Stress management for women who cannot stop

In this post, I’d like to give some ideas to women who cannot sit still, has tons of energy, always multitask, want to get million things done, but might burn out from time to time. See the left side of the chart.

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I belong to the Go-go-go type. I cannot sit on my bum, I always do several things simultaneously, I need to exercise to burn my energy and I get anxious if I cannot take action on something right now.

Slide-show version of this article: Stress management for high cortisol women

Detailed description of the high-energy types

  • Early riser
  • Weight-gain around abdomen
  • Likes to exercise
  • Tension in neck and shoulders, headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Fast speaker
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Emotional
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Nervous stomach

But being high-energy is good, right? I mean I get a lot of work done, I’m fit, and this society promotes images of people who are always on the go-go-go.

What is wrong with being hyper?

The problem is, if we are constantly in this revved up, flight-or-fight state, our body cannot relax and rebuild itself.

Our immune system, our digestive system cannot work properly, as they are shot off by the stress-response: the high level of cortisol and the over-driven sympathetic nervous system.

This is not supposed to be a permanent lifestyle.

If we are not doing anything to balance things out and relax, we can have serious health issues:

  • Frequent infections, colds, UTI, etc.
  • Panic and anxiety disorders
  • Chronic sleep problems
  • Alcohol and other addiction problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

The good news is, there’s a lot we can do to prevent these problems. Unlike the low-cortisol types, whose conditions are partially result of stressful events in the past, and some of the damage seem to be irreversible, we actually have a chance to deal with the stress real time. Right now.

The goal is to help our body to recover, rebuild and heal by:

  • getting out of the fight-or-flight mode,
  • chilling the sympathetic nervous system,
  • letting parasympathetic nervous system work,
  • lowering the cortisol levels to a healthy range.

And this is all done by managing our stress.

Tips to deal with your stress

Relaxation

I start with this one because it seems to be the hardest for this type. The very reason why we are prone to these health issues and burning out is that we have trouble relaxing. We have that urge to finish our to-do list, to keep working, to keep thinking, solve that problem…

And relaxing or meditation looks so boring!

But we need it anyway.

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There are some immediate benefits of relaxation:

  • improved sleep,
  • lowered blood pressure,
  • reduced anxiety, etc.

Plus, you can prevent developing high blood pressure and cardiac issues down the road.

So as you are reading this, do a favor to yourself fifteen years from now, and take my relaxation tips seriously. 🙂

Tip 1: Meditation for hypers

Are you ready to sit in lotus position for an hour every day?

No? Well, me neither, but luckily, we don’t have to. There are easier ways to get started.

Three deep breath mediation is something I use when I notice that my thoughts are running like crazy or when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed.

How to do it: Stop. Tell yourself: I need a break. Then take one deep belly breath with your full attention on your breathing. Then one more deep breath. Then one more.

It is amazing how well this works. Trust me.

Walking meditation is great because we don’t have to sit still. I recommend to do it first when you have 15-20 minutes but with practice it can be done while you are walking to the office from the car.

How to do it: Walk slowly. Align your steps with the rhythm of your breathing. Breath in, one step. Breath out, one step. Pay attention to your walking, breathing, and the environment as if you have never seen it before. If you start thinking about work or problems, just say ‘thinking’ and bring your attention back to your steps.

Again, very effective way to relax.

Guided meditation videos are also great if you are not sure where to start but you would like to sleep better for example.

Tip 2: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is very helpful if you are like me, always busy worrying, thinking, stressing myself out with my own thoughts.

The actual life in this very second usually way more relaxing than thoughts about problems in the past or in the future. That’s the point of mindfulness.

How to do it: Focus on what you are doing. Washing dishes, eating, drinking. Focus on your surroundings. When thoughts pop up, let them go and bring your attention back to your activity.

Since I’m doing this, my anxiety level is manageable, I’m more comfortable and I don’t get that rushed feeling so often.

Tip 3: Journaling

Tip 4: Use ABCDE method to keep not helpful thoughts and feelings under control

I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes my interpretation about events, my angry or frustrated thoughts give me more trouble than life itself. One well-known way to deal with this is the ABCDE method from behavioral therapy. The link goes to a short video to explain you how to use this quick and effective way and stop yourself from making mountains out of molehills.

