Yes, I know you hate to exercise. So do I – (particularly running), but the reality is that as you get older and start “packing on the luggage” it becomes clear that unless you start adding some activity to your life you are going to suffer for it. Most of the fatigue, aches and pains and mental declines we attribute to aging are actually the result of lifestyle choices , the proof is in the ease in which they are corrected when the habits are changed. But as stated above: You hate to exercise! So the question is this: How can we make it as quick and easy as possible? There are many answers for this, heres one:
The current recommendation is to perform 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day to maintain healthy weight. That’s what the “Women’s Health Study” published in the Journal of the American Medical Assoc a couple years ago said. (30 minutes per day is adequate for cardiovascular protection, but if you want to look and feel healthy you need more). I don’t know about you, but 60 minutes daily is quite a commitment. It’s true that you can “break this up into chunks” – little workout sessions throughout the day, but lets be realistic. Vaguely stating: “Ok, I’m going to start adding stuff”, just doesn’t cut it. Nothing really gets changed. But you can break up that big chunk – the 60 minutes, if you ramp up the intensity a bit. And it’s actually quite easy to do that. Here’s a few ways:
I have always searched for ways to optimize my workouts – to get the best overall results in the least time. One way is to do forms of interval training, to add periods of high exertion to your standard pace. If you are a notorious exercise hater, you don’t have to get out the weights, just throw on the sneakers and head out doors. Plan out a route in advance, one with substantial hills and valleys. When you get to a hill go all out, pick up the pace rather than slow down. You can rest on the other side, but keep a reasonable pace there also as the goal is an elevated heart rate and exertion level. With this procedure you can shave as much as 50% off your overall workout time and receive the same benefit.
An even better way to increase the intensity level while also promoting strength and maintenance of bone and muscle mass is to simply have some kind of weight handy near the end of your workout. I spoke of this in an earlier post – by lifting and carrying a manageable weight a short distance you workout out 90% of your muscles and dramatically bump up the benefits of your exercise session. You can simply walk a route in the above method for 28 minutes then carry the weight for the last two, or walk a tread mill for the 28 and pick up a 30 or 40 lb weight and finish. Do this for a couple weeks and you will be amazed with the results.
I’ve integrated this approach myself in recent weeks. It’s in the spirit of the cross-training techniques I’ve adopted. I work out for @ 45 minutes then finish with a 1/4 mile run carrying a 60lb bag of dirt. I require physical assistance to pull myself off the ground after this ordeal….