7 Fitness Tips for Slackers

7 Fitness Tips for Slackers

TWhite terrierhis is a guest post by Jennifer Brown Banks.  

I never really worry about the state of my fitness until I’m due for a physical check-up.

Despite outward appearances, doctors always know when you’ve been “faking it ‘til you make it!” And I hate the lectures.

Like car mechanics, they can always detect if you’ve been negligent in maintenance and upkeep. And more often than not, I have been.

Blame it on my sedentary lifestyle as a freelance writer (for the lack of activity), or my ferocious metabolism that allows me to eat like a line backer, yet look like a cheerleader. But, I’ve been secretly breaking all the rules.

I sometimes eat pizza in bed after 9 p.m., consume more red meat than I should, and never count calories. I don’t workout at the gym, nor try to adhere to B.M.I. recommendations. Food is my one vice.

But, in 2011, like millions of Americans, I am “resolute” in changing my ways. As I get older I have come to recognize the correlation between good health and quality of life. In fact, the signs are all around me. A few of my friends have been recently diagnosed with Adult Onset Diabetes.

While others are dealing with daily medications taken for high blood pressure and other ailments. Additionally, African-Americans have a higher blood pressure rate than any other group. Obesity affects us disproportionately as well. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 45% of Black adults are obese, as compared to 31% of Whites.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Health is the greatest wealth.” And these days I’m seeking to live a life that’s rich, vibrant and full. What I have discovered through trial and error and observation, is that many of us well-intentioned folks get detoured on the road to good health by having lofty goals that are impossible to maintain, and based upon what “experts” establish.

Perhaps you’re one of them. If so, think of the following health tips as “Cliff-notes” to a better you, to help you work smarter, not harder!

Here’s the skinny on improving your fitness.

1. Recognize that fitness is a process—Take baby steps in the beginning. Opt for taking the stairs as opposed to riding the elevator. Park your car a few blocks from where you work to get in a few blocks of walking. Behavioral experts contend that it takes 21 days before something becomes a habit, so give it some time.

2. Make small changes rather than radical moves—Instead of giving up chocolate, or swearing off pork forever, eat smaller portions and eat it less often. Weaning works wonders. And remember, moderation is the key.
3. Hate exercise? Substitute. You can attain some of the same benefits through dance classes. Four popular styles that have emerged on the scene are Stepping, Line Dancing, Pole Dancing and Belly Dancing. One friend of mine confessed that her recent pole dancing classes have not only helped her to tone her body, but has increased her confidence. Actress Lisa Rinna swears by dancing too. In an interview with Health Smart Today Magazine, she states, “The body changed from the dancing, and I’m trying to hold it together, with dance classes and exercise. I want to keep this body!”
4. Clean to get lean! Did you know that you can get a work out from house work? Vacuuming, mopping, washing windows and many of the chores you participate in each day can burn calories and help to achieve your fitness goals. So not only will you “shine,” your house will too!
5. Individualize your game plan. Don’t feel the need to compete or to compare yourself with your best friend’s strategies and successes, nor to follow the standards of your favorite actress. We are all different. Take into account your age, body type, lifestyle, health factors, and short and long term goals for optimal results.
6. Drink more water-It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve your health. A glass twenty minutes before a meal will decrease your appetite. Additionally, water is reported to have several beneficial properties– from improving the quality of skin, to removing toxins from the body.
7. Reduce Stress – All stress is not bad, but too much can definitely be detrimental. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure, ulcers, and a number of life threatening conditions. For this reason, it’s important to strive for a balanced lifestyle, harmonious relationships, and adequate amounts of rest. To quote a popular expression, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

I’m sure you’ll agree that the above regimen is not very labor intensive, nor is it considered rocket science. So there’s no reason you can’t implement these tips today to prepare for a better future tomorrow.

I must admit that In my couch potato, unenlightened days, I thought it was kind of cute to defy the odds and cheat the Gods of good health, now I’m convinced that by not adopting more healthy ways to live, I could ultimately rob my loved ones of the best me possible.

And that would truly be a crime.

Image: Shaun Doveyt

About Author: Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist and pro blogger. You can view more of her work at Technorati and Pen and Prosper.

