Right from Harvard University
The “Harvard Women’s Health Watch” mails out a monthly 8-page study on what’s good for women’s all-round health, while zeroing in on specifics at the same time. I look forward to it and today am passing along Seven Simple Ways for Women to Get Active.
They say we need 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, and, yes, you can go to a gym, but those who don’t like gyms, or can’t exercise for an hour or even a half-hour at one time, don’t have to give up. You need a total of 150 minutes, but their research shows that shorter periods, like ten minutes, three times a day, give the very same good results.
Here goes and every woman can find one or two of these suggestions that will ‘fill their bill’.
1. Plant a garden. Ten minutes of ‘gardening’, three times a day, is a simple method. Digging, hoeing, bending, weeding, and carrying tools back and forth from house or garage to garden is hard work. Bending and lifting also work your muscles, but, with this one, please pay attention to your back and knees if you have arthritis. And, as a bonus, if you plant veggies, you can eat them later on and improve your diet.
2. Walk the dog. Dogs are wonderful exercise partners, and give you a daily reason to walk. Keep up a brisk pace but, for heaven’s sake, don’t call your dog’s ‘bathroom break’ as part of the timing. For you, that’s rest time, not walking.
3. Clean house. Cleaning isn’t fun and is a solitary task, but while you’re getting rid of dust, making a bed, and ‘making sense’ out of your freezer or frig, you’re also stretching and lifting, which adds up to getting fit. Forget the vacuum or electric mop, and scrub the windows, sweep the floor, reach up to dust the high corners. Be creative, and while reaching some high spot, stand on one leg, then the other. When making a bed, stand in the middle of one side and turn and bend your body to reach both the Head and Foot.
4. Make love. Sex is not only good for the relationship with your partner, it is good exercise. They suggest different positions (no, call them, not me, for specifics) tell you what muscles are used, and that it gets your heart pounding for aerobic results. If you have a history of heart disease, check with your doctor on this one.
5. Play with grandchildren. Whether at home or in the park, don’t just sit on a bench and watch them play. Get up and join them. Play Hide-and-seek; push them on the swing, toss a ball back and forth, and enter their activity. Good for the mood and muscles, and it will create a memory for them to cherish.
6. Take a dance class. Usually the class lasts more than 10 minutes, but think of the fun you’re having. It’s a weight-bearing activity and so contributes to bone strength while burning fat. If no classes, turn on some music and dance through your home. No one will see you, and anyway, who cares???
7. Walk the mall. Take a few laps around the mall before you begin to shop. Park your car as far as possible from the doors of the Grocery store and then briskly walk the aisles several times before filling your cart.
Mix and match these suggestions and make your own. Tennis, golf, stairs rather than escalator, short walk after lunch before returning to your desk, for it really doesn’t matter how you do those 30 minutes a day, all at once or in 10 minute increments. They work.
The Harvard people tell us to be realistic. Don’t expect a miracle as soon as you start, but make a beginning and stay with it. Some of their suggestions might not interest you at all, but just remember that for every 10-minutes of moving and stretching your body, you will burn from 40 to 60 calories.
For me . . . when I waken in the a.m. I’m all curled up in a nice, warm bundle and the last thing I want is exercise. BUT, I’ve found that if I begin wiggling my toes. Just the toes, I soon find my hands are also moving, and then, slowly but surely, my legs and arms (they seem to go together) and within a minute or so, my entire body is moving and there, flat on my back, my arms, legs, neck, shoulders, and all else are flinging around and I keep it up until in about 20 to 25 minutes I’m ready for whatever the day may bring.
And even is your weight doesn’t go down, you will be healthier because you’re using your body.