Category Archives for Healthy Aging

Exercise for the confirmed couch potato!!

I’m a reformed couch potato. The spirit is willing but my flesh is definitely weak! What do I mean by that? You see, as a kid, I thought PE was a waste of time. That exercise and sports were optional. I always felt like a klutz… I was one of those kids in PE that hoped the teacher didn’t see me. I was the kid no one picked to play Soak ‘em because I couldn’t catch or throw the ball worth a darn. I was the kid who was always picked last for teams.

I was just a clumsy, skinny kid and I came to find out later in life my muscles are tighter than average. I mean I cannot touch my toes – never could. The worst thing was that even the high school gymnastics teacher finally recognized my limitations – but only after I tried to vault the vaulting horse and my feet caught as I tried to tuck them under me and I landed smack dab on my face and crumbled up in a heap. Oh, the humiliation of it all!!

Needless to say, I hated gym class. I’d invent ways to get out of PE. Fake sickness. And as a result in later years I never did go to the local gym, too much like PE class in school.

As life went on, though, I came to realize how important exercise is to living, well, healthfully. I think I allowed myself to get overwhelmed with all the shoulds in my life. I should eat better. I should exercise more. I should get outside more. I should meditate more… and on and on. To me that means, make better choices for food, set up a simple doable exercise plan and hook my meditation practice to something I already do – make coffee.

So, I have done the first and third part: eating better and doing meditation while my morning coffee is brewing. But I still held back on exercise!!!

Fast forward to today. I know better. I am still not into sports but I KNOW how important it is to get daily exercise!! No gym for me – not my idea of fun. Exercising in public reminds me too much of PE class, I guess.

Also, I am a full-time in-home caregiver, meaning I am with someone for 6 to 10 hours a day.

SplenDO app showing a list I have set on repeat

So, how do I fit in 30 minutes of functional exercise? I figured this out: I decided to set up my phone to remind me to get up off the chair every hour during the day to do something for 2 to 5 minutes. I use SplenDO app and have it notify me to do something like:

  • power pose for 2 minutes,
  • x amount of sit/stands,
  • x amount of squats,
  • x amount of push-ups against the wall or desk
  • x amount of knee/elbow marches,
  • jogging in place for x minutes 
  • things like that.

So far, this has been the only way I can fit in about 30 minutes of a workout without interfering with my work schedule. I’ve done it for several weeks now and I am just excited to have finally found a way to fit in exercise that I like doing.

Is this perfect? Maybe not to the fitness coach or trainer. But it is perfect for me, at least starting out. Because ultimately, any exercise is better than no exercise. And my theory is that small chunks of exercise are doable for anyone. Even those stuck in an office. Every time you take a break to use the bathroom, take a few minutes to stretch, move, jog in place.


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