Fitness Friday #2: Let's Get Moving!

Repeat after me: ANYTHING is better than nothing.

As we think of fitness, most people think “exercise”. I’m sure you also think I will give you some sweaty, miserable regime to follow without exception. Well, I have happy news: one of my MANY mantras for Fitness Friday (I think I’m up to three now) is: ANYTHING is better than nothing!

WARNING: Technical exercise jargon ahead. If this causes your eyes to roll back in your head, skip the next paragraph:

Optimum exercise time is 30 minutes, four times a week, at 70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR)*. But if 15 minutes, twice a week, at 50% of your MHR is more than what you’ve been doing, that’s AWESOME. Why? Because:

ANYTHING is better than nothing!

Another flashback: January, 1998: I have just spent 18 of the last 32 months pregnant. I have 2 children under the age of 2. Every inch of me is slack flesh. I am a 63-inch, sleep-deprived jell-o mold. A friend who, bless ‘im, evidently believed my Superwoman press, introduced me to someone who was looking for a running partner. “Okay,” I thought, “if she is just starting out, maybe I can ease back into it.” Nope. She was a marathoner, running 6-10 miles a day. Uh, right.

I was laughingly relaying this exchange to another uber-fit friend and concluded by laughing, “I’m doing good to run around the BLOCK.” My friend got ultra-serious, down in my face, and said, “Just keep running around the block. No matter how little you are doing, keep doing it.”

I really took that to heart and started squeezing in little moments of exercise when I could (since, really, I wasn’t even running around the block). I would go for a walk while Troy got dressed for work in the morning. I would walk up and down (and up and down and up and down) our long driveway (with an occasional jog up the stairs to our garage apartment) during naptime, baby monitor in hand. I did a few sit-ups, push-ups and chair dips here and there for resistance training (although lifting my 25-pound toddler and 12-pound newborn should have counted for something!)

Initially, the change didn’t come in my clothes size, my appearance, or even my resting heart rate. The change came in the way I thought of myself: I had become someone who exercised regularly. I am an exerciser, therefore I exercise.

I recorded those exercise shows off of ESPN that come on at some ridiculously early hour and did them during nap time. I started by fast-forwarding through the commercials, giving myself about a 22 minute workout. I worked up to jogging in place during the commercials for a 30 minute workout.

So, if you have DECIDED to get moving, what should you do? Since this post is already too long, I will devote another post later to all kinds of options for exercise. For now, do ANYTHING (because it’s better than nothing) that you enjoy and gets your heart rate up: Dancing (square or hip-hop), skating, walking, biking, your kids’ Wii, ANYTHING (because it’s better than nothing). Collage Video is an excellent source for workout videos. For about the cost of one month at a gym you can get 2 or 3 different videos to do in your own home in your own time. Oh – you do have to actually participate with the video. Sitting in the chair eating chips while you watch the video isn’t very effective – I’ve tried.

Again, I will go into more technical talk in another post. For now, just get moving! Why? Because (say it with me now):


*To determine MHR: 220 - (your age). Multiply MHR by .7 to find 70% of your MHR.

**Blogger is evil.


Katie said...

Hi Sarah! I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying "Fitness Fridays". I really want to start working fitness back into my life this year, but so far have found that difficult. I haven't had caffiene (or much of anything but water) since January 2 and have cut out sweets, so I am pretty proud of that. But I think today you have inspired me to go walk up and down the stairs in our church atrium when I have a break. Because anything is better than nothing! :)

Jenmomof4 said...

I am going to start reading your Fitness Friday. I need to do something. I bought some 5 lb weights last week but have not picked them up. I keep saying I am going to start on Monday...Who am I kidding.

Becky said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to come back more often (especially on Fridays)! :) Have a great weekend!

Holly said...

Hey Sarah, Thank you for stopping by my site awhile back.

I've enjoyed perusing your site - and can really appreciate it because I "am" back in the saddle of exercising again. Again. :)

I've got about 10 pounds that I need to lose, and about 130 that I need to firm up. :) Seven kids have taken their toll...

Thank you for the encouragement!

Roxanne said...

Okay. . .too much for just having gotten out of the car from LA. Will be back tomorrow.

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