This is a guest post by Maria Rainier.
Even if we dedicated our New Year’s resolution to getting fit those long, long-forgotten months ago, the muscle we’re most likely to exercise is just our tongue, and that’s when we’re making excuses not to exercise. No matter—these are some of my favorite ways to get off the couch.
Get a Dog
Okay, don’t get a dog because you want to lose weight or firm up or whatever it is your goal is. If you’re lazy, the dog won’t motivate you to go running with him—it’ll just tear your apartment to pieces because you’re still too lazy to take him running. My point is this: most people I know who already have dogs think they’re treating them fabulously—great food, great toys, a great backyard—but what they fail to realize is that dogs are domesticated wolves, and wolves don’t grow fat. If your dog chews up your running shoes (is that the excuse you’re using?), it’s not because his teeth itch, it’s because he’s bored. The best way to get a dog to behave, whether you’re a believer in Cesar Millan or not, is to exercise him. So don’t get a dog; just start treating your dog like a dog and take him out for a brisk walk or a run twice a day. I know you think you don’t have time, but that’s just your tongue at work again. You can make time.
Play with Cards
All you need for this routine is a deck of cards and thirty minutes out of your day (maybe forty-five, if you include the shower afterward—you’ll need it if you do this right). Find an even surface to work out in. I just go to my living room. Think of four parts of your body that you want to work on—squats for your glutes and quads, push-ups for upper body, crunches, lunges, you get the picture—and assign one move for each of the four suits. Take the top card off the deck. Let’s say a six of clubs, and you’ve chosen squats for clubs. Do six squats and in quick succession go through the deck. The point is to not take breaks—it is thus both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Switch up the moves daily so you get a whole body workout throughout the week, and shoot for three to four workouts a week. Don’t do it every day, since your muscles need time to recover.
Yes, soccer counts, but that’s an obvious choice. Exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise is the best, and sports are a fantastic way to accomplish that. For those of us no longer on varsity teams, however, here’s the alternative I was talking about: if you’re a gamer—PS3, Xbox—do some exercises while gaming. I’m not talking jumping jacks—you’ll never beat King Koopa that way. Something as simple as sitting on the edge of your couch and lifting both legs parallel to the ground for a few seconds at a time for even ten minutes counts as ab work, and if you’re standing, repetitive ankle lifts can do wonders for your calves. I had the fortune of finding a mini-stepper on Craigslist. It worked my core as well as my lower body, and I could game for thirty minutes before I realized that I was actually sweating. This works well on rainy days and, well, days you just don’t wanna.
About the Author: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various and degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.