By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Editor’s note: This is part 2 of the publisher’s blog on diet and exercise.
Exercise keeps you young, energetic, and healthy. What do you need to do to motivate yourself to keep exercising? Here are some tips that have worked for me.
Adopt mobile habits
The definition of an active lifestyle does not mean to connect socially for weight loss. It means a drastic lifestyle change to ensure your body is constantly in motion.
Make excuses to move around at work and home. For instance, I have purposefully designed my office to have the restroom and printer away from me, while seven staff members have their own printers right in their cubicles. At home, I have to walk 30 seconds from my study to the printer. Walking back and forth takes only a minute. But a minute here and there adds up over the course of a day, week, month, and year.
During meetings, I have to warn my colleagues that I need to get up from time to time because my feet get numb easily.
At my doctor’s waiting room, I don’t sit. Doctors can keep patients waiting for as long as half an hour or more. I move around. At the airport, while waiting for my flight, I brisk walk from one side of the terminal to another before I board the plane. I check in my luggage, so I am free to move about. Usually, I am the last passenger to get on.
I enjoy attending events, so I can roam around the room, taking photos with my camera and greeting friends. When I need to discuss something with my staff, I walk to their desks, rather than email or text. My son protests that I don’t text him. Why should I?
When I am alone in an elevator, I spin my head left and right or kick my heels up and down. On the bus, I would flex my fingers in and out to increase their flexibility. At home, I don’t default to using the clothes dryer every single time. I hang up most of my clothes on racks. I always look for opportunities to get my body working and moving.
When I am feeling stressed, my solution is to get out of the office and stroll around the International District, visiting the library, Uwajimaya, the Union Station, and restaurants.
The merit of walking every day is that I don’t have to be on a diet to maintain my weight. I eat as much and as often as I want. I used to wear a pedometer to count my steps. Not anymore. I have a mental clock, keeping track of how many steps I have accumulated each day to keep my body fit. I have never replaced my broken scale at home.
“Eat the frog” first
Author Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” So you do the most important and difficult task in the morning, you will be able to handle the rest of the day with more ease, knowing that the worst is done.
Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog” is based on Twain’s theory of getting the toughest job done first, then you will more likely be able to prioritize your day, your goals, and your life. Tracy wrote that if you do the hardest job in the morning, you are less likely to procrastinate and accomplish more.
I have learned that the first thing many successful people do in the morning is to exercise — not having breakfast or checking emails. They know that if they can’t maintain a healthy body, they can achieve nothing in the long run.
Several years ago, eating breakfast was the first thing I did in the morning. My rationale was I needed to eat to have energy.
Wrong. Now my body is full of energy after dancing and doing yoga in the morning. Every morning, I drink a glass of warm water before my half-an-hour exercise program. Had I eaten first, I wouldn’t be able to exercise with a full stomach. As the day goes on, I am so busy that I usually forget to workout.
Design your exercise routine
What kind of exercise do you enjoy for at least 20 or 30 minutes at a time?
You can dance, lift weights, jog, walk, play basketball, play ping pong, play tennis — anything that motivates you to get moving.
Once you set up a routine, do it seven days a week. This is much better than going to the gym for an hour just once or even three times a week.
Music enhances my mood
What gets me in the mood to dance is great music. As soon as Zumba shows up on YouTube, my feet become twitchy. The joy of movement makes me dance.
Music keeps me going. I don’t necessarily follow all the steps, as some of them are too complicated. I modify the moves.
Sometimes, I turn on Michael Jackson’s hits and my body would start swinging.
“One more kick, one more bend, one more shake, one more turn. Go Go Go.” I motivate myself. “C’mon …You can do it… Do it to get a flat tummy … Let’s get rid of the fat on the thigh … One more round.”
Don’t forget to protect yourself while exercising. Consult with your doctor. I don’t jump high as one of my knees is delicate. But I shake a lot to compensate. Whatever dance you desire to learn, search YouTube for “basics” or “beginners.” There’s a big difference between zumba and basic beginner zumba.
After dinner, I watch television while walking on a treadmill for half an hour. This has been my life for the past six years.
Next week … delicious food to maintain a healthy and ideal weight.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.