Workout Tip #4: Work Out Without Working Out

Sometimes you don’t have to “work out” to get a work out. In fact, some of the best fitness moments I can remember were times when I got lost in the fun and had a great workout to boot. I remember in high school playing pickup basketball for hours with friends. We played aggressive and rarely stopped for breaks. The sheer fun and competition were excellent and I burned more calories in those 2-3 (sometimes 4) hours than I would have in a gym. And, the experience was much more memorable.

Last week, I watched this principle in action when I went to Cedar Point with my school. I walked around a huge amusement park in hot weather, logging nearly 17.000 steps on my pedometer! I was way too tired to go to the gym afterward or even move really! Yet, I didn’t need to because it was an incredible workout and also incredible fun. I also got paid since I was technically working! Not bad.

So, find those ways to work out without really “working out.” They’ll make you fitter, healthier, and happier.

How to Lose Weight: #14 Get a Pedometer

At work, new students always ask me, “what is that black box on your belt?” Then I get a chance to explain to them what a pedometer is. They usually ask “why do you have one?” I usually tell them it is because I like to be active and get a lot of exercise, and it helps me do this. Once they are familiar with it, the kids usually ask me how many steps I’ve gotten that day.

For those of you who might not know what it is, a pedometer measures the number of steps a person takes in a day. Most nicer ones also calculate mileage and calories burned, based on how you program it. Pedometers are a nice way to keep track of your daily activity level. I think every dieter should get one, at the least to accurately know how many – or how few – steps you are getting in a day.

Experts recommend getting 10,000 steps a day for weight loss and weight maintenance. Based on my stride, that’s about 4.5 miles a day. Personally, I try to get at least 10,000 steps a day every day, not including intense aerobic exercise. The reason I don’t count my aerobic exercise is that I want to be active enough independent of that to keep the weight off.

The most steps I ever got was around 22,000-24,000, when I visited Washington D.C. with students, and at the National Catholic Youth Conference last year. That amounted to about 10 miles if I recall correctly. I was on the move constantly at those events. The most steps I tended to get regularly were the 12,000-14,000 steps I got on days that I subbed in kindergarten classes. You sure have to move a lot to keep up with the young kids!

My Second How to Lose Weight Tip: Move Every Chance You Get, is related to this post. In that post, I suggested that one key to losing weight is being active constantly. Below are some of the tips I listed in that post. Wearing a pedometer gives you pretty precise control over your activity level, and allows you to gauge whether or not you need to be a little more active for the day or not:

– Take the stairs instead of the elevator

– Instead of circling around looking for a parking spot, park out and walk

– When you go shopping, keep moving, and move quickly

– Walk to stores, places, etc, that are within walking distance, instead of driving

– Get out and do activities with family and friends; do something that requires activity (for example, going to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins, as seen in the above photo).

– Stand and move at work (you may have to get creative, depending on your line of work). As a teacher, I try to move a lot when I teach; it keeps the kids interested and allows me to burn more calories

– When waiting for someone or something, don’t sit; get out and walk

The image is of my pedometer, before the evening walk, which means I hadn’t quite attained 10,000 steps