Sleep

For this type, sleep can be a problem because the high level of cortisol prevents peaceful sleep. But we need sleep to relax our stress systems and lower our cortisol level. Do whatever you need to do to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping 3-4 times a week for a month, you should get help. (I resisted getting help for a while, because I thought my doctor will give me sleeping pills. But no. He recommended tryptophan, an amino-acid, safe and non-addictive, and my sleep improved significantly. I’m not saying that this amino-acid will help you, I’m just saying that don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.)

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • Avoid work, screens and stressful discussions within an hour of bedtime
  • Schedule intense exercise early in the day
  • If you have problems sleeping, get help from your doctor

Exercise

Exercise is very important for this type. It supports your health in many ways:

  • Keeps belly fat under control
  • Helps to prevent diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity
  • Produces serotinin, dopamin, endorphins, etc.
  • Burns all the excess ‘charge’ that comes from the fight-or-flight response
  • Helps to sleep better
  • Reduces anxiety

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The recommendation is to try to do some exercise almost every day, even if it is just a walk on some busy day. And try to get a good sweat, moderate-intense cardio, few times a week. Include strength training once a week. For health reasons and because your body will look good. 🙂

If you just had a crash and burnout…

then take some rest. Don’t exercise for a few days, other than a walk in the evening or some relaxing stretches. Once you have recovered, you can work out as described above.

Nutrition for hypers

Avoid caffeine

We are hyper by default. No need to exaggerate it even more. Drink green or white tea instead. Avoid any stimulants after lunch if you have sleep issues.

Eat low-glycemic foods

The goal is to minimize our elevated risk for abdominal fat, diabetes and heart disease. Eat foods with low glycemic index. Don’t eat stuff like cereal, white bread, white rice, potato, pastry, sugar in your drinks; eat more vegetables than sugary fruits.

Buy some important supplements

Boost your immune system with vitamin C, D and zinc. Get tryptophan and tyrosine amino-acids from your doctor or from high-protein foods. They keep our nervous systems from overworking and burning out.

Limit alcohol

It is fattening, addictive and disturbs your sleep. Try to have less than five drinks a week.

Have a good breakfast

Eat a good, nutritious breakfast with protein and whole grains and veggies, and smaller meals later on the day.

This is the second part of my series about stress management for women. In the first one, I focused on tips for women with low cortisol levels, who struggle with fatigue, lack of energy and low motivation.

Takeaway for women who have chronic high cortisol levels

In order to:

  • Get out of fight-or-flight mode,
  • Lower your cortisol level,
  • Calm your sympathetic nervous system,

you need to:

  • Exercise regularly,
  • Use relaxation techniques daily,
  • Eat well,
  • Get 7-8 hours sleep per night.

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Stress management for women with chronic fatigue

Stress management tips usually apply to anyone. But our body and its response to stress is not the same as the next person’s. In this post I’d like to give some tips to people who live with chronic fatigue and low energy most of the time.

Find out your stress management type

First, what is your body’s stress type? Our hormonal system and our nervous system behaves differently, mostly as a result of our personal history. I made this little chart to help you find out what is your type. The chart is based on a great book, So stressed – The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women, by Stephanie McClellan, M.D. and Beth Hamilton, M.D.

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Today’s post is aimed to women who are on the right side of this diagram, the low-energy types. Their common characteristic is that they have low level of cortisol which leaves them feeling sluggish and tired a lot.

Detailed symptoms of low cortisol stress types

Again, this list is coming from the So stressed book mentioned before:

  • Fatigue, exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sensitivity to stress
  • Increased susceptibility to inflammation
  • Late to bed and often feel tired when waking up
  • Weight gain around hips and thighs
  • Digestive issues
  • Blood pressure fluctuations (Always tired type)
  • Slow heart rate, faints easily (No motivation type)
  • Boredom, withdrawal from people (No motivation type)
  • Aches and pains (Always tired type)
  • Severe PMS (Always tired type)

Tips to manage your body’s reaction to stress

Nutrition

Part of our stress-management toolbox is what we eat.

Vitamins for low-cortisol body types

  • B complex
  • A D and E if you have inflammatory bowel problems as this condition makes it difficult to absorb fat-soluble vitamins
  • Zink to support immune function

Meals

Low-cortisol types need food to stimulate the production of cortisol throughout their day. It will help to balance the nervous system and lessen pains and fatigue. Eat high protein meals three times a day, consistently about the same time every day.

If prone to PMS pay attention to eat foods high in fiber and low in salt. Within months this simple change helped me to significantly lower my PMS symptoms like water retention or irritability and mood swings.

Avoid beverages that contain sugar and drink plenty of water.

