TAKING MY EXERCISING UP A NOTCH

When you know in your heart (and your waistline) that you need to up your exercise

FITNESS QUEEN (OR NOT)

I'd love to tell you that the photo above is me at the gym. I'd love to tell you that I am the Queen of Midlife Fitness. I'd love to tell you that I can't wait to get out of bed every morning so that I can run 10km before I eat my raw muesli and drink my green smoothie. But if I told you any of those things I'd be lying through my teeth.

The fact of the matter is that I really dislike exercise. I've read lots of articles and blog
posts on the benefits of regular exercise, in fact my blogging buddy Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond is an amazing advocate for running and yoga and having a personal trainer. She is in superb physical condition and runs marathons regularly. Me on the other hand, not so much.

THOSE GOOD OLD DAYS

I think I got away with avoiding a regular exercise program for decades because I was naturally tall and slim. I ate sensibly and kept active and that was all I needed. Then Midlife hit and caught me unawares. The eating part didn't change much (maybe a few more snacks than previously - but not a huge change) but the weight started sneaking on. Only a kilo here and there and nothing to be too worried about, but I knew I needed to do something to keep it at bay.

AND THE EXERCISING BEGINS

I took it on myself to start walking regularly and I have surprised myself with the fact that I've actually kept up a daily walk for the last three years. The trouble is that it's not enough. So I started thinking about what else I could do. I tried running - really bad idea because I have no natural co-ordination and I just get red in the face, and look awkward as I huff and puff down the street. I'm sure it would get easier if I persevererd but I hated it and knew I'd never get to the point where it was enjoyable - and therefore sustainable.

UPPING THE ANTE

I've thought about the gym but all those sweating, heaving bodies under one roof and the fact that I have to pay wads of my hard earned cash to join in with them just made me feel a little bit ill. I know I will never have the motivation to get in my car at 6.00am and drive to a gym to run on a treadmill with a group of perspiring strangers.


Too many sweaty bodies for my taste
Too many sweaty bodies for my taste

I know I could take up swimming in our local over-chlorinated indoor pool, or find a yoga class (where my lack of co-ordination would really show itself in all its glory), or find a personal trainer - who I really can't afford and (in all honesty) I don't want to be told by some uber-fit person to "hit the floor and give them twenty" - it has too much of an army camp feel to it and I'm too old to join the army!

THE ANSWER?

So my answer to all of this was to spend some of the dollars I've saved from the gym memberships I never bought and the personal trainers I never paid, and spend them on a supersonic elliptical machine that I can use in the comfort of my own home. I'm not saying that I will use it every day, but if I use it a few times a week on top of my walking then I'm at least heading in the right direction. 

our new home gym - the answer to my lack of exericise motivation?
The new home "gym"

The problem was "where do I put it?" and although in front of the TV sounded good, having a giant machine slap bang in the middle of my theatre room didn't really appeal. So, we took the plunge and converted one of our bedrooms into a "gym" - somewhere for my husband's Chuck Norris Total Gym (something else I tried and hated) and our new elliptical machine to go where they are easy to access and don't get in the way of the rest of our life.

RESULTS???

I'm really hoping that I'll see some results from this rather expensive piece of equipment. I'm hoping that the concept of walking (which I actually quite enjoy) will translate well to this type of indoor exercising. I'm also looking forward to not going outside on the freezing cold, dark mornings before work to do my walking - the idea of doing it inside in a warmish room and not being rained on definitely holds some appeal.

Stay tuned to see if I can keep up my new exercise resolution. I'm a bit worried that my super fit husband will be the only one using it in a few months - but just the fact that it cost me so much money might inspire me to keep plugging away. Also the fact that those pesky Midlife kilos keep creeping on might be incentive to stick it out to see if it makes a difference.

What are you doing to fight the dreaded Midlife Spread?

When you know in your heart (and your waistline) that you need to up your exercise

51 comments

  1. Good for you! Three years of daily walking is fantastic! I am going to the gym and only on day 7 even though the membership is a year old. Lol Like you, I was always tall and super thin but I was always able to eat all the junk I wanted. It is really catching up to me now and I hope to reverse at least some of my metabolism slow down. Good luck with your new machine!

