Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Making A Move

How much you can eat, the number of calories in your day, depends on how much you move. If you go to the website and go to the 'more calculators' category, using the maintenance calculator to help determine your daily calorie needs, you'll find the answer depends on your height, age, gender, and activity level. The only one of those you can do anything about is your activity level.

I haven't mentioned exercise on this site before because, well, I haven't wanted to encourage you to do something I'm not doing! It's hard for me. I don't like it. In fact, I dislike exercise so much that even though I will have bursts of genuine attempts, my efforts fade in just a few weeks. Like losing weight, exercise is a choice. If I really really wanted to do it, I would. It's not like I'm sitting on the couch all day eating bon bons instead. I am moving, just not in an organized fashion. My excuse? What there is of it: It takes time to do it, for one thing. There is always something else I think I should be using that hour for: office paperwork, writing/blogging, house cleaning. The exercise, the me time, if you will, is more easily set aside when something or someone else needs my attention. I do enjoy walking, but outside right now we're battling triple-degree heat and I don't have a treadmill. Still, I know in my brain that it would be better for me if I got up off my butt and moved in some steady repetitive and productive way besides taking out the trash.

Not only is exercise better for us because it gets our metabolism running, which burns more calories in the long run, (did you know if your metabolism increases you even burn more calories when you're sitting on said couch?), it increases our muscle and bone health overall. As we age, that becomes more critical. People who are active in their younger years, have a longer active life. I recently spoke with an elderly friend, he's in his 90s, who used to be quite the avid golfer. I asked if he still played. He said all the friends he used to play with are now dead! But he is still doing remarkably well, and when he does have health issues, he seems to recover more quickly from them. I have no doubt much of his good health is due to his life-long level of activity.

So, if you're like me and can't abide the actual hour a day for focused physical activity, you might consider starting small. Don't circle the parking lot over and over looking for that space nearest the building entrance, park farther out so you can burn a few extra calories walking to the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator at the mall. Spend 10 minutes of your lunch hour walking the halls (and stairways), of the building. In the evenings while watching television, don't speed through the commercials with Tivo, instead use those breaks to get up and do something, move around. And if you are of a mind to go to the gym or simply don the tennis shoes and head down the sidewalk for a brisk walk, more power to you! Get up and move! It will undoubtedly help your weight loss and your level of health. I promise, I too plan to get around to doing that again, one of these days, soon, maybe, if I don't have a load of laundry or some filing to do.

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