If you see me dancing...
I finally feel like I have a handle on my workouts again. I was in a dark place for the last couple of months when it came to exercising, especially the cardio part. I know I have to do it, not just for weight loss but for my heart. Without my heart in good, working order I most likely won't live to a ripe old age. Since I'm already 55, I'd like to get at least a few more years out of this old body.
1. BAD ATTITUDE - Lose the bad attitude. It's not going to do you one bit of good to be all grumpy faced about exercising. In fact, if you begrudging exercise day after day, hating every minute of it, one day you will probably say..."to hell with this, I'm not doing it anymore!" I know because recently I was starting to think along those lines. It wasn't that I was hating every minute of it, just the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes of my 30-minute cardio workouts. :)
2. THE DREADED ASSISTED CARE - A friend asked me earlier this week why I go to the gym so much. Obviously I want to lose weight, but really, eating less is more conducive to weight loss than hours of exercising. I told her I wanted to live a long, healthy life, and I was really looking forward to my retirement.
My friend's response was, "so you die five years earlier, at least you don't have all that pain of exercising". My response, I don't really mind the dying part so much, it's the not dying. It's the stroke or the heart attack or the diabetes, being in a wheelchair and having someone take care of me. Have you ever been to an assisted home? Those are the real reasons I exercise. Sure, there's no guarantees in this life, those things could still happen to me, but at least I'll know I gave it my best effort to make sure it doesn't happen.
3. MUSIC - You must have great music to get the most out of your workout. This is the one thing that has helped me immensely during the last three years of consistent, regular exercise. I've gone through three iPods in three years (sweat will destroy an iPod, just for the record). Every month I download new songs for my iPod. I personally like top forty stuff, which my husband says is "crap". Well, maybe it is, but if it helps me get my heart rate up to 144 (resting pulse is 49), then I'll do whatever it takes. My current favorite workout tune....Animal by Neon Trees. In fact, here's my current playlist...
4. FUN - Try to have fun. I mean, really have fun with it. Life is short, there's no time to be miserable. Lately I've started sort of dancing on the cardio machines. On the StairMaster I do the stairs to my music. Same with the cross ramp, it's actually easier on the cross ramp. You can really rock out on that thing. Don't worry about what other people think. They'll probably be thinking you're nuts or wonder what on earth you are doing or maybe, they just might think, she looks like she's having fun exercising...yup, she's crazy!
5. SMILE - IT WON'T KILL YOU - If you're at the gym, please do not walk around staring at the floor. I've seen the same people at the gym for three years. I say hello or good morning to everyone, if they bother to make eye contact. I realize some people are shy and perhaps it's their culture to not make eye contact, but honestly, a little hello and a smile never hurt anyone. I'm just sayin', if you act like you're miserable, most likely you're going to be miserable. It's tough enough to get your butt to the gym in the first place, don't make it an unpleasant experience. Try to enjoy it. Who knows, you might actually like it if you stop dreading it so much.
6. THE FIVE-MINUTE RULE - One last tip, one I've used several times the last three years. Sometimes when that alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m. I think to myself, I just can't do this. I'm tired, my knee hurts, my head hurts, I'm freaking old, I shouldn't have to do this. Or, I don't want to do this. When I feel like this I follow my five-minute rule.
The rule is this: get up, get dressed in my workout clothes, get in my car, drive to the gym, get on a piece of cardio equipment, my choice (it's a wildcard day - I give myself this when I feel lousy - my exercise of choice). Five minutes. Just do five minutes of exercise. If I hate it so much that I think I'm really going to die, go home. In three years I've only gone home once. It's the getting there that's the hard part.
#4 is my favorite and something I've really started doing recently. I know I look kind of funny, but it's so much more fun to bounce around and dance to the music. I love it! Me and Neon Trees. :)