When I counsel people on weight loss, I say that a consistent exercise routine is 50% of a successful plan. Some never come back to see me if they refuse to exercise. Why do people hate it so much? The usual excuses (here are three of dozens that come up) just don't fly anymore:
- "I can't afford it" = There are gym memberships as low as $9.95 per month for basic membership or $19.95 with exercise classes included. If you consider how much you spend each week getting coffee or take-out lunches, gym fees like these are affordable with any income. Other options: If you enjoy dance fitness, ask a local Zumba instructor if they accept a sliding scale fee (pay what you can). I allow this for my drop-in Zumba classes, as do many instructors if you just ask. There are also endless free video resources at your local library or on YouTube (see below) and don't forget the great outdoors available 24/7.
- "I don't have the energy" = The biggest misconception of all. As long as you don't suffer from a heart or lung condition or fibromyalgia, exercise will almost always boost your energy. Being sedentary causes fatigue. But you do have to push past that mental block to get started.
- "I don't have time" = I'm sorry but you have to make time. If you take away 15 minutes from screen time or reading time or even sleep (you won't die!), you can fit in exercise.
In response to the excuses above, I may provide a link to a free exercise video on YouTube that I prescreen for safety. There's every possible type of exercise....dance, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, toning, strength, HIIT, barre...all of which can be done in your home at your preferred time. I encourage an activity someone likes and starting with 10-15 minutes of the video, then adding more minutes each week.
The clear downside is safety, as no one is watching to make sure you do the moves correctly and don't hurt yourself. You're also accountable to yourself to do it consistently. Below is a low impact chair workout that may be useful for those with sensitive knees or back. I performed the whole video and provided my two cents below. Although I'm a certified exercise instructor, I don't have the extensive training of an exercise physiologist, physical therapist or personal trainer, so again it's just my two cents!
- Love the seated exercises that are no or low impact. Minimal space and no extra equipment needed. This really is a no-excuses workout!
- My heart rate went up and the intensity was good—I sweated. Easy to follow movements.
- Works most of the major muscle groups. The ab exercises are challenging!
- No modifications offered. You'll notice that everyone in the video looks fit and the same shape. I'm surprised that a chair video would not feature at least one person who is larger, older or less fit so that modifications could be shown.
- Many of the exercises start slowly and then go faster to double time. The faster tempo seems almost too fast. When you go faster, you need to make the movements smaller/tighter. Even then, faster often means losing proper form. Some of the exercises at the fast pace actually caused some hip discomfort but that was just my body.
- Would have liked more comments from Blanks on good form, for new exercisers performing the video. What is the target muscle(s) for each exercise? For example with the roundhouse kicks, how high should the knee be? Would the move be as effective if you kept the side knee/leg lower below the hip? If you keep the knee high, you feel the outer thigh working; if you lower the knee, the intensity drops and your leg feels like it is simply flailing.
This is deceptively not a beginner-level workout though most of it is seated and easy to follow. I'd still suggest this video for those newer to exercise, but to do only the seated movements and keep the tempo at the initial slower pace. Also start with 10 minutes and gradually add more time. As always, listen to your body and if anything causes sharp pain, back off. The nice thing about this video is that it introduces seated movements that someone could remember and do on their own, say while watching television...during commercial breaks!