Everyone knows that the foundation of good health begins with exercising and eating right. In reality, most people won’t adopt and maintain a regular daily workout regime. For a brief moment, we look at that model with the six-pack abs and think, “I want that!”, but when it comes to paying the price necessary to get it, that enthusiasm fades fast. So, is it a lost cause? No. You can be fit (make that VERY fit) without setting aside hours a day and working up a messy sweat. Let’s look at how you can make that happen.
Setting a Realistic Goal
Yes, it would be nice to be ripped, but unless you’re willing to pay the price, it’s not going to happen. Instead, let’s set our sights on being able to walk up five flights of stairs without stopping to get our breath. Maybe we can get that jar lid opened without using the hammer after all. It might even be nice to get down on the floor knowing you can get back up without calling 995.
Let’s set a new goal. It’s no longer to be on the front page of Muscle Magazine. Now we simply want to be able to function and breathe simultaneously. And if we get the occasional, “Have you been working out?”, all the better.
Keep It Simple
In the past, people were much less sedentary. Most had active lifestyles that kept them relatively lean and strong. Before cars, elevators, escalators, electric bikes, not to mention couches and TVs, folks were on their feet a whole lot more. We’re not suggesting ordering a few cords of firewood and getting chopping. Our only goal here is to move a little more toward the old-school ways. You’ll find yourself reaping surprising rewards.
It works like this. You slip your exercise into your day in small doses. Let’s call it micro-dosing your workout. Do you have a microwave? What are you doing while you’re waiting for that coffee to re-heat? Why not do a few calf-raises? Or maybe lean on the counter and do some inclined push-ups? Get the idea?
When you start thinking about approaching exercise like this, there are thousands of micro-exercises you can do. And they can be done in less than a couple of minutes each throughout the day. Here are some more examples:
• Keep some light hand weights at your desk. Sitting at the computer reading? Pick them up and do something with them (safely!). That means some curls, overhead pushes, and that sort of thing, not throwing them at the computer when it freezes up yet again.
• Stand on one foot. Make sure you keep a hand near a stabilizing surface in case you start to lose balance.
• Pick almost any bodyweight exercise such as a plank, push-up, or leg raise, and do a few.
It’s important that you do enough to work the muscle group, getting just outside your comfort zone to cause the muscle some stress but not to over-stress. Add in a few inexpensive accessories and ramp things up. After all, you were looking for a good excuse to order something online anyway, right?
Resistance bands were made for the exercise micro-doser. They’re cheap, light, small, and easy to store, yet work wonders when it comes to adding some muscle tone.
OK, so it’s really just a big hunk of steel, and you may already have something around the house that will do the job. But if you can spare a few bucks, these are a great fitness tool. They’re designed with rounded edges, a good hand grip, and come in a variety of weights.
Hand Grip Strengtheners
Remember those? If you want forearms of steel, get one. Not the little silicon rings, but rather the ones with an adjustable spring.
Keep your collection of exercise tools where you are sure to see them so they can trigger your memory to take a minute or five to do a quick micro-exercise.
And Let’s Not Overlook the Obvious
You may have heard about some of these ideas. Park further away from the store. Use the stairs. Walk. Remember walking? You learned how to do this one as a child. Start out with small treks and work up your distance slowly.
A Quick Word on Safety
Know your limits. While it’s necessary to get out of your comfort zone just a little, don’t try to become Arnold in one day. Like most of the things we’re trying to do to better ourselves in life, it’s about creating long-term habits.
These fitness aids are simple but still you should have a basic understanding of how to use them safely and effectively. Don’t start swinging that kettlebell around with wild abandon.
Safety is always your priority and your personal responsibility. Take it seriously, even if it’s the only thing you take seriously. Take all the precautions that common sense dictates. Make sure you’re adequately warmed and loosened up. Be sensitive to the signals your body sends you.
Caution. Exercise micro-dosing is a gateway activity. Once you develop a decent level of strength, you may find yourself in a gym or running a half-marathon.
Get started now. Do a simple, quick, and easy exercise that doesn’t require special equipment. Later today, maybe in an hour, do another. Over time, aim to do 10 to 20 of these a day. Build a list of your favorite micro-exercises, review it anytime you have a few free minutes, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling stronger and healthier.