Exercise: Just Move!

Just Move!

Get up, pour yourself some water, and put a couple things away that are lying around. Don't veg in front of that TV. Stand up, twist a few times, stretch to the ceiling, and—if no one's looking—throw a few punches, maybe practice that uppercut a bit. Do the movements you'd do if you were trying to wake up.

That feeling of being more awake is your metabolism revving up. You're kicking it up a notch so that you're burning more calories even if you sit back down.

Just Move!

We get lazy as we get older.

It's not really our fault. Things are just harder to do than they used to be. You may not even notice it (though many of us do). There are simple things you avoid that you would not have avoided a few years ago, when you had more energy.

We're going to cure some of that by exercise. Your energy is going to pick up, and your excitement about being healthy is going to increase. When others are around, you're going to be tempted to be the one to pop up and do something because you know you've got more energy than your friends.

Just Move and the Starvation Response

Are you dieting?

Then you've probably heard that if you eat too little your body will go into starvation mode. It will conserve energy by slowing your metabolism.

I don't believe it, and if it's true, I know for certain you can override it. I've dieted for months on end, counting calories to precision, and I could predict my weight to within a pound even if I waited a month to weigh myself.

My metabolism did not change

It takes energy to move. The laws of physics say that the only way your body can go into "starvation mode" and conserve energy is if it stops you from moving. If you start feeling lazy … move! Don't let your body talk you into sitting around!

I tried it. It works.

Some of it, though, you need to cure on purpose.

Every movement is exercise. The editor of Nutrition Journal said in a personal newsletter that even chewing gum burns calories. Even the American Heart Association entitled their guide to physical activity Just Move. (I didn't borrow the title of this page from them, however. I culled it from 30 years of reading both professional and popular fitness advice.)

So don't miss your opportunities.

"Just Move" Activities

Clean your room. Move things around in it. Pick that thing up off the floor that you would normally walk past. Pace while you're waiting for an appointment. Don't watch TV. Go visit a friend.

Or at least practice some karate kicks during the commercial.

That will loosen and strengthen your hips and help your balance, too.

Webmd's Fit-o-Meter says that a 190-lb. man burns 99 calories in a half hour of washing dishes. That's as much as jogging a mile.

Washing the car for half an hour is even better. That's 130 calories, well over a mile's worth of running. And you can really get going if you're painting the house. That's two jogging miles of calories, every half hour!

Think about it. If you help with a fundraiser and wash cars for three hours, you'll burn close to a thousand calories, even assuming that you're resting or waiting a quarter of the time. That's better than running 7 miles!!!

I know these things, and I'm not too worried about how I look in public, so when I'm waiting around is when I fit balance exercises, lunges, some forms of stretching, and some twisting for my back into my day.

An Interesting Story about "Just Moving"

One day at a gas station, I was doing some side-to-side "hop-two-threes" while I waited for my tank to fill. That's a Celtic dance step that's fun to do, and I'm trying to get my feet fast enough to do some of the high step tapping I've seen my kids do.

A lady leaving the gas station rolled down her window and called out to me, "Are you that cold?"

"I'm a little cold," I answered.

"You do know most people wouldn't do that in public, don't you?" she asked me.

"That's what my kids tell me," I answered.

"It's a sign of happiness," she said, and she drove off.

You don't have to dance in public (though I recommend it). You can, however, park further from the front door of the next store or office you drive to. You can take the stairs rather than the elevator the next time you're in a hotel (and your room's not too high up!). In fact, you can take an extra trip down and then back up. (No one will notice.) Keep the luggage in your hands when you do so.

Just move!

When you visit your friends, stand in the kitchen doorway and talk to them rather than getting sucked into a comfortable chair. If you're not that informal with your friend, find the least comfortable chair you can. That will keep you standing up here and there, sitting more upright rather than slouching, and keep your metabolism up a bit.

Moving is underrated. Reject laziness. Know that every time you move on purpose, standing all the way up, taking a couple steps, you keep your metabolism from going to sleep.

You might want to try my jogging tips over 40 page from here. It is an important foundation to a "just move" exercise program.

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