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Monday, December 18, 2017

All You Need is a Sock...or a Kid!


Aside from not smoking and limiting your alcohol intake, the best thing you can do for your health (and I am talking every freakin' aspect of your health, physically and mentally!) is exercise regularly.

While I am sure you've heard this message before (like duh?), its not penetrating with North Americans. Only a minority get even close to the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. I know its challenging. For most of us, getting it in requires being completely purposeful about it because we have a designed a world that encourages us to be sedentary at every turn. Robots that vacuum for us, cars and public transport to get us places, and desk jobs that have us sitting on our butts for 6+ hour per day.

Getting regular activity is something I encourage all my clients to do, not just the ones coming in for weight loss support. Self-care is something I question everybody about because our sleep habits, physical activity, and diet all play an important role in our mental health. Exercise can be even more effective for management of depression and anxiety than prescription medication.

The reasons people give me for not exercising are pretty consistent. Number one is time (or lack thereof), number two is interest (WTF, the body is designed to exercise...saying it doesn't interest you is like saying you are not interested in brushing your teeth, um, kind of a necessity for good health!). Number three is money (or lack thereof) and number four is a lack of motivation.

The motivation piece is the trickiest. People generally dislike exercise because it feels uncomfortable for them and they lack energy. But the reason it is uncomfortable and why they lack energy is because they are out of shape! It is also difficult to muster motivation if you are depressed or have low self-esteem. These are the types of issues that need to be addressed in counselling.

As for the time and money, these reasons don't hold water. While I am blessed to have a home gym full of a lot of equipment, this is entirely unnecessary in order to get super fit at home without spending any money and investing minimal time.

Want cardio? Move your damn body! Sit down, stand up. Jump up and down. Do burpees, jumping jacks, knee lifts, plank jacks, mountain climbers, jog on the spot, go up and down the stairs, the possibilities are endless and you can get it all in in a very small amount of space and a short period of time, if you work intensely enough.

Want to get strong? Lift food cans, pets, children, or your partner (photo is of me doing 'airplane from my shins - we also did up on my feet with straight legs - with Little A...I use our home gym, but a kid can do the trick too!). Squat and lunge your body weight. Do push ups, planks and sit ups.

Since we got the new rubber flooring installed in our basement, the one thing I haven't been able to do is use my sliding disks. This has been frustrating because they can be a great tool for core and leg strength as well as cardio. The floor is a bit textured so neither the disks designed for carpet or wood floors work. I even tried paper and plastic plates, and towels, none of which worked at all. I was thinking about the former fitness trend from the 90s, the Slide, and the booties required, and suddenly it struck me: Put a pair of socks OVER my shoes! I grabbed an old pair of athletic socks I no longer wear and gave it a try. Guess what? Works like a charm! I didn't have to spend a dime!

I recommend making some form of movement part of your DAILY morning routine at home. Then there are few excuses to get in the way. If you are the resolution type, I recommend you make it about getting active. Start with a modest goal (2-3 days/week) and build it up from there. If you don't know what to do, find an app or book to help guide you, there are tons of resources out there!