My Weekly Fitness Routine Includes More Than Walking

For years my fitness routine included only walking with a friend for thirty minutes three times a week. However, four years ago I needed physical therapy after cracking my tibia (leg bone.) During a therapy session I casually asked the therapist if walking three days a week was a good enough fitness routine.

Aerobic Exercises Not Enough

Shaking his head from side to side, he stared at me like I was crazy. “Women your age (at least he didn’t say old women, but, being as I am a retired grandma, I’m sure he thought it.) need a fitness routine that includes more than exercises for their cardiovascular systems. They also need stretching exercises, strength training, and balance exercises.”

Input from Physical Therapist

So after I recovered from my injury I joined the gym in which I received therapy. A huge benefit of my yearly membership fee is that it includes a session with a therapist every six months to check-out if my assigned exercises were still what I needed; change my exercises to ensure I don’t get bored using the same equipment; ensure that my routines include all four types of exercises during my three-times-a -week visits.

Aerobic Exercise Routine

  1. My routines begin with twenty-seven minutes of exercise that work the large muscles in my body and improve my heart and lung function. I begin with a 12-minute stint on the elliptical, using a 20-inch length step. I always attempt to walk more than 500 steps.
  2. Next, I do a right and then left leg hamstring stretch for 60 seconds each, and then a calf stretch, both legs together, for 60 seconds, followed by
  3. Fifteen minutes on the treadmill at 3.1 miles an hour for about 8/10s of a mile.

Strength Training Routine

  1. I use a trunk rotation machine set at 40 pounds and rotate 2 x 15 with my right and left arm. This exercise also stretches scar tissue across my chest received during a double mastectomy for breast cancer.
  2. I lift up above my head 3-pound weights in right and left hand 2 x 10 times.
  3. I hold a 2-pound medicine ball in both hands. I sit in a chair, pushing out my hips first, up and down 2 x 10 times.
  4. I set the leg extension machine at 30 pounds and lift the bar up with my legs 2 x 10 times.
  5. I set the rowing machine for 30 pounds and pull the rows 2 x 10 times.

Stretching Exercise Routine

  1. I stand facing a wall, my palms facing each other with my pinkie fingers against the wall, then stretch my arms up as far as I can and slide up and down 10 x 3 times.
  2. Holding a 5-foot wooden pole for balance, I place my foot in a circular, red exercise band that is hooked around a pole, and stretch the band outwards with my leg 10 times in four different directions with the right and left leg.

Balance Exercise Routine

I stand on the BOSU balance trainer for 30 seconds with both feet, then the right foot, and then the left foot. Repeat once.

I usually finish my fitness routine in about an hour, and enjoy knowing I am doing my best to keep fit and stay healthy.

My Fitness Routine: How Walking and Enjoying the Lake Paid Off

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.

Walking

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.

Swimming

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.