The Easy Way to Lose Weight
Week 2 of the Naughty Challenge
When I lived in London and Paris, it was so easy to stay in shape without having to work out. Why? Because Europeans walk everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Not just for 30 minutes here and there, but anywhere from 4-8 hours, sometimes. It's so easy to just walk everywhere in Europe, because the cities and towns are more compact. But in the States, with bigger, more complicated road networks and purpose-built urbanization, the car is king, and is often the easiest way to get places.
But there are ways to live like Europeans, without actually living there. If you live in the big cities, like New York, San Francisco, D.C. and Chicago, then you won't have a problem walking from A to B (and it's often quicker than driving anyway). But many Americans don't live in big cities, and they have to use their cars to get everywhere. Even in L.A., where I live, I can spend far too long just sitting in traffic, but it's often the only way I can get to where I need to go.
So how do you work out without really working out? Easy! Don't just rely on gym time and the cardio machines, get outside and start walking instead! Some people hate the gym, and I understand that, so it's important to know that you don't have to spend five nights a week doing something you hate, just to lose weight, gain energy, and look fabulous. Along with swimming, walking is one of the most simple and best workouts for you, especially as you get older. It works your legs, your joints, and gets your heart pumping. It's also low impact. Follow these tips to get yourself into the walking habit, and in no time, you're going to feel fitter, happier and healthier.
1. Vary your speed
Just like in the gym, where you have machines that you can alter for time and speed, think of walking being on one, giant machine. It's up to you how fast you go, and how far you go, but to avoid repetition, it's a good idea to vary your speed, so you give your heart and your body a proper workout. You don't want your body to settle into a normal routine that doesn't challenge it, so try speed-walking for 10 minutes, then slow down for 5, and pick it up again for another 10. This way, your heart will be forced to change it's rhythm and really work itself, and that's going to make it stronger.
2. Carry small weights
To make your heart really work, carry a couple of small weights in each hand as you walk, swinging them as you go. This not only pumps the heart, but tones your arms at the same time. Win-win!
3. Change your journey
Just like being in the gym, it can get boring if you're walking the same route all the time, and this can lead to apathy, which itself leads to giving up altogether. Try and change your journey every couple of weeks, or work out half a dozen different routes that you do on different days, to mix things up a bit.
4. Park further from the store entrance
You might be a busy mom, or just not have time to fit in a proper walk every day. But there are other, small things you can incorporate into your daily routine, to add a little bit of exercise. If you're running an errand, or dropping the kids off, park a little further away from where you usually would, and make the most of the few extra yards of walking. It might not seem like much, but every little bit of exercise adds up.
5. Take the stairs
All of us have to walk stairs at some point during the day. If you spend a lot of your time at home, then make a point of using your in-built cardio machine - the stairs! - to get a few more minutes of exercise in each day. If you're in the office, ditch the elevator, and use the stairs instead. Same if you're at the mall. Don't be lazy, and get those legs - and your heart - working, even if it's just for a few minutes.
6. Get up from the desk
It's so easy to just sit there at work and watch the hours go by, but this is so bad for us on many levels. Not only are you not getting any exercise, but your posture will be affected, and that leads to muscle and joint pain, back problems, sleep problems, and lethargy. If you're desk-bound at work, get up every hour for five minutes and walk somewhere, even if it's just to the bathroom and back. The number of people suffering from DVT (deep-vein thrombosis), which only used to affect passengers on long haul airplane flights, is increasing dramatically. Basically, if you don't move for hours on end, your blood circulation slows down and you run the risk of forming clots, which can kill you. Sounds dramatic, but your heart needs you to keep moving as much as possible.
7. Exploit what's around you
You might live near a park, or in the countryside, and even if you're a city girl, there are lots of places to go walking, if you really look. Often, we don't realize what's on our own doorsteps, because we never look properly, and that's because we're always in the car, or we're just too busy to stop and smell the coffee. Take time out to put your sneakers on and get out onto the streets. Just walk wherever the mood takes you, you don't even need to have a route. I guarantee that it won't be long before you come across some beautiful wide open spaces that are just great for strolling around and getting that heart pumping. Even if you live by a freeway or in an apartment block, there is always somewhere to walk to.
8. Get a stroller
You might be a busy mom who just doesn't have time to go walking when you have kids to run around after, but you're missing a trick. Use the kids as your reason to get out there. If you have babies, buy a stroller that's fit for the purpose - that is, a stroller that's light and easy to push, so you can use it as a walking aid. Don't just use the stroller as a receptacle for your child, use it as a piece of cardio equipment that will take you on a long, heart-pumping work out around your neighborhood or around the mall. Strollers are great for letting you walk to a rhythm, they're like ready-made walking machines, so make the most of them.
Again, for busy moms, it's easy to just spend your kids' playtimes sitting by the side and watching them. At home, in the den, or out in the playground, how many times do you just sit there and watch as they play on the swings, the slide, or just go generally fooling around? Instead, join in with them! Kids have so much energy, and they could be sharing that with you. After you've seen your kids expend that energy in the park or doing sports, they sleep better and are calmer later on, right? So there's no reason it can't be the same for you. Join in with them, and actively participate in their playtime. You'll be burning calories, working your heart, and bonding with your kids.
10. Clean your way to fitness
One of my favorite ways to stay fit is to really go to town on my cleaning. Think about it. Cleaning your house involves considerable exertion - pushing the vacuum, scrubbing tiles, washing dishes...whatever it is, it involves using a great deal of energy, so use this as a way to work out. You could even put music on and clean-to-the-beat. Cleaning always makes me sweat, so really, it's like going to the gym. You can tone your arms, your legs, stretch those muscles and burn calories, just by cleaning.
It all adds up! - this isn't about insisting you put aside an hour every day for intense exercise, or making you join a gym. It's about getting you into the mindset that any amount of cardio work you can do each day, is going to make a difference. A 5 minute power walk on your way to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking the long way round to the store, it will all add up over the course of a week, and you'll be surprised at the total amount of time you've spent exercising, when you didn't even realize it. And this will make you want to do more. Exercise should never be a chore, so study all these different ways of making a difference to your heart, and see and feel the results within weeks.
This first week was about moving more...this week it's about getting out and walking more. So pick two of the things I mentioned above and do them this week. Don't try too many, just two or three so you'll do them and not feel bad about yourself if you don't.
Week 3 - Shake Your Booty To Weight Loss
Stay tuned for next week...
- Sienna Sinclaire® - Naughty Lifestyle Guide - Los Angeles Dating & Sex Coach