Snacks

For healthy comfort foods, dark chocolate and high fiber snacks are recommended. Read the ‘Superfood Snacks’ book on healthy and very yummy snack recipes. Most of them require no fuss, we just put everything in the food processor. 🙂

Anti-inflammatory diet

As this type has increased vulnerability to inflammation, they can benefit from anti-inflammatory diet. This diet recommends eating avoiding high glycemic index foods, fructose and trans fat and damaged fats from margarine, refined oils, and grilled and fried foods. They recommend eating inflammation-fighting foods like turmeric, ginger,  leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and berries.

Inflammation-Fighting-Foods-Infographic
Source: http://www.fitneass.com

Relaxation

Relaxation techniques help you to calm down your strong stress-reaction. Also helps you to deal with the pains and discomforts that often accompany the ‘Always tired’ type by their forties.

Basic relaxation

The goal of basic relaxation to calm the mind and the body, and dissolve anxiety and revved-up state of mind. It is extremely important to the Always tired type, as they are very sensitive to stressful events.

Incorporate any of these methods into your daily routine, much like brushing your teeth. Think about it as mental hygiene. 🙂 Try:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Autogenic training

For how-to and detailed description on these, please turn to YouTube.

Gratefulness and other positive emotions

Research shows that positive emotions like gratitude, curiosity, love, hope or inspiration are closely related to happiness. One way to add it to your everyday life is to consciously spend a few minutes each day on listing 5 things you are grateful for, and appreciating the love and beauty around you.

Gratitude-Graphic
Source: JairekRobbins.com

I can personally attest that it is an amazing habit that can turn dark mood and low motivation around, even during not so happy times in our lives. I use the 6 phase meditation every morning that includes gratitude and it helps to start my day well.

Sleep

Low-energy types are usually night owls. If you are like them, you easily stay up after midnight and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. But most of us need about 7-8 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy. What can be done to re-set your circadian rhythm to a more reasonable bedtime?

  • Avoid caffeine after 3 pm
  • Dim the light in the evening in the house
  • Expose yourself to bright morning light for an hour (I know, it is impossible during winter. Try artificial sunlight lamps.)
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier in every 2-3 days until you readjust your bedtime
  • Get regular exercise but not within a few hours of bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before bedtime

Exercise

Women who belong to these low-energy types often suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or arthritis by the time they reach their middle-age.

Despite the aches, pains and exhaustion, low-energy types can greatly benefit from exercise. Exercise produces endorphins, natural pain-killers; it will also increase your energy, and help you lose weight if you need to. You just have to do it wisely. Don’t look at what other people do for exercise, as it might be too much for you.

  • Start with very low intensity and short intervals. Few minutes of walk every day might be a good start. If you feel exhausted afterwards, decrease the time or the intensity. If you were fine, gradually increase them.
  • Try water-based exercises, if available, since they are gentle and great for anybody with pain.
  • Get approval and advice from your health-care provider.

Dealing with the past

This type has low levels of cortisol as the result of chronic stress earlier in their life, typically in-utero and childhood. I personally know four women among friends and family members who suffered from childhood abuse. They all belong to this stress-type, and developed chronic health issues by their forties and it is quite typical according to the researchers.

Research also shows that women who suffered childhood abuse have similar physical symptoms and psychological problems than women currently experiencing abuse in their lives. Which says to me that past trauma is still hurting you unless you do something about it.

Trauma therapy

One scientific and effective way to recover from traumatic experiences is EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy. It works faster than traditional talk therapy and also covered by insurance.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  […] EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. Source: EMDR Institute, Inc.

Forgiveness therapy

Research shows that forgiveness therapy is effective in improving physical and mental health of women who suffered abuse, including childhood abuse.

Forgiveness therapy doesn’t mean that these women are asked to agree with what happened, or stop being angry, or to reconcile with abuser, or anything like that. Forgiveness therapy helps us to be free of the emotional burden eventually and heal.

Forgiveness often is confused with reconciling, forgetting, pardoning, and/or accepting even though it is different from all of those terms. Some people criticize forgiveness because they think that advocating forgiveness leads to further abuse or hurt. Safety is the first and most important consideration. Thus, a survivor of any type of abuse would not be encouraged to forgive her abuser until she was safe and removed from the abusive environment. When one forgives, she does not give up her right to a just solution; forgiveness and justice occurs together. Source: Journal of Women’s Health Care

If you feel you might be affected by trauma I’d like to encourage you to seek help. None of us deserves to suffer. Healing is possible.

