Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mind Games are Better than No Exercise at All

I hate to exercise. And, I would much prefer a steady diet of Starbucks iced chai and Turkey Hill iced tea to the water I should be drinking instead. Add to that a change in profession that eliminated the ancillary exercise I used to get without realizing it, and you have a sedentary woman of a certain age who needs to do something.

When my husband and daughter leave for the day, departing for work and school respectively, my clock starts ticking. This is my quiet time - time to write, to plan, to do whatever I need to do in a quiet house. Exercise does not qualify. Even answering the phone is optional when calls are unsolicited and come from anyone but a family member.

I thought perhaps eating less would compensate for a more sedentary lifestyle. Yeah, well, it turns out sedentary is sedentary - eating less wasn't enough.

Time to kick Operation 2W's into gear - more water, more walking - a simple plan to move me in the right direction, albeit slowly. I made a standing once-a-week gym date with a friend - another retired educator - but even I couldn't delude myself into thinking that once a week is enough. So, I pulled out the step counter and strapped it on. But it kept falling off, not counting steps accurately - yes, really  - zero steps recorded though I knew I had taken them. After all, I was there. 

Time to replace the step counter with one that did its job. One trip to Target later, I strapped on my new companion, ready to see how many miles I was walking each day without realizing it.

The number was only slightly less depressing than the number on the scale. Sedentary is sedentary, after all. And the water? Still not as big a draw as the tea.

Unwilling to give up my quiet, uninterrupted stretches of work time for something as inconvenient as exercise, I decided I needed a plan. I needed to trick myself into exercising, much as I had done when I was working. I never thought about all those trips up and down the hall as miles of walking - I was simply doing what I needed to do, getting from Point A to Point B and back again.

So I decided to do the same thing at home. But since it wasn't happening naturally, I needed to step it up a notch, so to speak. During the regular course of working each day, I do get up from time to time. I get up to use the bathroom, to throw in a load of laundry, to retrieve an item I need for a task I'm engaged in.

That was my opening.

Last week, I dusted off the step counter again - the new one, this time - with a new plan in mind. Every time I got up from the computer, I needed to walk 200 steps before I could sit down again. Ten trips - which I easily make each day - would be 2000 miles. Pretty darn close to a mile. A mere ten trips a day and I'd chalk up a mile with minimal effort. And, if I picked up a few things and put them away (might as well take advantage of the being up and around thing), my house might look better, too.

Next came the water. Each morning, I fill a tall Starbucks thermal cup (12 oz) with ice and water and leave it on the kitchen counter. It's easy to drink 12 ounces of water - even if I only take a sip or two as I walk by counting my steps - and having to refill the cup makes me feel virtuous and reminds me that I'm not only moving, but I'm moving in the right direction.

As I write this, friends who run mudders and train for marathons are running through my mind (pun intended), taunting me. Really? 2000 steps and 12 ounces of water? Twice that on a good day?

For now. And while it's not a mudder or a marathon, it's a whole lot better than a woman of a certain age sitting on her butt sipping a latte.

No comments:

Post a Comment