Barbara: How to change–clone the good


Let’s get back to our exercise discussion. A couple of days ago, I read an article about creating positive change that was very wise.  How to Change When Change is Hard.   It’s an excellent article all the way through, citing some intriguing examples.

Find a bright spot and clone it.

That’s the first step to fixing everything from addiction to corporate malaise to malnutrition. A problem may look hopelessly complex. But there’s a game plan that can yield movement on even the toughest issues. And it starts with locating a bright spot — a ray of hope.

How does this apply to exercise? We all know we need more of it.  It seems hard. It seems like a lot of trouble–and frankly, it sometimes is.  If you want to get to a class, you have to plan ahead, carve out time, have clothes ready, maybe special equipment. If you swim, you need to know the hours of the pool or when there are lap lanes available, or you need to get to the lake or the ocean.  With a swimming suit, preferably. I have to have goggles to swim.  If I hike, I need my good shoes and a Camelback and heavy-duty sunglasses, and a companion.
So, yeah, time and planning, when life seems complicated and overwhelming enough as it is, right?  Instead, maybe we need to look for bright spots in our exercise routines. What has worked for even a minute? What is something that makes you feel good? What seems like it might be a bright spot?
What might be a way you are exercising that doesn’t feel hard or overwhelming?
I was thinking about Jenny’s house rennovations. That’s a lot of exercise. Bending, twisting, carrying moving from one end of the room or house to the other, hammering, painting, sawing. It’s a great workout!
Lately, I haven’t been exercising as much as I usually do.  I’ve had a very full schedule and I really need to finish the book rushing through me before I leave on a trip to the UK in eight days. I’m feeling anxious about that “lack of exercise” because it’s my magic bullet in terms of eating what I want. If I don’t exercise, I have to cut calories, and I HATE cutting calories.
What are my brights spots? I like to walk in the morning with my dog. We do this six days a week.  It’s pleasant if not particularly aerobic. It gets my brain into gear.   If I cloned that, what would it look like?
Maybe once or twice a week, I could walk by myself in the evening. I used to do that quite a bit. There are some gorgeous places to walk around here. Garden of the Gods, anyone?  I could even walk around my own neighborhood in the evenings, at least until the time change. I love doing that! Love walking alone, with my thoughts.  Sometimes, I used to walk for ten miles on a trail that runs along the Front Range, with my music and my Camelback.  Yes, that would be a good clone.
Another bright spot: I love my trainer.  But I don’t want to pay him for 2 sessions a week.  Too expensive.  I could work out with weights on my own….but the truth is, I won’t. I don’t find it enjoyable enough without the company of another person.
Bright spot #3–Zumba.  I never liked aerobics classes. They made me feel uncoordinated and strange, but I really really really love dancing, and Zumba is an absolute blast. I go on Saturday mornings.  They have about 20 other classes each week.  I bet I could find one more that would suit me.  Yes, that would be a good clone, too.
What are some of your bright spots? What might you do to clone them to get more exercise into your week?

35 thoughts on “Barbara: How to change–clone the good

  1. This is a hard one. Lately I’ve been walking 20 min in the sunshine 3x a week and doing a 30 minute routine designed to create after burn and work out my arm muscles and my stomach 3x a week.
    Of the 6 workouts planned I usually manage to do 5. I’ve scheduled Saturday off because that is my long day at work and the day gets away from me. Most of the time it is Friday’s workouts that I miss for whatever reason. This week I missed Monday. And I didn’t want to do Tuesday. I can’t remember what got me there, but I did it. I do remember what kept me there for 35 minutes instead of 30 – music.
    I don’t know what I am doing successfully that I can clone. I’ll have to think on that.
    Brilliant idea, though.

  2. My first thought is the walks with the dog. We take one good turn around the neighborhood, but there’s no reason we couldn’t take two trips around. Especially now that the weather is more tolerable.

    Next week I’m joining the rec center. (Awaiting the funds to do so.) Then I have to figure out when I can get there and what to do once I’m there. I know most of the classes are weekdays while I’m at work, but am hoping there’s a weekend class. My knees don’t allow the Zumba, which is a bummer. I too love to dance.

