For most Americans who don’t have active jobs – we are not all-mail carriers or lumberjacks, intentional activity is needed in addition to our everyday activities. Workout videos, dance videos, and exercise machines are endless in number but may be limited as to when and where they can be used. The one intentional activity that most of us can do almost anytime or anywhere is walk. If you must walk inside because it is too cold or too hot outside or for safety reasons, the AARP gives these general tips at their Web site (www.aarp.org).
- Shopping Malls. Malls often open early just so people can walk. Check the local mall for walking hours. There may even be a mall walking club that you can join.
- Schools. Many schools let community members use the gymnasium during off-hours. Also college and universities typically have indoor tracks and gymnasiums that are open to the public during certain hours.
- Museums. Enjoy some culture while walking through all the long halls in a museum. This is especially nice for leisurely walks.
- Convention Centers. These are large spaces open to the public. Just check first to see if an event is going on.
- Airports, Train Stations. Many airports and train stations have long halls to walk through and are open to the public every day of the week.
- Warehouse Stores. Walk up and down the isles of these hardware, discount, or supercenter store. Consider leaving your cash behind so you can focus on walking, not shopping! Or if you must shop – walk all the aisles before choosing your items.
- Your Office. If you work in a large office, take the stairs to a restroom on a different floor during your day. A few trips to the bathroom at the other end of the office can help the steps add up quicker.
- Your Home. Even if you don’t have a treadmill, you can clear off the floors to walk around rooms in your house, basement, or even garage. And don’t forget the stairs!
Walking could turn into jogging! Just think of that. If your knees that can take it, jogging picks up the workout! To begin, just pick up the pace. Remember the longer and more intense the activity, the more fat will be burned. Walking or jogging can be alternated with any other moderate activity just to keep it fun. There are zillions of workout videos on the market, ranging from kickboxing to belly dancing and everything in between. A good Web site that gives reviews is www.justaboutfitness.com.
In order to increase lean body mass, which is required for burning more calories, strength training can be alternated with aerobic activity. Remember also that aerobic activity and deep breathing help increase the lung’s capacity to deliver more oxygen to tissues for burning energy. Increased oxygen + more muscle mass = burning more calories, even at rest!
If you’d like to dig deeper into my journey of discovering God’s plan for health and wellness, check out my book, Made For Paradise: God’s Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest.