A successful exercise and weight loss program is supposed to have two key features, or so I’m told:
1. Variety – it has to be interesting for a host of reasons that tap into emotional, psychological and physical benefits.
2. Lifestyle – it has to be all encompassing, not just an add on.
The Sweat Cards I’m developing for my 2013 Year of Sweat fulfill these two key success factors. So, in theory, I’m starting on the right footing.
The cards are divided into the four traditional suits.
The spade is a practical object, so this suit will cover existing activities that could handle an increase in pace or physicality. The list includes housework and home maintenance; the things I have to wash and clean around the house. It includes things associated with hobbies and pastimes; in my case, kneading blocks of clay. It includes those things that have been unnecessarily given over to mechanical help; walking up and down the eight flights of stairs at work?!
If you’re a gym joiner, go for it. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work long term for me. However, there are other clubs I could try – tennis, for example, or how about a land care or conservation group.
This suit will cover the circuit work – the exercises one sees on the TV infomercials for gym equipment. I’ve already bought an indoor training stand for the bicycle that hasn’t been ridden for years. My niece passed on an idea she heard … use the numbers on the cards to dictate the number of repetitions or minutes for each exercise. You’ll eventually draw a 10 to push you out of a comfort zone.
This is where it gets personal. Think back, over the years, and look for physical activities you enjoyed as a child or young adult. Perhaps you’ve seen something on TV or heard people talking about an activity you really want to try. For me, dancing is the first thing that springs to mind, followed quickly by walks in the bush. There’s a great set of bush trails in the hills nearby but I’ve avoided the more vertically orientated ones. Just using the idea of four suits taps into the many thousands of enjoyable hours playing card games with my family.
So far, I’ve mostly sweated over purchases and planning. I could jump into an exercise program without much thought and then fail. Or I could opt for the same approach that resulted in my success last year – gently ease into it, find some quality information to underpin decisions and build from the ground up.