How To Stay Fit
This is for folks like ourselves. Folks who want to stay fit, but don’t know how. It’s a companion to “What Do You Eat?“, which is about tailoring your diet to achieve fitness and good health.
Please understand this this message comes with all standard disclaimers and warnings.
There… you have been warned. Proceed at your own discretion!
And please get your doctor’s opinion and advice before beginning ANY fitness training program!
So, how to stay fit when you only have a very limited time available every day for exercise?
That’s my challenge – as it is yours.
The routine described here takes me only 15 minutes daily (plus time spent on evening walks).
And it works.
I often feel fitter and more energetic today than I did in my 20s and 30s.
- I work for around 10 hours every day.
- I sleep well for 5 to 6 hours every night – without any meds.
- I’m on no prescription drugs.
- My blood pressure is 94/70 mm Hg, rises to 110/76 on exercise.
And this isn’t by accident, though I’m lucky that my gene pool is good. It’s because of a modest focus on staying fit and healthy.
What is my fitness routine?
Simple. Just 3 parts.
1. Surya namaskaram (yoga) in the morning – 5 to 7 min.
2. Weights training in the evening – 10 min.
3. Walking 5 times a week – 45 min.
Here are some more details.
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a simple, relatively easy exercise routine. Each cycle involves 13 steps. Many websites and videos describe the exercise.
In the beginning, my body felt stiff and inflexible – and I couldn’t do the procedure properly. Quickly, as my body adapted to it, things became easier. Now I’m able to flex enough to do it quite well.
This isn’t a contest to achieve maximum repetitions. Plus, who has that much time?!
So I limit my routine to 5 couplets, that is 10 cycles of the yoga, which takes 5 to 7 minutes in total. After every 2 couplets, I take a brief 30 second break.
The key to yoga isn’t rushing through the exercise, but also using the opportunity to relax your mind and be calm, breathe deeply and meditate as you exercise.
I do this in the morning, usually after catching up with news, social media and email but before breakfast. It leaves me energized and fresh to begin the day’s work.
Try it and see for yourself.
(CAUTION: See the disclaimer above, and be sure to check with your doctor about this before you begin. This is especially important if you have any diseases or conditions that might make this yoga dangerous!)
But be prepared to stick with it for at least a month before you decide – because the initial period may be a little uncomfortable as your body begins to bend in ways it isn’t used to!
2. Weights Training:
Even if you’ve never lifted weights in your life before (I hadn’t – except while carrying my toddler when her legs hurt – and that was over a decade earlier!), resistance training is important in middle age.
Reading this tidbit shocked me.
Inactive adults lose 1/2 lb. of muscle each year during their 30s and 40s. For people over 50, this rate can double to 1 lb. every year. During midlife years, people tend to lose 5 lbs. of muscle and gain 15 lbs. of fat every decade.
So while watching what you eat prevents fat building up around your belly, it still requires weights training to prevent muscle atrophy.
This exercise routine below is what I do.
(CAUTION: See the disclaimer above, and be sure to check with your doctor about this before you begin. This is especially important if you have any diseases or conditions, including high blood pressure or heart disease, that might make these exercises dangerous!)
You may prefer another routine. That’s fine.
You may even prefer working out in a gym than exercising at home. I’d rather save time and do it at home – but if you’re not easily motivated to exercise, paying for a gym membership could be the kick in your pants needed to get you going!
I bought a pair of dumbbells, with weights that can be added on. So the bar weighs 1 kg, and you can add on extra weights of 1 kg or 1.5 kg to it. It cost around Rs.1,200 each (around $20) – for a total investment of Rs.2,500 (beats a gym membership!)
This is my routine:
(Google the details of each exercise if you like, there are YouTube videos that demonstrate each one)
Upper Body Exercises: (6 to 8 repetitions of each)
1. Lateral raise
2. Bent over lateral raise
3. Dumbbell front raise
4. Bent over Y-raise
5. External rotation on side
7. Bench press
8. Military press
Lower Body and Belly Exercises:
1. Bodyweight prisoner squat – 10 repetitions
2. Squat thrust (countdown from 8 to 1, alternate with #3 below)
3. Dumbbell/Kettlebell swing (countdown from 8 to 1, alternate with #2 above)
How did I come up with this routine? I got it from a very nice guide called “Renegade Strength Club”. You can learn more about it from this review here: click.
Now, a serious weights trainer might laugh at this childish routine – but it works for me.
Look, I’m NOT trying to be like Arnold Schwartznegger. I just don’t want my muscles to waste away… and for that limited purpose, this routine is good enough.
What’s more, I don’t even do this daily. I do upper body exercises twice a week – and lower body 2 or 3 times a week.
Each routine takes 10 to 15 minutes. Anyone can find that much time for fitness – if you make it a high enough priority. I don’t care how busy you are, there’s time for 10 minutes in your life to keep from wasting away!
I started out with 2 kg. and as my long-rested muscles got used to it, I kept increasing it by 0.5 to 1 kg. until I could comfortably lift 5 kg.
To gain muscle, fitness coaches recommend going up to 15 to 25 kg. I’m terrified at the damage I’ll cause my body by trying! So 5 kg is my limit. I’ll stick with it – and enjoy the little bulges in my biceps and forearms 🙂
There’s absolutely no ambiguity about the benefits of walking as exercise. Everyone should walk – unless you don’t have feet.
(CAUTION: See the disclaimer above, and be sure to check with your doctor about walking before you begin. This is especially important if you have any diseases or conditions that might make walking dangerous for you!)
The speed at which you walk and the distance you cover may vary, but aim for 30 to 45 minutes a day, at least 4 times every week.
If your health permits, the ideal speed for a brisk walk is 4 to 5 kmph. Calculate it by walking over a measured or known distance and counting the time it takes. I see many people strolling gently along at a very casual pace. While that’s good for relaxing your mind and body, the health benefits are limited unless you speed up a bit.
I take a walk almost every evening with my daughter. We talk about several things, and time flies. Our walk often lasts an hour, and we cover 5 to 6 kilometers in that time.
- Where to walk? Wherever you can and like.
- When to walk? Whenever you find time. And when you’re most comfortable.
- How long to walk? 30 minutes or longer – unless you get exhausted or dizzy.
Never push yourself to walk longer than you’re comfortable, just to meet a “daily quota”. That’s the way many health problems arise. If it isn’t pleasurable, stop doing it!
How Long Does It Take To Stay Fit?
- Yoga: 10 minutes a day = 70 min/week
- Weights: 10 minutes a day = 50 min/week
- Walk: 45 minutes a day = 270 min/week
Total: 6.5 hours per week
A worthwhile investment to stay fit?
You tell me!
- Jason Ferruggia’s “Renegade Strength Club” – read review: click here
- 4 Easy Exercises To Lose Thigh Fat – read it now: click here
- 5 Quick Ways To Improve Wellness – read it now: click here
- Losing Belly Fat – Not a Walk in the Park – read it now: click here
- Shaun Hadsall’s “14 Day Rapid Fat Loss Plan” – read review: click here