If you’re like me, then getting to the gym can be a real chore. Especially now that I’m blogging, I have come up with nearly every excuse in the book to avoid the gym. “I haven’t written a blog in a couple of days, so I want to write this morning. I have no time for the gym today!” Now I’m in pretty decent shape. I won’t lie. I’ve been active my entire life, from ballet as a little girl through to late teens, and then fitness after that.  Being fit and eating healthy have always been a part of my life. But, honestly, I’m just not one of those people who “love the gym.” Obviously, there is no better feeling once you’re finished, and I never regret going once I’m all done, but it’s always a miracle that I make it there. Every time.

I don’t think I’m alone either. We seem to find time to work and play just fine, but eating right and staying fit often take a back seat. Well, we’re coming into the “cozy” months. The “couch potato” months if you live in a city as cold as mine in the winter. The metabolism seems to slow down, we drink some full-bodied reds, and enjoy that yummy mac and cheese and shepherd’s pie that our kids seem to love. Sounds good to me. Except that these are the months that many have a tendency to put weight on. The physical outdoor activities of walking, jogging, swimming, golfing, and many others become literally a “cease and desist.”

So before you give up on yourself and let the winter months sweep you away into hibernation, I would like to give you ladies some tips to help you stay fit with your busy schedules. Cuz let’s face it, if you’re single in the city, a working mom, a stay at home mom or middle aged woman, we’re all busy. A few things you should know about staying fit:

  1. Try to exercise 3-5 times a week. Make it a priority, ON YOUR BLACKBERRY OR CALENDAR. That should be your goal.  This means at the gym, outside, in your basement, at the office, you are choosing to be physically active for an hour 3-5 times weekly. It doesn’t matter where. And it doesn’t matter when. For me, I prefer to work out in the morning, but many love lunch-hour workouts, and still most like after work. A mix of cardio and strength training is best. I am truly in my best shape because of the strength training; weights, the exercise ball, the TRX (http://www.fitnessanywhere.com), and other machines that let me use my body weight as resistance. You feel simply divine afterwards. I promise.
  2. Don’t be lazy. There are benefits for doing the unlazy;  taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking at lunchtime, walking to the pharmacy or post office, biking to the office. Seriously, you have to get to these places anyhow, you may as well burn some extra calories in the process.
    A few notes on calories burned:
    Biking – leisurely pace for one hr. 230 – 340 calories burned
    Walking – Moderate pace one hr. 205 – 300
    Mowing the lawn per hr. 300 – 450
    Jogging – Moderate pace one hr. 300 – 600
  3. Invest in a yoga mat. Keep it in your car or somewhere handy. Check out some of the local yoga studios with  their class schedules. Yoga is a wonderful and effective way to stay long and lean, strong, and mentally healthy. Keep up with yoga religiously, and you will notice both a physical and mental difference in yourself. Seriously, don’t be quick to say no. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gTJMEP-c2fo/SjVZBf1J5hI/AAAAAAAANAk/zqVseCDnZY8/s400/yoga_cat.jpg
  4. I won’t get into details on diet, as I covered that in another post, but a few diet quickies. Eating a diet low in meat and dairy can do wonders for your mood and body. Cutting out saturated fats and sugars are important. Lots of fruits and veggies, and good healthy snacks are a must. And of course lots of water for the kidneys and the skin!
  5. And sleep. Get 8-10 hours a night of shut-eye time if you can. Sleep has much to do with staying fit. If you sleep, you will have greater energy to exercise, and in all areas of your life. Sleep my friends. Sleep. I am truly a loser with my bed. I’m in bed at 8 after my kids are asleep, and lights out at 10. I happen to love my bed more than life itself. Now, you don’t need to get into bed at 8 o’clock at night, but get used to sleeping. If you’re not getting enough, try programming your body by closing your eyes 10 minutes earlier each night until a pattern develops. Did you know what while we sleep, our bodies produce chemicals that help us not overeat?
  6. Cut out booze and cigarettes. We often hear that alcohol is “Fattening.” It’s not called the “Silent Assassin” for nothing. But besides cutting out booze for calories, you will feel less sluggish at the gym the next day. Same goes for cigarettes. Quit, quit, QUIT!
  7. Just as I mentioned yoga above, the gym is not all there is. There are other great and fun ways to stay fit. Tennis, speed walking, downhill skiing, swimming are all incredible ways to stay fit. Do you have a friend who lives in a building with an indoor pool, if your winters are cold? Dancing is also great exercise, and a great stress crusher. I have been meaning to try to a zumba class.  They are all the rage, but I have yet to go. Check out some ZUMBA! Find a class near you!
  8. Try and manage your stress. Stress physically slows down your metabolism, releasing cortisol and making your body fight too hard. Hence, stress is not good for staying fit. See activities above to help with stress! Meditation also helps.

So, get off the fence, and do what you can, when you can. And remember, anything is better than nothing. That’s my motto. Any of you have your own great tips that help you stay fit?

Have a great rest of your weekend. I’ll see you all next week.


Note: The above “Stress Reduction Kit” is just a joke, and SHOULD NOT be tried!