  3. I’m ready to get back into swimming. No place to go right now, the book is in its early stages which always benefits from swimming. I think I’m ready to make a commitment. And dammit, I can open that “sitting with the oldies” DVD I’ve got somewhere (seated exercises which will at least help cardio and muscles).
    I got masses of exercise this summer with the play (falling down nightly) but damn, it hurt! I need stretching and I need cardio.
    I need the pool!

  4. Cindy says:

    I have been working out to Pilates, yoga, ballet or strength training for 45 mins in the morning 3 days a week by myself. And I do cardio two days a week fo about 30-45 mins in the morning. In the afternoon I fit in 30 minutes with my daughters, we reverse it. So if I did cardio on my own, we do ballet, and if I did strength we do cardio.

    We do workout videos on YouTube, I purchase new DVDs every couple of months. It keeps things fresh. As soon as it cools off we plan on walking for cardio in the afternoon.

  5. I’ve stuck to my daily gardening commitment all spring/summer, and it’s been great for me AND for the garden. I’m not sure how to clone that for winter, though. I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to learn Tai Chi, and this could be the right time for it. It’s a similarly small commitment (my garden commitment is only 15 minutes daily, but I end up doing more), since I can do just 15 minutes of the Tai Chi DVD while I’m learning the movements, and I think the whole thing (one full cycle of the moves) only takes that much time once it’s mastered. So, okay, it’s the time factor I can clone, as opposed to the specific location and activity.

    Anyone have a good Tai Chi DVD to recommend? Because that’s my next hang-up: choosing among all the possibilities.

  6. I’ve gotten worse and worse with the exercise since I developed a (female/urinary area) issue that makes it painful to move. I had to give up walking and the Bollywood dance videos that worked so well for me.

    Recently, I’ve gone back to doing my Tai Chi, since the meditative quality of it seems to allow me to put aside the pain. I either need to do it twice a day, or for longer, or find a way to use that meditative quality to be able to do some other form of exercise.

  7. Well, I committed to walking around the block on the two days a week I’m in the office. I actually do it! And I walk more than around the block, more like 2-3 blocks. But when I’m home? I tend to find reasons not to walk around the block, even though it’s no more of a chore than when I’m at work, and at work it’s no chore. Except that at home, I’m in yoga pants and barefoot, so I have to change to outdoor clothes and shoes and socks. So maybe if I make that easier somehow.

    Mary Stella provided the link to the 7-minute workout and I want to try that. It might hurt to do it, but it’s only for 7 minutes. I just have to make some space for it and try to not wake up my lightly sleeping housemates. Or do it in the afternoon.

    Basically, my housemates don’t exercise either and I can’t ever drag them out for walks. Their presence is more encouraging toward sloth than to activity. 🙂

  8. I’ve been going to Curves for years, at least 3X a week, on the other days I ride the indoor bike and do a few weights and abs. BUT I used to walk the dog twice a day and never thought of it as exercise. Now without a dog for two years, the weight is hard to get off. I’ve reached one of those awful plateaus. I love walking in nature, and prefer to go alone, but now I don’t make the time, sometimes because of the desert heat, but mostly because it isn’t foremost in my mind. If I woke up one hour earlier I could get out before the heat, but I love my bed too much. : )
    So, for me the walking would be the area to focus on.

  9. Cindy says:

    There is a really good workout DVD website, You can view videos by category, and you can see reviews and watch video clips before purchasing. They have a “Workout Type” button/link on the left navigation, and when you click it, it has a section for Yoga/Stretch/Tai Chi.

  10. Moving right after I get up. I used to stretch and do PT as I drank my coffee, then stopped when I blew out my ankle. That was years ago, and I have no excuse not to do that again. Coffee cup can sit someplace where dogs can’t enjoy it, but I can still reach. My new way of doing everything seems to be to sneak up on it rather than to attack it face on, so I’m going to go think on ways to sneak up on more exercise that won’t trigger painstorms. Thank you muchly for the prompt!

  11. Dance. It’s always been dancing for me that gets me moving and sweating and NEVER feels like working out. And when I dance, I’m not fat; I’m awesome and powerful and graceful and sexy. I take ballroom dance lessons one day a week, but I think I need to crank the music and dance around my house a little bit every day.

