I absolutely HATE to exercise. I find going to the gym to be generally torturous and can no sooner imagine partaking in an exercise class than trekking to the North Pole. (If you love these things, this article is not for you, quit reading now, really, it’s not going to speak to you at all!)
However, as I’ve gotten older (which is a huge goal, to get older instead of not) I’ve had to acknowledge that maybe a little extra work is needed to keep my weight at a steady number. But I HATE exercise, so there was a built-in problem in losing or even maintaining weight.
I finally resolved the issue by tapping into my personality type–I am Goal Driven! But I really like short, sweet goals that I can see easily–which is why I love polishing silver, instant pay-off! It seems to be critical to my success that I accomplish something every.single.time. I exercise. But anyone who has tried to lose weight or gain strength or reduce body fat can tell you that results simply won’t show up the same day. So what to do?
I accidentally stumbled on the solution a couple of years ago. I had a letter that needed to be mailed the same day, but the mail had already been picked up from our house. Normally I’d hope in the car to drive the mile and a half over to the Post Office to make the 5:30 pm mail, but that day I had a mad thought, “What if I walked over to the Post Office?”
Side note here: I live in a suburban area where everyone runs errands in their cars. If you live in a more dense urban area, you are not going to find this post very inspiring because this is actually how you live your life already. To the rest of us though, it is life-changing!
And so I did. That first time was a bit of an epic journey as I wasn’t regularly walking more than a mile at a time with my dog and I also accidentally took the long way there, so I probably had a three and a half mile round trip. But the important thing was that I got exercise AND I accomplished something right away (mailing my letter)!
Soon enough I found myself walking all over town to return library books, pick up prescriptions and go out to dinner–anything that had a achievable task (even something like picking up paint color samples) was fair game and I was putting on walking shoes and heading out the door.
By that summer I had declared that if I had any event downtown, no matter the weather, I had to walk. Not only was I getting much needed exercise, I was also significantly reducing my “run-around-town” mileage on my car. You’d be surprised how fast that added up into significant savings.
Of course there were a few challenges to overcome along the way. For example, the shoes you typically walk in are not usually business appropriate or even very cute, so I figured out how to carry a change of shoes in my bag. I eventually stumbled (I do love puns!) on the fact that Sketchers makes sandals that are very walkable and look fairly “summer casual” professional (you can see some here, I have the Rumblers) which was even better than carrying an extra pair of shoes. I also didn’t like showing up a sweaty mess at various business functions, so I allowed more time for a slightly slower walking pace and took deodorant and wipes to help me maintain that “I just stepped out of an air conditioned car” look.
Now this mindset is so entrenched in our brains, that we don’t even consider taking the car to go to a movie at the local theatre or, better yet, have a drink at our favorite watering hole (There is something extra special about having a glass of wine that you feel like you “earned” by walking a mile into town to drink), we just dress for the weather and head down the sidewalk.
The bigger win however, is that I’ve hit some long-term goals without even trying too hard. My weight is lower (as is my body fat), I have killer calfs and I can now easily walk 5 or more miles in a day, a feat that would have had me whining about my blisters a few short years ago.
So tell me, how do you get your Accidental Exercise?