If you hate to exercise, it might be because you haven’t found the right activity for you. Grant Leitma, Ph.D., leads you through a series of simple questions to help you identity an exercise plan that matches your personality type. And just like that, you’ll know exactly what to do to make exercise a little more fun and a lot less dreadful.
In It for the Long Haul
Sure, it’s more difficult to get back into an exercise routine after a long layoff–or even start one when you’ve never worked out regularly before. Once working out is a regular part of your life, it’s easy to stay in the habit of keeping fit and healthy. But the battle’s not over. Even the most diehard fitness buffs occasionally fight workout burnout and boredom.
Daily Exercise Matters
Picture this scenario: It’s lunchtime, and you’re taking a brisk walk with a coworker. You know the exercise will help you think more clearly and concentrate better when you get back to work.
Do you give your yard a lick and a promise once a month purely out of respect for the neighbors? Do you enjoy gardening, but seldom take time to dig in the dirt? Maybe you need a new perspective on gardening to motivate you.
Gardening affords you access to the fresh air and exercise you need. It’s a wonderful, creative outlet. To many people, gardening is also therapeutic. One friend says, “When I’m angry or upset about something, I go out and pull weeds. When I’m depressed or sad, I putter with the plants. To me, gardening is comforting, and I always leave my garden feeling better.”
Mary is a cancer patient and an avid gardener. She says, “My garden is my therapy. It’s constant renewal. Working in my garden or just walking through it after work slows me down and helps me to refocus my thoughts.”
Dynamic Duos: Teamwork Works
I’d made up my mind; I was going to lose weight, change my eating habits, and start an exercise program. Like my prior attempts, four days into my new lifestyle my enthusiasm began to wane. I reached for the cookie canister. Who would know? Or more important, who would care if I cheated, or just gave up? The phone rang; it was Susan, my friend, my weight-loss partner. She must have heard that weakness in my voice . . . for she knew.
“You’re going for the cookies, aren’t you?” she asked.
I leaned against the kitchen counter and sighed.
“Don’t do it,” she said. “Eat a piece of fruit. Remember how good you said those apples tasted yesterday? We agreed to weigh in in three days. How about if I meet you at the park in 30 minutes? We’ll walk. Remember what you told me yesterday when I wanted that chocolate bar? `Exercise curbs your appetite.’ Come on, don’t let me down; I need you. We can do this.”
I smiled, agreed to meet her, then taking her earlier advice, I hid the cookie canister in the pantry. Susan was right. I could do this. Or rather, we could do this. Together we found the strength and the willpower to change our eating habits and follow a regular exercising routine. The key to our success wasn’t a pill, or a diet shake; it was teamwork.
Why Exercise is the Best Medicine
Between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from headaches each year. Many of those headache sufferers often turn to medication or retire to a dark room waiting for the pain to go away. However, other headache sufferers are finding relief by taking a proactive approach. Before headaches strike, they engage in aerobic exercise.
Their results are impressive: people who engage in aerobic exercise get fewer headaches, their headaches are less severe, and they have less of a need for serious drug-therapy programs. “People who regularly walk briskly or jog have reported dramatic improvements in their headaches,” declare Dr. Alan M. Rapoport and Dr. Fred D. Sheftell, founders and directors of the New England Center for Headache in Stamford, Connect-icut, and authors of several books about headaches.
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How to Get Motivated to Get Moving
I entered adulthood with an image of myself as someone who does not “do” sports. I figured there was a human divide and I was on the side with those who discussed books and foreign films, sipped frothy drinks, and had pale skin in the summer. In my mid-20s, after a few years at the computer, my body started to protest my lifestyle. Headaches and neck pain were frequent, and I sensed my metabolism slowing. I should mention that I wasn’t really inactive, but I was passive. I never grasped the idea that physical fitness was something I could take charge of for myself. As I got older, busier, and less active, I began to envision layers of fat overtaking me in the coming years, and yet I felt helpless to do anything about it.
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50 Tips to Increase Stamina
Can there really be 50 ways to increase performance in your favorite sport? Twenty-five push-ups a day do not an athelete make, but combine those exercises you do for strength and endurance with a nutritious diet, aerobic conditioning, weight training, and a healthy lifestyle, and you can be at the top of your form-whatever your sport. Consider the suggestions below; you may be in for a few surprises.
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Volkssporting: A Whole New Kind of Walk
If last names had anything to do with predisposing one to a sport, I guess this would be mine. Although swimming, bicycling, snowshoeing, roller skating, ice skating, and cross-country skiing also fall under the “volkssport” heading, walking is the main event, and the majority of volkssporting events are organized walks (the walking segment is sometimes referred to as volksmarching).
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Five More Reasons for Walking
The skeletons in my workout closet are many-an unused athletic club membership, a dusty NordicTrack, a lonely ab-buster. All purchased with the best of intentions. But, alas, they have all fallen to the same fate: while they may have physically challenged me, mentally I was “bored out of my gourd.” Consequently, I became a fitness failure, a workout wannabe.
Then one day my family upset me. Husband, sons, the cat; I can’t remember which one started it, but in the end I decided to take a walk to blow off steam. After 10 minutes I felt better. And after 20 minutes the argument seemed miles away.