  12. Not about exercise, per se, but your comment about ballroom made me think of this: I just finished reading the first two of Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series, which feature a Buffy (vampire slayer) style protagonist who uses her ballroom dancing skills to defeat the bad guys. I don’t know if you enjoy urban fantasy, but if so, you might get a kick out of them: Discount Armageddon and Blue Light Special (I might have the second title wrong, but it’s something like that). Maybe as a reward for committing to (and actually doing) the daily dancing.

  13. Kelly S says:

    Last year I got two coworkers to have our meetings while walking. One has fallen off during the winter and we failed to get back on track this summer. I need to get her back to walking with me. I’ve added a third but I’d really like to have one per day.

  14. MJ says:

    Thanks for the link to a great article, Barbara. That “catch yourself being good” idea applies to so many things.

  15. In my neighborhood it would be perfectly acceptable to walk around the block in yoga pants and walking sandals. Maybe it would be okay in yours, too?

    The 7 minute workout is such a good idea.

    Cheering you for the walks you’re doing!

  16. Hannah says:

    I’ll have to try this approach! I love zumba also, but my knees won’t let me do it anymore. Can’t do the treadmill or elliptical, but can still do the bike, which I do but it’s nowhere near as fun as zumba. Love to swim but the open hours at my Y are so inconvenient, and pretty soon we’ll close our pool for the winter. But I’ve been doing physical therapy for my knees for about a month, and I imagine it’s something like working with a personal trainer. Now I can see why people like to do that.

  17. Micki says:

    That’s a great article. I can certainly apply it to the dayjob. Applying it to the exercise, though . . . need to find a group of women who have lost 80 pounds and kept it off happily. There are SO many featured in the pages of a certain magazine . . . .

  18. Redwood Kim says:

    I’m in my gym clothes and I’m ready to head back! It’s been a loooonnnnnggg 4 weeks off to recover from gallbladder surgery (which went very well and once again, thanks for the encouragement.) I can’t wait.

  19. Gin – I like Qigong better even than Tai Chi. It’s easier on the body. I know that Daisy Lee and Francesco Garripoli out of Hawaii made some videos. I had one that I followed for a long time.

  20. KellyReeder says:

    Skye, no one will look twice at yoga pants in our neck of the woods. I have slide on sketchers for when I’m really lazy. They are basically backless tennis shoes which are good for a stroll. They provide decent support, just know that if you go too fast the friction makes blisters, since you get a little foot slide due to the backless nature of the shoe. Should be okay for a walk around the block though!

  21. Have you tried Zumba Gold? It takes out any of the high impact moves from the regular Zumba routines. I usually can’t get to Zumba Gold, but I’ve adapted moves from regular Zumba so that I don’t hurt my knee. I still get all of the benefits.

  22. For several months, my exercise routine has been a Zumba class a week, two Tai Chi classes a week (Taoist Tai Chi is the form I study. There are many branches of the society throughout the U.S.) plus doing the set either with friends at work or on my own at home almost daily, plus daily or twice daily walks with the dogs. I also water jog in the pool when I can.

    When I compare this to my sedentary lifestyle pre-weight loss, I’m amazed. Yet, I feel like I need to do more. The challenge is that I cannot fit one more class or exercise experience that I need to go to in my schedule — unless I could manage to haul my butt out of bed at 5 a.m. and go to a gym. I hate working out at a gym. I wish someone would reopen a Curves. That I would do in a heartbeat.

    I bought a home Pilates machine, but it doesn’t appear to be for me, so I’m trying to sell it. I just invested in a resistance band toning program because that’s strength training I can do without a lot of room.

    Rather than drive myself insane, I’ve pulled out my old Walk Away the Pounds DVDs. No matter how busy I am, I can manage 15 minutes for the brisk one mile. I usually can fit in the two mile version on most days, even if I do it later in the evening.

    The point is that the DVDs make the exercise convenient and adaptable to my schedule. On my busiest days, I try to remember to not let the little I can do keep me from doing the little I can do.

    Plenty of fitness people now say that two 15-minute periods of exercise are as good as one 30 minute stretch. Again, that kind of time flexibility makes it easier.

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