warm bed than venture out into cold.

On the other hand, if you and your partner promise to go ice skating or dancing once a week with some friends, you’ll likely have more fun — and stick with the program. The “e” in exercise should stand for enjoyment, not excruciating.

Perhaps another reason is that your schedule isn’t conducive to a regular daily workout program. Finding time to exercise can be a challenge, but where there is a will, there is a way. If you can’t take time to go to the gym, bring the gym to you.

Home treadmills and exercise cycles are relatively affordable these days and they allow you the convenience of working out in the comfort of your own home. Remember though, they are only effective if you use them. Many pieces of home exercise equipment sit collecting dust under beds and in closets.

Another option is to get more physical exercise into your daily schedule. Ride a bike to work. Get off the bus two stops early and walk the rest of the way to the office. Walk to the post office or bank. Have a walking meeting while on your cellphone. Create a treadmill desk or deskercycle.

At home, walk the dog or alongside your child who is slowly riding a bike. Find an exercise buddy and enjoy a brisk walk “n” talk. Ride your bike through the neighborhood.

Don’t forget your diet. It has a lot to do with getting fit and staying healthy. Avoid under-eating at breakfast and lunch, only to overindulge at night.

Experiment with front-loading your calories during the early part of the day and observe the benefits: more energy, less hunger, fewer snack attacks, and more productivity. You’ll be able to eat a smaller dinner and create a caloric deficit at night so that when you sleep, you can lose weight.

Most of us have busy lifestyles, but if you want it bad enough, you’ll set the alarm on your cellphone, stop what you’re doing when the alarm goes off, and get started on your exercise routine.

Resolve to get fit in 2014.