These were my tips for you if you struggle with low energy levels regularly due to lack of enough cortisol.

I hope you have found some helpful ideas. Pick one or two and try it for a few weeks and see if it is working for you.

I will post stress-management tips for women who are on the left side of the diagram soon.

What are your favorite ways to deal with your stress? Let me know in the comments below.

Take care,

Livia,

Life coach focusing on health and wellness in Calgary

Resources:

So stressed – The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women by Stephanie McClellan, M.D. and Beth Hamilton, M.D.

 

How to get mental energy and motivation to work out

This time of year, most of us seem to be somewhat sluggish. Crazy busy, of course, with work and family and pets, rush-rush-rush, then at night we can’t wait to drop down to the couch and just zone out.

And all our plans to exercise more, eat healthier or lose weight are abandoned, mostly. With the nagging sense of failure.

I hate it when it happens. I’d like to give you some tips to manage your energy level and positive attitude and keep working towards your new year’s plan.

Choose your friends carefully

In 2010, the United States Air Force Academy decided to figure out why some of their cadets increased their fitness levels during their training, and some don’t, although they all went through the same training.

Well, the difference they found was in the attitude of the least fit person in their training group.

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Source: Val Vesa on Unsplash.com

If the least fit cadet in the group was motivated and eager to improve, his enthusiasm spread to the others as well, and their fitness level increased over the years.

If the least fit cadet, on the other hand, was indifferent or negative, he dragged the whole group down.

Conclusion: choose your friends wisely! Listening to a negative coworker who complains all the time about being chubby but never does anything… It is not only annoying but it can diminish your motivation and slow down your own progress as well.

Conversely, if we look for the company of people who are enthusiastic about their health and work for some similar goals than us, we have a lot better chance to succeed. 😊

Simplify your life

Did you know, that decision-making and self-control uses up tons of mental energy and willpower?

Even if it is just mundane grocery shopping, or deciding what to eat, or resisting those chocolate chips cookies. Those little things waste our energy, and there’s none left for the big stuff that really matters.

One helpful suggestion is to simplify our lives.

This is the reason why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt every day. Einstein, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama are all known to wear the same type of clothes all the time, too, for the same reason.

How to eliminate decisions?

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Source: chuttersnap on Unsplash.com

Here’s some examples and ideas.

  • Streamline your wardrobe. Girls can do that, too, even though the examples are more difficult to find!
  • Use a weekly menu. Plan it, shop it, cook it once a week, done, no more decisions on what to eat.
  • Have a daily schedule. Do the same activities around the same time of the day. For example, exercise always at the same time. No decisions plus creates a nice, easy habit. Two birds with one stone.
  • Focus on one area of your life. For example, if you are going through a tough time at work with tons of projects and hard decisions, don’t change your diet. Just skip eating pure sh*t for now, and revise your diet when you can give it your full attention.
  • Cut back on social activities and volunteering if they not related to your BIG GOAL.
  • Stop being a perfectionist about secondary stuff. Let it go. Who cares.

Work with your energy levels

Not only decision-making can deplete our energy. There are night owls and larks, extroverts and introverts, low and high cortisol stress types. It is important to be aware of our natural ups and downs, and deal with them. It will help to stick to our diet, go to the gym, make better choices through-out the day.

  • Schedule your exercise in sync with your energy level.
  • Give yourself a break from people if you are an introvert, or find a way to connect with someone if you are an extrovert.
  • Find the right snack, low in sugar, high in protein, to give you energy when you need it.
  • Low cortisol types, eat breakfast and move a little! These will start your engine better than living on coffee until lunch.

Just do it

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Source: Matias Saw on Unsplash.com

Well, this one is dead simple. Show up.

To quote writer James Clear from the book, “The single greatest skill in any endeavor is doing the work. Not doing the work that is easy for you. Not doing the work that makes you look good. Not doing the work when you feel inspired. Just doing the work.”

And dependably, the fun will come. I will start enjoying my laps although I didn’t feel like getting in the cold pool on a freezing winter day… And I will start enjoying my run, although I was dragging my feet out of the house first, purely out of habit.

You don’t have to be super-women all the time. Sometimes just doing the bare minimum is all we can manage.

As long as you move 15 minutes, you did enough for today, girl.

So don’t wait for the best mood. Just go and do the workout. You’ll be so proud and happily tired when you are done. 😊

Don’t beat yourself up

I was listening to my health coaching teacher the other day. She talked about how we feel we should do this, should do that, but sometimes we cannot. We are dead tired, totally drained after the days’ work, and kids and all that. And then we beat ourselves up for not having enough will-power, not being strong, not being good enough.

