The newest science suggests that exercise alone will not make you thin, but staying thin requires exercise. Real exercise. You must work out.
In Weighing the Evidence on Exercise, Barry Braun, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts states:
“When you look at the results in the National Weight Control Registry, you see over and over that exercise is one constant among people who’ve maintained their weight loss.” About 90 percent of the people in the registry who have shed pounds and kept them at bay worked out, a result also seen in recent studies.
During the last few years I have slowly developed a well-rounded workout routine. I’ve never liked gyms because they seem so artificial. I don’t like to sweat though I’ve grown used to it lately. I do love to learn new pursuits. Going from a lazy slug to a fit individual has been a long journey. I’m still learning. But I think I’ve hit upon a good combination worth sharing. You might say I’m going down this path kicking and screaming, but here’s how:
1.) Running. When I realized walking wasn’t really helping to control my weight I started to run around the neighborhood. At first it was a half mile. Now I run 3 miles alternating between running as fast as I can then walking up hills to catch my breath. I was running five or six days per week exclusively, but now it’s usually one time to get the heart pumping in conjunction with my other activities. For two years my un-ending mantra with every footstep was “I hate running”. Lately I only think I hate it once or twice during a run. Recently I tried my first 5K but it wasn’t your ordinary race. The Run-A-Muck went through a lake and mud pit which left me completely dirty but extraordinarily pumped.
2.) Martial Arts and Kickboxing With A Trainer. I started kickboxing to lose the fat on my legs and sculpted my entire body. Originally I had a trainer in a martial arts studio while working to achieve belts, but she has moved away. Now at the absolute minimum I go to LA Boxing three times per week for an hour workout each time. LA Boxing claims their intense workout burns 1,000 calories. Kickboxing also requires a full body program beyond the martial arts, such as the 50 pushups I completed for my green belt. The trainers help you to tone your abs, arms, legs, back, and core. The best part is I’ve learned how to defend myself with both kicking and boxing as well as getting my body into good shape. You need to be quick on your toes and never stop moving when kickboxing, which also helps my running form. Jump kicks, leap frogs, lunges, squats, ab work, pushups, etc., the routine works on every part of your body until you feel like collapsing but you’re not allowed to stop moving. Once I found myself thinking I hated one of my instructors but then he yelled out “I know you hate me.” I keep going because I love the results.
3.) Yoga. For ten years yoga has been the mainstay of my weekly workout plan. Besides the mental health and high from each session, I now desperately need to stretch every part of my body after my other strenuous workouts. Yoga keeps my body in balance and helps me concentrate on what’s important in my life as well as keeping me physically well. Vinyasa improves my breathing while in motion, which is also important for my other physical endeavors. Also, my breathing is deeper, more cleansing. Right now I go to the Thrive Yoga once a week for an hour and a half, then practice solo once per week. After an injury which prevented me from doing my yoga, I realized I couldn’t live without it. Yoga is essential to every workout plan, brings great health, and prevents diseases.
Keeping the weight off has meant pushing my body beyond any notion I’ve ever had about working out and living with constant pain. I know I can’t stop. The recent research only encourages me to keep up my daily workout schedule.
The key is making it fun and social. In order to keep the weight off, find something you look forward to doing each day. For me it needs to be a variety. I need to balance the aggressiveness of kickboxing with the spiritual aspect of yoga and the cardio benefits of running. I’ve even combined the martial arts with yoga in a Budokon class. The important part is staying active.
Obviously I’ve built my workout over the course of six years. Listening to my body has led me to a complete routine. I pay attention to what I need and discovered a successful combination for my health and well-being.
But who knows, this summer I may start a completely different activity in conjunction with a more intense yoga practice. The trick is to keep it fresh and try new things, crazy things. Activities you watch and think you would never be able to do. That’s what will keep you happy and healthy.
What do you think you can’t do?
Part I of Weight and Exercising inspired by Gretchen Reynolds recent article, Weighing the Evidence on Exercise.