Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Lazy Person's Guide to Keeping Fit

Let's just begin with the fact that I am in inherently lazy person who has always hated playing sport, always came last in P.E. in school, and over the years has planned to do about 100 different exercises "regimens" I found in magazines and online only to never actually do them. I never really enjoyed exercise, and will procrastinate from doing almost anything (even posting a letter, I kid you not.)

Therefore, if you're a person like me, with whom sheer willpower and "just doing it" simply do not work when it comes to going to the gym, then here is what I have learnt along the way:

You have to find something that you enjoy doing and which also happens to be exercise. 
I've always enjoyed dancing. Recently I was at a party where we played "Just Dance" on Wii, and it was so fun! But I was sweating afterwards as well - so buying it for myself to play at home was a no-brainer. I've also bought Zumba DVDs and downloaded dancing workouts online which I do occasionally but not so often it becomes boring.

I've always enjoyed walking to clear my head, revel in nature and see the happiness it brings my dog so that part is easy. If you find walking boring, use an ipod or get a friend to come with you.

If you enjoy swimming a few laps occasionally, playing tennis now and then, or riding a bike on the weekends, then all those things done at leisure really add up as well.

Do housework.
Seriously: vacuuming, scrubbing the shower, doing the laundry and tidying up are all full body exercises. If you did half an hour a day you would not only have a ridiculously clean house but be adding in some extra incidental activity as well - not to mention that it is very therapeutic!

Save the boring resistance exercises for after your enjoyable activities. 
I really do not enjoy doing squats and pushups and weight lifting but I know that it is important for my health and fitness and bone strength. Sigh. I've never been a gym bunny, I can never motivate myself to do a resistance training session in itself but after I've been doing some dancing or walking, and I'm already warmed up and wearing exercise clothes anyway, throwing in a few body weight exercises really isn't that hard for me.

Skipping is the bees knees.
It's appealing because not only is it fun, you will find yourself naturally challenging yourself to do more skips in a row, and it only takes a few minutes. Like, literally 3 minutes is all I have spent doing it each day.

I have been building up slowly, by starting off with 5 sets of 20 skips in a row, then the next day 25, the next day 30 and so on. I am currently up to 45 skips in a row. Since it is such a high intensity exercise that really gets your heart rate up, you don't have to do it for very long, and it releases human growth hormone which burns fat. So if you need to give your weight loss a kick in the butt then I recommend trying skipping. It worked for me.

A word of warning: please please warm up and stretch before you start skipping. I made the mistake of not doing that the first day and sincerely regretted it the next day when my back was really sore. But I powered through and kept going, just made sure I stretched and warmed up, and by day 3 the pain was gone.

Skipping has a whole bunch of benefits and is a total body exercise, and you can pretty much do it anywhere with some floor space and enough height. And I know I said it before but I love the fact that it only takes a few minutes a day. Because if you didn't already know, I am really quite lazy.

Sometimes, a little willpower is required to get me to go out and do the skipping or to go for a walk but those things are a lot more achievable for me than hitting the gym for a spin class or something. So find what works for you!