Finding and maintaining a fitness program that continues to challenge me yet also keeps my attention can be difficult. I have tried all kinds of fitness programs. Last fall I joined my local YMCA to use the elliptical for an hour and try a spinning class. Unfortunately, after the first two weeks of excitement about doing something healthy for myself, I lost interest and started making excuses. I ended up canceling my membership. Then I decided to just try dieting and drop the exercising all together. That obviously didn’t work very well because I was cutting my calorie intake, and I wasn’t replenishing my energy with the good feeling I get with exercise. Finally, my problem was solved. My husband and I moved last summer to a gorgeous little house on a lake, and that’s when my fitness routine really started.
I started walking two to three times daily; two of my walks were fitness-motivated, and the third was a quiet stroll after dinner with my husband. The first two walks varied in length from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. My goal was to “power walk” and raise my heart rate. I mapped out the distance of each of my routes, and then I used a stop watch to see how long that distance took me to walk. My average was 3.5 to 4.0 miles per hour for my fitness-motivated walks and 2.5-3.0 miles per hour for my stroll.
Summer in South Carolina is hot, and after a 45 minute power walk, nothing sounded better than going for a swim. Lucky for me, we have our own dock, and so I have lake access whenever I want it. More often than not my “swim” was more of a cool off float where I bobbed around for a while, but if I skipped a walk or decided to challenge myself, I would swim out to the cove entrance and back. I am not a great swimmer, so swimming did not burn a large amount of calories, but every little bit helps.
Monitoring Food Intake
Along with walking and swimming, I kept a food journal online at myfitnesspal.com. I didn’t beat myself up for going over on calories, but with all my walking and swimming, that rarely happened.
The results of my fitness routine have been astounding. Over the summer (June to August) I lost 18 pounds, 1″ off my arms, 3″ off my waist, and 2″ off my thighs. Add to that how much better I felt and how my clothes started to fit, and I would say I have found my perfect fitness routine. Of course with school starting in the fall, I let my routine slip, but I am excited to get back on task and regain the lost ground.