Just this morning, I bit the bullet. It has been raining here (picture torrential tropical cyclonic style) for 5 days. While that means that I have still done my 2 days per week resistance training at the gym, I have missed several of my 4 scheduled walking days.
So, I had to face my choices before I started to lose tone, get out of my habit and lose control of my weight control diet and exercise program. I was not going out to walk in the storm. (Weather bureau says another week of this). I bought a magazine and headed for the treadmill at my gym. I am not a treadmill or cross trainer or exercise bike junkie. I prefer my aerobic exercise au natural, so to speak – walking briskly (but fully clothed, be assured) in the fresh, but not wet air.
Today I did not have that option. Today I headed for the dark side of the gym – the treadmill section. I set the treadmill for 6.5 km per hour at a slight upward incline, took out my reading glasses and mag and set off.
About 1/2 way through my workout and the magazine, my eye fell on a likely story, “Enjoyable Exercise”. Intriguingly enough the first page was what alternative exercises you could do if you hated the treadmill. I read on hopefully but I was to be disappointed. Sadly the choices given should you be averse to walking on the spot on a revolving rubber mat included roller blading and surfing (too uncoordinated), netball (childhood memories of never being picked for a team) and hula-hooping (I kid you not).
Now, imagine how many calories you wouldn’t lose when you were stopping every 5 seconds to disentangle your feet from yet another failed hula hooping attempt. Deeper into the article, I found that the author had divided “fun” exercises into mood related categories.
If your mood was low, for example, you could “have a roll.” That’s lawn bowls by the way. Or you could window shop (I just want to have another look in that cake shop, won’t be long). If you were lucky enough to be in a good mood, you could “shoot some hoops” (is it hoop shooting season already?) or have a go at backyard cricket.
In a rare great mood, you should aim to have a skip or climb a mountain. Pardon?
Right. OK…where do I start with this “fun and feel good” rot?
Ok, no matter what mood you choose to be in, you are looking to lose weight and gain a healthy lifestyle. You are not going to achieve this by drifting about from one fluffy activity to the next, especially when they involve such intangibles as to whether you can get 2 teams together for a game or be accepted into the local lawn bowls club without your funny hat and starched uniform.
If you are dead set about losing weight, you have to work out an aerobic exercise that you can learn to love and do it 4 times a week for 45-60 minutes. You should supplement this with 1-2 sessions of whole body resistance training per week. No matter what mood you are in when you set out to exercise, you can almost guarantee an endorphin high once you start to sweat a bit. You will feel a happy glow for some time afterwards.
If you allow your moods to dictate the level and intensity of your exercise program, then good luck to you. It won’t be long before the clever cunning lazy side of your brain will take advantage of your situation and sabotage your half hearted weight loss attempts even further.
Now get back on that treadmill. It can’t hurt you. And for goodness sake, try to look like you’re having fun.