Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and losing weight. Many people head to the gym and work super hard only to burn out in a month’s time. I found exercise to be a critical element in my journey, but I started slow and kept the intensity low.
For years I have walked my dogs every morning. Even through my most difficult physical trials, I was committed to walking. Sometimes it was a slow short walk, but I made sure I got outside and moved. The dogs and I walk rain or shine. If it’s really pouring down rain, I’ll wait until it lets up to a lighter rain and then go. The only thing that keeps me in is ice.
When I’m feeling well, I walk at a fast pace. Sometimes I will vary that pace with bursts of very fast walking, but only if I feel up to it. Our neighborhood has lots of hills, so that’s good exercise. We walk for 15 – 30 minutes depending on the weather and how I’m feeling (10 minutes on bad days).
10 Minutes of Yoga
What did I change? I continued with my walking routine and added a short yoga routine. If you remember, I was dealing with bladder infections, and I didn’t have lots of energy. I found a YouTube video called Weight Loss Yoga for Beginners with Tara Stiles. It’s under 10 minutes long.
It was just the right amount of challenge for me and the right length. If I was faced with the idea of exercising for 30 minutes or more, I think I would have often opted not to. But 10 minutes was doable!
I committed myself to doing that video at least 5 days per week. I found that soon I wanted to do it. I felt better afterwards; I felt myself getting stronger and leaner. In just 10 minutes a day. I also liked that I wasn’t exhausted afterwards.
When I tried doing more intense exercise, I found that it wiped me out. I decided that yoga was the kind of exercise I needed. (Keep in mind that there a many types of yoga.) Eventually, I felt ready to move on to doing more than 10 minutes.
I bought Element: Hatha & Flow Yoga For Beginners. It contains two 30 minute routines. The Hatha routine is geared towards relieving stress and increasing flexibility. The Flow routine builds strength and stamina. I didn’t care for the Hatha routine, but the Flow routine was just right. It incorporates stretching, strengthening, and cardio.
I do the Flow routine most days. Now that I’ve learned it I do it without the video because I don’t like all the talking and explanations. After that I usually do a little additional strengthening exercise. I alternate doing some abdominal exercises one day and arm and leg exercises the next.
I really like getting into a routine and doing the same exercise all the time. However, I know that’s not the best way to exercise, so occasionally I change it up. I’ll go back to the 10 minute yoga routine if I’m in a hurry, and I’ll do a variety of other online routines, or simply come up with something myself.
YouTube is a great resource for free exercise videos, but there are other sites also such as Fitness Blender.
Strong and Energized
I strongly believe that you should listen to your body, and like I said last week about food, exercise should fuel you—give you energy. I whole heartedly agree with this quote from Paleo Diet Lifestyle.
“Your workouts should leave you strong and energized, not constantly sore and exhausted, and exercise should never feel like a cruel form of torture you have to force yourself through. Fitness is important, but it should support your body, not dominate your life.”
I’ve said from the beginning that this series is not about telling you to do what I have done. I’m simply sharing what has worked for me in hopes that it will help you find what works for you.
I hope that my slow approach to increasing my exercise and going with mainly lower intensity exercise will free some of you up to do what you’re capable of—even if it’s only 10 minutes a day.