Sounds familiar? I know that every single woman I know tells this to herself.

If you are hard on yourself like this, too, I want you to stop it. Now.

You are doing your best. You have a lot on your plate. Give yourself credit for the work you did already today.

And for tomorrow, you can pick an idea from this post and try it.

Maybe it saves you enough energy to take a baby step toward your goal.

Take care,

Livia

Resources

Stulbers, Brad; Magness, Steve: Peak performance

14 great winter cardio ideas for the body and the spirit

Do you feel you are a lot less active int the winter then in the summer? Do you struggle to find good activities in these cold, snowy months? Other than relaxing on the couch…

puppy on sofa

You’re not alone. We all miss the nice, long days of the summer when we can easily go for a quick jog or bike ride even on weekdays because it is so beautiful outside all evening!

But now it is cold, wet and gets dark early. And my spirits are quite low, honestly. Which means I want to snack on chocolate, which means I will put on weight.

But no, not today. I will grab myself by the hair, do some cardio and cheer up. 🙂

Here’s the great ideas I got from the ladies in a fitness Facebook group I’m member of. They are fed up with the treadmill, too! Thank you, guys!

Winter cardio ideas outdoors

Do you live in an area where it snows? Cold? Maybe have some slopes or ice, too? Then these are all great choices for you over the weekends:

  1. Cross-country ski
  2. Downhill ski
  3. Winter hiking
  4. Skating
  5. Hockey
  6. Sledding
  7. Snowshoeing
  8. Shoveling 🙂

How much calorie we burn doing winter sports?

Apparently, quite a few! Cross-country skiing takes the lead, hockey is next. Downhill skiing, sledding and snowboarding follows. Last but not least, skating and shoveling snow will still burn above 100 calories in ten minutes for a 220 lbs (100 kg) person. Smaller women obviously burn less, 60-70 percent of that. And it all depends on the intensity, too! 🙂

See this winter sports infographic for details.

Skating, sledding, snowshoeing for newbies

Benefits of skating, sledding or snowshoeing: affordable, available and kid-friendly. There are skating classes for adults who want to try it first time. Snowshoeing is rather easy, the biggest hurdle is how to put the damn thing on, hahaha! Join a group of people on meetup and they will show you what you need to know, going uphill/downhill, etc.

What do you need to start skiing?

cross_country sk

Mountains or places with cross country tracks. Some golf courses have them within the city, for example. As for ski equipment, it is available for rent for the price of movie tickets and popcorn. You can also buy used to get started.

You have no idea where to start? Watch videos and again, join a meetup group for an affordable option. That’s what I did, anyway, and it worked for me. 🙂 The videos show you what to do, and the meetup group organizer will pick a nice location and take care of the drive there.

Another choice for beginners is to find a ski school or instructor for more advice and support.

Indoor winter cardio ideas

As much as I love to go outside every day, sometimes it is not possible. Maybe my schedule is so hectic that by the time I look up from the computer is is dark already. Or maybe it is below minus 20 for weeks, like last winter. Or raining or snowing.

Then what?

Go dancing, that’s what! 🙂 Last Friday I decided to go, but it was very cold, and I was sure the place will be empty… Who would bother to get dressed and go out, right?

Luckily, I was wrong, the place was packed, and salsa music is just the antidote I needed for winter blues! So this will be the first on my list for indoors winter cardio!

9. Dancing through the winter

It is easy, fun and it burns calories, tones your legs and core, what else do you want?

dancers

Options include taking classes, going to Friday night social dances, to a dance club or finding great videos on YouTube and dance away at home. 🙂

10. Benefits of swimming

Although it is a bit scary first, to go out in the freezing cold to get wet, swimming is actually a very nice cardio option once or twice a week. It is

  • affordable,
  • gentle on your joints,
  • good after strength training day and
  • a great sleeping aid.

Hit the steam room after you’re done for cleaning out toxins and compensating for too dry winter air.

11. Cardio classes

Spinning, Zumba, barre, pole dancing, kick-box… There’s classes in the morning, at lunch hour and after work. For beginners and for more experienced people, and for all age ranges. Benefits are:

  • instructor to teach you the basics and push you beyond your comfort zone,
  • other women working for the same goal to keep you company,
  • variety of activities to fight boredom.

