Tag Archives: exercise

Hate Exercise? Me Too! How I Accidentally got into Exercise

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?

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Accidental Exercise

Some of my most popular postings have been my “Life Hacks”, the systems or shortcuts I use to make my life more manageable, easier and overall better.  If I look at my Facebook feed, I appear to be the only one of my friends who isn’t entered in a 5K, practicing for a triathlon or climbing a mountain this summer.  To be honest, I really don’t like to exercise at all. I was a runner all through high school and I have worked out in the gym with the best of them, but…I still don’t like it.

A number of years ago I joined Weight Watchers just to support a family member (because, they were overweight, not me, yeah right!) and suddenly realized that I needed to somehow burn more calories in order to indulge in ice cream and cookie dough, I decided I’d better get back on the exercise treadmill (pun intended).  But I still didn’t like it and it felt like a waste of time.  No matter what I said or did, it was plain unfun.

ICK!

ICK!

Then I discovered that Weight Watchers let you count everyday household chores for activity points–OK then, game on!  We suddenly had the cleanest carpets and the most dusted furniture in town.  And I realized that if I could exercise in the course of my regular week AND get things done that need doing, I felt a lot more fulfilled. Plus it didn’t take away from my reading time because I was doing things that I needed to do anyway.

So I created a list of ways that I could add accidental exercise to my day without adding a lot of extra time.  Here are a few:

  • Park your car at the furthest spot from the door when you go to the store. Bonus: you’ll save time not driving up and down parking aisles and your car is less likely to get dings or even hit.  I find that my stress level is better too, because I didn’t have to wait for people to get out of my way or try to park in a tight spot.
  • Keep your ice cream in the basement freezer. This assumes you have a basement or a freezer there, but I’ve found I have to consciously think about how much I want ice cream (or any other fabulous snack) if I keep it in the basement and then have to return the carton or box to the basement immediately after dishing up a serving.  If I want a second serving, back to the basement I go burning calories on the way!
  • Take your spouse and your dog for a walk.  This is the very best time to catch up on what’s been going on at work, brainstorm new ideas and talk about serious stuff like  the budget.  The dog needs walking, so make a point of doing it together and gain extra time to work on your relationship.  Bonus: It is easier to talk about difficult subjects because you are both facing forward, the walk relieves stress and you are in public, so generally no yelling or crying. Extra Bonus: If you don’t have a spouse, a kid or a friend is an excellent substitute.
  • Fidget.  While you are watching TV or sitting at your computer desk at work, bouncing your leg, tapping your foot or any other fidgeting behavior will help you use up calories and keep your metabolism moving.  Word of Caution: Try not to do this around other people, it is annoying and disruptive.
  • March. I hate waiting for even five minutes for things to cook but if I walk into another room I am sure to burn the food because I will forget about it.  So to combat food waste (and that awful burnt smell) I often march in place while waiting for the pot to boil or the meat to brown. Bonus: Use this technique while brushing you teeth for 3 minutes. You will fit in some extra exercise and your teeth will be super sparkly.

These are just a few of the ways that I cram exercise into my everyday life.  While I am not winning any marathons (because I haven’t signed up for them), I do maintain my healthy weight and am still able to enjoy the foods I love.  Next time I’ll share accidental exercise ideas for when you travel.

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