I have talked about exercise on here before, about balancing calories in and calories out,moderation and all that fun stuff, but I don’t think I talked about how I am personally working on my addiction to running, or in all honestly, the quickest way I knew how to burn the most calories. When you go into an inpatient hospital they pretty much make you sit, or lie down the entire time. If you even tap your foot it is considered an attempt to defy the program through excessive energy expenditure. Standing, oh man I had trouble with this one, anytime you were standing they would hawk eye you until you sat down and didn’t move. It was really quite a change from my habit of 4:30 gym sessions and 6 miles runs and I honestly thought I was going to crawl out of my skin the first few days. I even resorted to doing aerobics in my bathroom (which I am totally embarrassed to admit right now). My treatment team had to work really hard at helping me understand the danger of over-using your body, and abusing its function because it can result in a lot of permanent damage or constant injury. Since I have osteopenia I need to be especially careful of stress fractures, meaning until I gained the appropriate amount of weight, running was not really in the cards.
So when I was planning for discharge my dietician designed my meal plan so I could incorporate exercise back into my life. I WANT TO MAKE PERFECTLY CLEAR THAT IF YOU ARE IN RECOVERY DO NOT, DO NOT, RESUME AN EXERCISE ROUTINE WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR PHYSICIAN AND DIETICIAN. But obviously I wasn’t allowed to go full speed ahead and just pick up where I left off, I had to take walks, do pilates, and light strength training.
Ugh. Walking. Don’t get me wrong, walking is an awesome form of exercise, but for me, doing it day after day, it got kind of dull.; and I prefer morning work outs so I often walk on my treadmill, even more dull. After a few months of going the same speed, the same incline, the same distance, I decided I really needed to change it up. If you are trying to sculpt your body or train for something, most fitness gurus recommend changing up your routine for maximum results but I am not walking for calorie or fat burn. I am doing it to stay in shape, make the gaining process a little easier by toning up on inclines, and because I enjoy the feeling of movement before I start my day. And the routine change up actually has made my walks more pleasant because the time go faster and I don’t get nearly as bored.
I think that is why many people, who are first starting to get into exercise, decide to give up…because they are painfully bored. Treadmills by nature are not that exciting! I know many people who would much rather run outside, or do some sort of physical activity in another environment than the gym because stationary equipment is pretty darn monotonous. But this morning, for anyone who is just starting a workout schedule, getting back into shape, or are just looking for something different, here are some of my tips and tricks to keeping the treadmill tolerable…maybe even fun!
I always see intervals and think some super intense speed drills, but you can do intervals walking too! Inside or outside as a matter of fact. I usually do mine 5 minutes at a time which is pretty long, but makes my 45-60 minute walks wayyy more fun. For 5 minutes I will walk at a slower pace (usually around 4 mph) on a higher incline, and then the next 5 minutes I will increase my speed a little (not too much typically a 4.2-4.3) and lower the incline. I repeat this for the entire time and it does end up making it go pretty fast! Obviously you can vary the speeds, inclines and times, but this is just an example of an easy way to increase endurance and keep entertained.
While in the fitblog chat last night on twitter I was reminded of the importance of good work out music! I love Pandora because it has a lot of songs I havent paid for on itunes, but I do keep some up-beat staples on my phone for days when Pandora isn’t really doing it for me. Right now I love the newest Lady Gaga CD. I enjoy LG for many reasons but this album has a lot of remixed songs, almost with a club-like feel, and they are perfect for getting your heart pumping and awesome at being a motivator! (hello, born this way, talk about a powerful message!) I also like Timbaland, Katy Perry, ANYTHING DAVID GUETTA, the list really is endless for me because I love all kinds of music, but find something you like and rock out. I swear sometimes people look at me funny if I am outside because I kinda dance and sing along with my headphones…oh well, it’s a free country J
If you are working out inside and have a tv nearby, I highly recommend scheduling it around a program you enjoy. I like watching the news because I would watch it anyway, usually just sitting and drinking coffee or having breakfast so what better way to kill two birds with one stone! News and treadmill, its my morning routine and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
4. Make it a habit!
Stick to it. Seriously, the first few days you may absolutely hate walking, or any other form of physical activity, but remind yourself of the benefits and your goals. Maybe you want to stay in shape, are walking for health benefits, there are a million reasons why walking is great, but if you aren’t used to it, you may totally want to give up on day 1. Don’t! after a week you will feel great! And try to experiment with time of day. I personally like the mornings because it wakes me up, and after a full day of work I don’t really know if I would be as enthusiastic about it, but others are night people and love the brisk air, or nighttime TV. Everyone is different so if one doesn’t work with you, try the other J
5. Enlist a friend!
Even at a gym there are machines side by side. Get a buddy and talk! I used to walk with my mother in law and we would have done 5 miles before I even knew it. We would just be chit chatting about the most random things and all of a sudden we would realize an hour had gone by! Having walking buddies is an awesome way to stay motivated, be social, and keep it fun.
6. Be Patient
Are you competitive like me??? I am really working on doing things more for fun and when I first got back into physical activity it was hard! After being out of the work out game for so long, your muscles don’t always remember what they used to do. I was sore, I couldn’t go as fast or as long, and it took a good few weeks before I felt better about my abilities. But if I had not stuck with it, the feeling better part, never would have come. It takes patience and forgiveness with your body, so if you are just starting, give it time! You will be a wonderful walker in now time!
7. Exercise DON’T Obsess
I am talking to myself for this one. I used to beat myself up if I couldn’t get an entire work out in EVERY DAY. But lets face it, life happens and as an adult you do not always have time to dedicate an hour to fitness. I would like to, but things come up that sometimes prevent my normal routine from occurring. Before I would have a panic attack and restrict my food intake for the day, but honestly that is not the answer. Your body is just happy you are using it! Whether it is a 10 minute walk or 60, you are still keeping it in motion. So although you should try to get about 30 minutes in every day, of moderate exercise please see the American Heart Association Website for further information…moderate exercise does not mean sprinting!) if one day you only get to do a mile, then pat yourself on the back for doing any!