Making exercise a part of daily life


walking for exercise
Our lifestyle has become so convenient that it is bad for our health. The majority of us do not need to do anything physical on a daily basis other than walk from a car to a building, which means we have to contrive ways to get the physical exercise that our bodies need.


Prior to completely changing my lifestyle so that my daily life included a lot of natural exercise, I tried every modern exercise regimen known to city dwellers. I joined the Y, but didn’t keep it up, so I thought I should buy a treadmill for the basement. I didn’t continue using it but thought maybe a bike would be more to my liking. That didn’t work either, so I decided to get an elliptical trainer. Are you seeing a pattern here? If you guessed that I didn’t keep exercising on that contraption, you would be correct. I decided machines in the basement were boring, so I started walking around the neighborhood. After a few months, I couldn’t force myself out the door any longer, but I was certain that a real health club membership was the answer! Guess what? I didn’t keep that up either. And I was not alone. Most people don’t continue with an exercise routine.

The problem with exercise routines is that they are contrived. We don’t have to hop on a machine and spend half an hour biking or walking to nowhere, so it is easy to come up with excuses not to do it one day or the next day or the next. We have people to see and places to go, and we don’t have time to waste exercising. One answer is to make exercise a part of your daily life. Use the stairs rather than the elevator. Make a commitment to walk or bike to wherever you need to go whenever possible. You can use a backpack for carrying items. Understand that it is okay if you need to bike to the store three times a week to buy groceries, rather than driving once and bringing home everything in the car.

If you have the self-discipline to work out on your own, there are plenty of ways to get more exercise, such as walking around the neighborhood, doing yoga with online videos, and weight lifting with items around the house, such as bags of pet food or cat litter. You can also pick up weights inexpensively at yard sales or find them free on Freecycle.

Savings: You can save $300 to $800 a year by not joining a health club, plus you are saving the money for gasoline to drive there and the cost of the fancy exercise clothing you might feel the need to buy.

This is an excerpt from Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life by Deborah Niemann.

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