Exercise used to be a dirty, dirty word in my house.
To some extent it still is.
I dislike the actual doing of exercise but it’s something that must be done.
It’s a necessity. I am sorry to admit it but it’s one of those things that you need, not only to keep your bits working like they should but it’s actually great for brain health as well. I can’t believe I am saying this, but as someone who is depressed a lot of the time, exercise floats my boat almost as well as a good session between the sheets – y’know what I’m sayin’? Good hormones are released when you exercise and all your bits feel better for being used… I feel spasmodically awesome when I leave the gym all sweaty and doing an impression of a tomato in ill-fitting workout gear.
In other words, you need it.
Don’t make excuses to avoid it.
“Oh, I’m too unfit/injured/unwell!”
No you’re not. If you have legs that work, you can use them. If you have arms that work, you can use those. And even if they don’t work as well as they should, you can still use them a bit.
I know someone who has very bothersome knees and she’s managing to get around the block on a regular basis. My friend Janet busted her ankle earlier this year and deals with daily pain and soreness and puts me well to shame with going to the gym every day bar Sundays …or… one day… I am sure she rests at least one day a week… Anyway, point is, you can do it. I started off with chronic back problems and I still have very bad hip and lower back problems that I need to be very careful of but 50kg lighter makes doing exercise a hell of a lot easier.
The trick is to start with baby steps. Throwing yourself into a gym routine can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re starting big, like I did. I lost 20kg before I even thought about doing water aerobics or going to the gym. That was a long time. I was seeing a personal trainer though – less daunting to face one fit person rather than a whole room of them. I also hired a treadmill for a few months and then bought a $50 exercise bike off ebay. I bought a freakin’ dog that needs walks almost every day! These are the sorts of baby steps anyone could handle.
“I don’t have enough money to hire gym equipment/see a PT/go to gym.”
Oh yeah? Rubbish. Ok, maybe personal trainers are a bit of an expense, and hiring a treadmill can hit the back pocket rather hard, but there are alternatives to everything.
DVDs are a great way to work out in the privacy of your own home. Most of them are priced between $10-$50 depending on the theme of the program. You can get everything from fun Zumba routines to step aerobics to complete body shreds. Minimal outlay to maximum benefit.
No one says you have to leave your house and spend more money, either. You can use kitchen chairs, benches or coffee tables to do squats, sit-ups, push-ups and more. Hell, I do stomach crunches laying on my bed! You can use soup cans, bottles of water, a couple of small cats or books as weights.
And you know… walking is free. Find time. I used to go walking during my lunch breaks at work. I found a nice trail by the Yarra and I walked it. And I made it a game – there were other regular walkers too who I made the effort to beat to certain points along the way. I’m sure some of them thought me quite insane and a bit stalkery…
And seriously… my gym costs me $11.50 a week. I can go in there as much or as little as I like. It’s open 24/7. It’s not THAT big an expense. Look up Jetts or Snap Fitness. An aerobics session costs me $10.50 for 45 mins. A personal trainer costs me $35 for a 40 min session. Weigh up what works for you… um, no pun intended.
“But everyone will be watching me and thinking bad things about me!”
Well, yeah, maybe. There are shitheads and douchbags everywhere. But you’ll find that they are not the majority. I can promise that most folks in the gym are too busy doing their workouts to care if a yet another fat sweaty person is on the treadmill beside them. From personal experience most will probably approve of your presence, particularly if you become a regular. You might even make some new friends and inspire others.
“But I don’t want to!”
My routine is generally a 30-40min run on the crosstrainer or an up-hill walk on the treadmill and then 10 mins on a rower, and then weights, weights and weights.
Cardio is great for heart health however in order to lose weight effectively you also need to build muscle mass – that involves muscle building and toning exercises. If there is one piece of advice I would impart it would be to make sure you get the all clear from your doctor before starting any gym routine. I would also invest in at least ONE session with a trainer so you can learn to use the equipment safely and get a basic routine set up.