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12. YouTube

And yes, if all else fails, there’s a blizzard outside, you’re hair is a mess and you have no clean gym clothes… You can count on YouTube, best friend of the DIY people and self-motivated fitness lovers. From walking in place and aerobic to Zumba and kick-box, you will find something to suit your mood and fitness level. Even low-impact stuff for people with injuries or sensitive knees. And it is free. So no more excuses, ladies! 🙂

13. Walk and jog inside

In my city, there are places available where you can walk and jog in a building, or on running tracks, safe from the cold. There are even groups going together. Check out what your place has to offer.

14. Cardio machines

I left these as last ones, because I personally don’t use them, but they are valid options, available and easy to hop on for a quick sweat.

That’s it, folks.

These were my tried and true winter cardio ideas and I hope they will help you to keep your body in good working conditions until the nice weather is here again and we all can go walk, run, paddle and bike to out heart’s content!

See you soon!

Livia,

the exercise lover life coach. 🙂

Get off the couch with this no-excuses beginner cardio exercise

Finding a way to exercise can be difficult with our busy lifes. There’s so much to do! Work, family, meals, house chores… These eat up every minute in the day!

But we really should work up a sweat regularly… But I’m so tired! And my favorite show is starting any minute!… And…

I hear you, girl.

You are exhausted and brain-fogged and stressed. It is an awful feeling, and you don’t need me nagging you right now to get off your butt. 🙂 Just one question: did you manage to walk to the freezer to get some ice cream?

Then I bet you can do…

My favorite exercise

What is my favorite? Glad you asked. It’s walking.

What??? You heard me. Walking.

Why? Because it is simple, moderate intensity and low-cost.

Okay, now give me your excuses, missy!

I don’t have time to work out

Busted! To go for a walk, you only need 20 minutes at a time, including putting on shoes. 15 minutes a day, five times a week and you will get all the health benefits.

Your schedule is totally jam-packed? Think about

  • delegating work to others
  • saying no to some volunteering or
  • cutting back a time-consuming habit maybe

You can figure it out, I’m sure!

I don’t have good running shoes

Popped! You probably have a pair of runners at home already, gathering dust. For walking, they will do just fine. Find them in the bottom of the closet and head out.

I don’t have workout clothes

BS! When was the last time you picked up the kids naked? Just put on anything and go! (No, you don’t need the perfect sports bra for walking. For jogging, yes, but for walking, your regular bra is okay.)

It is raining/snowing/freezing/too hot to go outside

Do I hear whining? Go on YouTube and find a nice at home walking exercise video. (Or try beginner Zumba! They’re fun!)

I haven’t exercised in years

But you are reading this because you want to change this situation, right? And I’m happy for you! Walking is perfect if you want to get back in shape.

  • Start at a moderate level. It means you walk at a speed that allows you have a conversation.
  • In a couple of weeks, start walking faster, like you can still talk but have to take a breath mid-sentence.
  • Few more weeks later you can increase your speed a bit more.

Congratulations, you’re doing it!

I have arthritis and my knees hurt

Okay, it is a very valid excuse. Arthritis is horrible and makes every movement painful when you have a flair-up. But research shows that regular exercise do improve the quality of life for people with arthritis and helps to stay active and independent.

Tips you can try:

  • walking in water or swimming
  • stationary bikes
  • anti-inflammatory diet to help you space out the flair-up

For more tips about exercising with arthritis, read this booklet from http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org.

I’m overweight

It’s okay, you don’t have to kill yourself! If done regularly, moderate exercise will help you to manage your weight, your stress level, your eating habits and give you the cardiovascular health boost you need. Just take it easy! If you are worried about your joints, try walking in water, swimming or biking, these are all easy on them.

I’m not as young as I used to be

Me neither. It’s too bad, isn’t it? But if you still can walk, even if with a walker, you can do it. Just start really slow and have someone with you if you can. A friend or neighbor maybe? And if you feel dizzy or short of breath, or anything hurts, stop and rest.

No more excuses!

See? Walking is an easy and effective workout you can start doing today. And keep doing it again and again to keep you healthy and fit.

How to start walking for a workout?

Equipment: One pair of comfortable shoes

Time commitment: 75-90 minutes weekly

Intensity: low to moderate to high

Scheduling: Find three or four 20-30 minutes time chunks in your week. Put the walking session in your calendar and treat it as priority.

Optional motivational coach: a medium-sized dog. He’ll get you walking all right! 🙂

Ready! Set! Go! See you in the park! 🙂