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About the Author

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist and pro blogger. You can view more of her work at Technorati and Pen and Prosper.

25 Enlightened Replies

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  1. JasonStatham Workout says:

    It is important to get enough exercise to stay in good shape. Sticking with an exercise plan or routine is a good idea.

  2. Osman says:

    It is not only a good content but also very important for all to follow. thanks to give the important informations.

  3. Anthony says:

    I think #1 and #2 are so important, I am 30 and every so often I have a “life take-away”, similar to #1/#2 … you have to start somewhere and starting small is always best, because simply put it gets you started (taking action trumps everything), and then with practice you can then progress.

    Another one that you can add to your list, and a recent life lesson for me is “consistency is key”, with any and everything in life you have to be consistent to see results. That’s how I lost weight and gained muscle (lord knows it has taken so much time), and in other areas in life as well.

  4. June,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Much appreciated!

  5. June says:

    This is such a wonderful list! It can be difficult and overwhelming to start or get back into a fitness habit. Dancing is a perfect suggestion! I love to dance and it allows me to have fun, get in some rhythm practice and a workout all in one!

    Once you get into the habit you are well on your way to making that a lifestyle!

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

  6. Etinne,

    Thanks for joining the discussion. Wishing you a healthier 2011! 🙂

  7. Etinne says:

    Great tips, Jennifer!
    Really for fitness to work it does just have to become part of our lifestyle.
    It is so true.

  8. Hi Robin,

    What a small “blog world.” 🙂 Glad to see you here too. Take care! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. robin says:

    Jennifer! So nice to see you here! I am definitely an advocate for “aerobic housework” — it works!

  10. RinatisDinoro says:

    Hi Jen! Awesome article 🙂 I am not trying to spam or advertise anything here, but the point ” Drink more water ” has even a bigger significance when you read this article – http://www.smartaboutthings.com/2010/12/01/drinking-water-will-make-you-a-better-blogger/ Again, I am not bumping with links here as there people who commented who know that I am not that type 🙂 It just adds value to the article, I think

  11. Hi Patricia,

    Good points. Thanks for sharing them here.

  12. Patricia says:

    Hi Jennifer

    It is so true. Just cos some of us are slim, doesn’t mean we are healthy!

    Great tips and for those of us who sit in front of a screen very on topic 🙂

    When I was nusring I ran at least 10 miles a day. I say ran, cos there was so much to do that we never ambled around the wards, even though running in those days was forbidden lol

    Now I’m blogging and the exercise has decreased markedly. So I am attempting to change that cos I do on the whole live a healthy lifestyle. Just have to get more exercise fitted into my day.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  13. Hi Bryan,

    How wonderful to hear from you today! I can feel you with # 3. I hate to exercise, but I love to put on my dancing shoes! Congrats on shedding those 50 lbs.

    Thanks for “weighing in” and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  14. Really for fitness to work it does just have to become part of your lifestyle. What that means is that it has to be an “individual” thing. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Just take it one day at a time and tweak your plan to work with whatever changes life throws at you day-to-day. Don’t make it a high stress thing! Even taking the small steps can give you results.

  15. Bryan Thompson says:

    Jennifer, I’m a first-time commenter here. Great list here. I especially like #3 (Substitute). I took up running about a year ago and LOVED IT! (lost 50 pounds) I stopped viewing exercise as a chore and found something that lets me be free, to think, and to be creative. Running hit all of those levels for me.

    Recently, when the midwest got freezing, I started working out on our treadmill, but it stopped working. Now we’ve moved onto some workout vids, but I’m still looking for the perfect substitute. I’ll keep you updated when I find it. 🙂

  16. Traffic Coleman,

    This is true. The mind can help us to make great things happen, if we focus and apply! Thanks for sharing.

  17. TrafficColeman says:

    Jennifer I tell people that getting in shape is an mind thing..if you set your mind to make some progress week after week..then you will see great results.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  18. Clearly Composed says:

    Great tips, Jennifer! Often we look for some magic answer to fitness and it boils down to just making an effort and sticking with the plan. Starting small and making progress…works for me! 🙂

  19. Ryan,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments! I totally agree that slow and steady is the proper path on the road to fitness.