Where do you recommend they go from there?
Well, the easiest thing for most people is a walking program. It's convenient. It's low cost. You need a pair of walking shoes and you could walk out your door.

And that could be a very simple, not very intimidating way to start on just doing--start with 10, 15 minutes. I typically would have somebody go out and mark off a mile on a street. Take your car, mark off a mile and just see how fast you walk that mile. Don't try to push it further. You know, don't try to go extra hard. But see how you would typically walk that mile.

And then, what you do, too, is you'd come back and you'd say, "Okay, every day, I'm going to start taking off a little time off that mile." So if you are walking a 30-minute mile, which is extremely slow, but if you're walking it, say, "Okay, my goal is to do it in 28 minutes and then 25 minutes."

Then I would start adding some light weights to your program, a little bit of strength training. You only have to do it twice a week, and it only takes about 15 minutes to work every muscle in your body, to do about 10 repetitions.

So you could have some light weights at home, maybe a three-pound, maybe a five-pound set of weights. And you just go through a set of bicep curls, maybe an overhead press. And you do a few exercises that work your body. Does that sound complicated?

Not at all.
But even though I love to give guidelines to people, the biggest thing that I want people to do is move. So if somebody says, "You know what? I love square dancing. I love to go bowling." Then that is what I want you out there doing.

I want you moving because that is where the bottom line is. Got to get something that you enjoy, you enjoy doing it and then we build from there.

What would you say to people who start doing something like what you're describing, but they don’t see the results that they thought they would see?
When people are discouraged because they're not seeing the results that they want, I first of all go through and have them think about, Are you being realistic?

Secondly, tell me what you're doing right now because one of the things about exercise is that our bodies adapt to exercise.

But then beyond that, there is a point where you need to start practicing acceptance. And there's a point where you trust the process, and then you let go and you accept certain things about yourself. Part of it is starting to shift your focus to say, Let's look at what you like about your body, what you love about what you've been given. Accentuate the positive.

Have you ever experienced moments of discouragement?
Yes, it is a growth process for all of us, including for myself, of course. After I had my babies, my skin stretched a little bit. For me, it's still flat, but it still doesn't have the same kind of quality because, you know, there's an aging process. And there's a little bit of dimpling or there's a little bit of skin--and especially with aging.

And you know, at the point you can stay fixated on it and you can feel miserable about where you're at, or you can shift to, "Gosh, I feel so blessed to be able to go on this hike today, to be able to be hiking and to think that I have this strong body with these legs and this lung capacity that can be up on this hill and enjoying nature and being out and looking at the ocean and being with my friends and having an hour and a half where I can talk and relate and be thankful."

You just shift to gratitude for what you have. I mean, you think I have these great kids. So am I going to sit here and complain that my belly's not quite the same it was when I'm 25 years old and before I had kids?

Do you think fitness is ultimately a solitary pursuit, or does it depend on a sense of community?
I think it's an extremely important part of fitness to get involved with family, community, friends for your activities. Reason being is that it helps motivate you, starting with the very basic thing of when you have to get out and move, you're going to.

And there's days where it's like, "Oh, I don't want to do anything." And yet if you know that you're meeting friends and, again, you're not labeling, "I'm going out for a workout" when the idea is, '"I'm going out to meet Fran and Nina and we're going to go walk the neighborhood and catch up." It becomes something you really look forward to.

What are some spiritual techniques that might heighten the likelihood of someone sticking with a fitness program or feeling like they're succeeding?
Well, I think simple things, starting with your walks. If you go out for a walk, talk about the community and going with friends, but it's also very special to go out by yourself, and do a prayer walk. Go out, and on your breaths, find an affirmation that works for you, a prayer that works for you, a one line, like, "God, reveal yourself to me." Or it might even be just Our Father or Hail Mary or something--and as you go for your 30-minute walk, you are connecting with God, but then also with nature.

So as you go down the street, what I like to do is be very, very present on every step. So if you're going by a rose, if you're going by a palm tree, as you smell a gardenia, as you walk by a dog, as you just--everything that comes past you that's around you, the sky, the light, the moisture from the humidity on your face, whatever is touching you, feeling you, all your senses, you relate that to God and your gratitude for it and just the wonderment of it all.

Otherwise, I would say that there's just, before and after, whenever I'm on a hike and with friends, we do gratitude prayers at the top of a point where we always reach. So we do our Saturday hikes, and when we get to a point, we stop and we do a gratitude prayer.

Or actually it's not always a gratitude prayer. It could be a prayer for somebody, typically. And that'll be, you're on the walk and it's like, "Okay, we're all walking and we find out that Joyce's husband is going in for surgery " or something. And then you find a point, you sit and you do a prayer for that person.
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