As a reformed couch potato, I understand when women at 50 say to me that they do not enjoy exercise or that they do not have the time to exercise. But I am no longer a couch potato, and I love nothing more than starting the day with a brisk run or walk. Not only am I exercising more and enjoying it, but I am sleeping better, have less night sweats, and have more energy in my day. I will share with you six tips that were instrumental in changing my life forever.
1. Buy exercise attire.
This is number one for a reason. Many women decide not to buy leggings or suitable comfortable walking clothes, as they feel it will be a waste of money. They theorize that it is best to wait and see how successful their new routine is, but this is counterintuitive.
When you make a purchase of leggings and fitting tops, you are making a statement to yourself and everyone around you that you are serious about making a change. Having the correct attire gives you more freedom to walk in the park (no one wants to get their designer jeans dirtied on a muddy track) and less chance of falling if correct footwear is worn.
2. Wear the clothes.
Now that you have bought your purchases, be sure to wear them. Once you are dressed for the day, you will be less likely to change clothes to go for a walk. There is an enormous selection for stylish exercise gear. No more baggy tracksuit pants and lycra tops — simple, stylish exercise gear looks great with any morning coffee meet up.
If you work in an office, try walking to work in your exercise gear or have the exercise attire with you when you go out for a walk at lunchtime. The slightest movement in the initial stages is better than nothing. Take walking shoes to work with you and go out at some point in the day even if it is for 10 minutes and gradually build time spent walking.
3. Have your walking shoes handy at the front door.
Do not keep the walking shoes tucked away in your cupboard. Have an area at the front, or the back door of your home, to store your new shoes. This way whenever you leave you are looking at the shoes and remind you of their existence.
4. Keep hydrated.
Tiredness is often due to dehydration. Do not confuse this with having no energy in your day to exercise. When you next feel that you should be going out for a walk, but may be feeling too tired to do so, go and have a big glass of water, and see if that puts the pep in your step that you need.
5. Team up with a friend.
Team up with a friend, or a couple of friends, and make a set date and time for your walks. Set a limit that is suitable for all and stick to it. Having someone accountable to walk with is a great trick to get you on your way and to monitor your progress.
Christopher Reeve, tragically made a quadriplegic, used to say that when he dreamed at night, he always saw himself as able-bodied and free — never in his wheelchair. When asked him if that made him feel saddened when he woke up, he said that actually, it spurred him on. It buoyed his spirits to dream about what was currently impossible.
What an inspiration! Another quote from Christopher was, “Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t sell out.”
This are the words I often repeat to myself when I am lying in bed and pondering should I go out for my morning run. I then think of Christopher Reeve and his yearning to have the mobility that we all take for granted. That does the trick and I am up and dressed in my attire for a run.
Whatever exercise you do, try and push yourself that little bit further to get moving. If it is just 10 minutes a day, see if you can do an extra 10 minutes a week. Be thankful and work with your body, and your body will work for you.