Saturday, January 3, 2009

How To Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Life

The New Year has passed and I can tell that at least 50% of my readers want to lose weight for the new year. Yes, the gyms will love you guys. You'll sign up and get motivated and show up 3 times a week for the month of January. However, over the next 3 months, you'll start to slow down and eventually not go. You might even wait a month before canceling your membership. That's pure loss on your part and an easy gain on the gym part. Why does this always happen? The odds are stacked against you. Winter is a cold, dark time of the year. Our bodies physiologically respond to these changes by reducing energy output, consuming more food and sleeping longer. Why? This is basically a defense mechanism. Your body is trying to build up fat and body mass. Instead of using your energy towards exercise, your body is desperately trying to preserve the organs in case of a freezing famine. The more you try to fight your natural instincts, the less your chance is of winning. Pushing yourself to go to the gym after work when it's very dark and cold isn't likely to be a ritual that will last long. The more you manage to integrate exercise into the daylight hours when you're body knows to be active, the better results your see. The following is a list of ways you'll be able to shed those New Years resolution pounds without perturbing your schedule.

Ankle Weight
A good set of ankle weights fits discretely under most pants. They're probably the most crucial item on this list. They allow for a lot of leg toning to be done during the day. While sitting at your desk, try lifting your legs off the ground. Hover them over the ground for as long as you can. It's those kind of long exercises with light weights that'll give you the lean tone for which you might be looking.

Opt For Stairs 
When you have a choice between stairs and escala
tors, go for the stairs. Sounds like a no brainer, right? There is, however, a catch. Since you're not likely to be walking up 2 km of stairs every day, you're going to make the steps you do walk up a bit more intense. Step using only your toes on the ledge of each step. The sole of your foot should be parallel to the ground and yur heel should be floating in the air. Keep your back straight so that the weight of your body is above your ankle. Walking up the stairs in this way gives your calves a great workout. I promise you'll feel the burning sensation on a tall set of stairs.

Sprint Has Sprung
Should you find yourself having to cover a relatively long distance, sprint it. Don't worry about how you look. People will just assume you're just late for a class or a meeting. A five minute sprint once a day will contribute more to your stamina than a 20 minute jog. Remember to use your best judgement when deciding on your sprint location. Sprinting in a parking lot, for example, might get result internal bleeding when a teen driver hits you when he zips around the corner in the Mazda 3 mommy and daddy just bought him.

Wii Will Rock You
You don't need WiiFit to turn your Wii experience into a full workout. Wii fit is simply a marketing ploy. Yes, it could open your game experience to new motions, but you definitely don't need it for a workout. Remember the ankle weights I ordered you to buy? Now try attaching them to your wrists and playing your favorite Wii game. Depending on your motions, your Wii gaming session turns into a workout for your biceps, triceps, deltoids, forearms, pectorals, etc. If you want better comfort, you could always spring for writ weights, but that's optional. Two games I recommend for this are the Wii Boxing (part of the Wii sports package) and Dragonball Budokai Tenkaichi 2. Both require heavy, rapid hand motion.

Butt cracker
It doesn't matter whether you're a guy or girl, the opposite race will check out your ass. It's pretty much a given. Working out your butt is probably the easiest and most descrete workout you can perform. While your sitting in you office or in class, clench your butt for about 5 seconds then release for 2. Each time you do this it's called a repetition or "rep". You should be doing 10 reps at a time. This group of 10 reps is called a "set." You should
 try to do about 3-4 sets in a session. As you progress, try upping the 5 seconds of clenching to 7-10. I realize that all this may sound stupid, but you know what's even more stupid? Watching your jiggly butt speed down the water slide at mach 3 while the lifeguard can't decide whether he's seeing 2 pigs trapped in a hammock or your road map of cellulite.

Tip: An easy way to remember your the repition you're working on is to count the seconds in your head like this:
4,2,3,4,5 etc."

All in Stride 
Whenever you get up and walk, whether it be to your next class or to the photocopier machine, push yourself to and just a bit more distance to your stride. Not so much that it looks like a Monty Python sketch (see below) but enough to add an extra 10 cm to your stride. Not only will you find that you walk faster, but you'll also feel the burn in your larger leg muscles.

Big Balls 
One of the more popular workouts, for people who are sitting at an office desk all day, is to sit on a fitness ball instead of a chair. Sitting on the ball forces you to use your core muscles to balance yourself. This should slowly chip away at that gut and those love-handles that threaten to ruin the way you'll look in by in the upcomcoming swimsuit season. If you feel silly bringing one of these to work, that's fine. You can keep it in your TV room and use it while you watch your evening lineup.

The most important thing to remember about all these workouts is that, while they're a means to a goal, you'll never stop doing them. All these things are simple and easy because they're lifestyle changes. This is how you're going to live from now on. While this may sound a tad grim, it's really not because, once you get the body you want, you're acheiving your goal every day. When you look into the mirror and like what you see, that's a reward. As long as you continue to stick with these lifestyle changes, you'll continue to be rewarded and every day will be another day in which you're acheiving your goal. Good luck to everyone who's decided to lose weight in '09. Check out my other weight loss articles for other diet and psychology tips to enhance your weight loss: