Every day we read in the newspapers and hear on the radio and television
that the obesity rate is up all over the world. At the same time, we are
also given the message that we have to look good and feel good. If you are
one of those who think you have to do this, you need a realistic program to
guide you. Follow this basic guide to get you started.
First, you need to
set realistic goals for yourself. For a goal to succeed, you need to make
sure that it is something that you want. For example, say you want to lose 5
kilograms. Now that you have a target in mind, you can then plan on what you
will do every day to achieve that target. You should start with what you can
do on a daily basis. A good idea would be to begin by writing down what to
do every day. Start by writing what you want to achieve on a daily basis.
Find a calendar where you can record what you do. Give yourself a star (you
can buy these from children's bookshops) every time you achieve a goal. For
example, you may want to start the day by doing some stretches while lying
on the bed. Stretch your arms as far as you can above your head, then,
stretch your legs. Do not forget to keep your limbs straight when you are
doing these stretches. Next, you can get down from the bed and continue your
stretches by touching your toes. After you have done this exercise, give
yourself a star. You can start with 10 minutes a day and then build up your
exercise from half an hour to one hour a day.
Another good way to stretch and to strengthen your core muscles is to do
some strength training. Stomach crunches are good for this. Lie down on the
floor (in front of the television, if you wish) and see how much of your
body you can lift off the floor. Do this again the next day and in time you
will be able to do more crunches. You will be rewarded in time with a
strong, flat tummy!
Leg lifts are also good. Again you can lie on your back, on the carpet,
and lift one leg five times, until you feel your leg is tired. Then do the
other leg. Now roll on your front and lift your legs back.
After a few days you will feel your stomach and leg muscles working. You
are burning calories. Do not panic if your weighing scale does not show
instant weight loss. On the contrary, you might even gain a little weight,
but what you are gaining is actually muscle development.
Want more ideas on building muscle? Take the stairs. It is great for
building leg muscles and also for stretching legs which have been under an
office desk all day long. Even walking downstairs can build leg muscle. Get
into a habit of deliberately using your muscles to lower yourself to each
step. Avoid using the lift or the elevator if you can climb stairs. A good
idea is to take the lift some of the way up and then get out and climb the
stairs the rest of the way. Some working people may not want to arrive at
work all hot and sweaty. It is possible to consider using a T-shirt and
changing into your office clothes in the washroom. Many offices nowadays
have gymnasiums and workout areas for their employees. There are many other
ways to exercise in and outside the home.
Body balance is also important to fitness. Stand on one foot for as long
as you can. It helps if you stare at a spot directly in front of you. Change
to the other foot after a while. Cleaning the house provides good exercise
for every member of the family.
Housework such as sweeping and mopping the floor, washing and drying
dishes, and scrubbing the bathroom provide opportunities to stretch and bend
and twist and turn.
Gardening also provides opportunities to move the body. Fingers are
exercised when weeding and pruning. There is a lot of bending and standing
when repotting plants and cleaning water features such as water-lily pots
and fish ponds.
Getting exercise need not be considered all work and no play. Many house
'managers' enjoy doing their housework with music. They put on their
favorite music and 'dance' around. Some women enjoy working to hot bhangra
music and dancing with the broom and the mop! An energetic, rather eccentric
and totally lovable senior lady confided that she does belly dancing while
dusting her shutters and curtains. She is flexible and fit.
Many retired people take up team sports. They play badminton in the park
and lawn bowl. They get exercise and equally importantly, they get to meet
new people. After vigorous exercise, they sit in the gazebo or walk to a
coffee shop nearby for a cup of tea or cold lime juice. Some find walking
partners and find new routes every day.
Some retired ladies go to the park near their homes and play with the
children. The children really give them a good workout. Young children will
not allow any excuse for not climbing up monkey bars and using swings and
Finally, some of us who are determined to be fit may choose to buy a gym
membership. This can be quite costly and can also use up a lot of time.