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    1. Thanks Elena - we got dealt a good hand when it came to body shape didn't we? The shame of it all is that things slow down a bit at 25 but they take a real hit over 50. I guess we have to suck it up and fight the good fight - glad I'm not alone :)

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  2. I love the candidness of your posts, Leanne. I, too, have been naturally tall and thin....and extremely uncoordinated. Walking is my favorite physical activity. I also supplement this with yoga and the ladies' gym. Please keep us posted on how your 'home gym' goes.

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    1. It's nice to know there are other tall girls out there Donna - sometimes I feel like I'm the only one amongst the tiny petite women I'm surrounded by! You are another one of my fit and happy inspirational bloggers - hopefully I'll manage to keep it up and join you all x

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  3. I'm enjoying my return to running as I found walking wasn't nough for me. I try to walk and run on alternate days and it seems to be working. Good luck with your new piece of equipment I hope it helps you out.

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    1. I wish I was a runner Deb - it would be so nice to have that "runner's high" that people talk about and to be able to keep fit and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be my forte - so hopefully the machine will help a little along the way.

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  4. I have always been a "runner" (more of a run / walk / lobber) but have recently gotten hooked on spin class. Love it and because I do it with a good friend I actually HAVE to go. I need that accountability to see success.

    #aim

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    1. Another runner I can envy Kristin! I used to go swimming with a friend years ago - it certainly made me more accountable because I never would have gone regularly by myself (and haven't since she moved away!)

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  5. I, too, have purchased a large machine which I put on one side of our formal living room - It was to large for anywhere else (It seems I don't judge size/distance/area well when measuring in my mind...) It's perfect for me because I do not like going to a gym; I'm not a group fitness person (although I do go to the occasional yoga class) We live where it's often too hot, too cold, too snowy, or too rainy to walk outside. I love having the machine, and as it turns out, having that expense staring me in the face as I drink my morning coffee is just the encouragement I need to use it regularly! Good for you for making your own investment - I can't wait to read an update.

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    1. Melody I think we might be kindred spirits - we certainly have a lot in common (including our giant walking machines!) I've used mine for my pre-work morning walks this week and it's been so nice not being outside in the cold and the dark - I'll keep you posted and hope I maintain my enthusiasm!

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  6. You;'re an amazing imspiration to all of us. I'm dead serious about that.
    Carol Cassara

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    1. Carol that was a lovely thing to say! I feel like such a fitness failure at times so I'm hoping this might be the beginning of shifting that midline pooch that has taken over in the last few years!

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  7. Was it Mary Poppins who said: Well begun is half done? So... Well done, you!
    I have a stationary bike that I ride. My incentive? I watch an episode of a TV series that I couldn't be bothered watching when it was an actual 'on air' series. My daughter and I worked our way through Gilmore Girls. And now are finishing Grey's Anatomy. And Bones. Works for me! :) Good luck!

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    1. I thought about putting this machine in front of the TV Diane but it's so big that it would be like having an elephant in the room. I've been putting on music and hoping that inspires me to keep up the pace. I love that you have found your perfect activity - hopefully this is mine!

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  8. I'm not a fan of running, the gym, or elliptical machines either so my workouts are stuff I enjoy doing. Why exercise if you don't enjoy it right? I do dancing, yoga, hiking, swimming during the summer, and I'm still trying to save up money to do some sort of martial arts class because I love martial arts. I used to do Tae Kwon Doe in my early twenties. All of this stuff doesn't make me super fit but it does boost my metabolism and I get more energy throughout the day to keep up with my kids. It also just makes me feel really good. Good on you for doing these things though. You keep trying and as long as you try you're never really going to fail. You'll find what suits you.

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    1. You are absolutely right about finding stuff you enjoy doing Michelle - my problem has always been that I enjoy sitting on my bottom more than I enjoy moving around! I tried a few other things like Zumba but my co-ordination is an embarrassment to me! Hopefully staying upright and walking will be manageable in the long term :)

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  9. I related to all of this, particularly the gym turn-off and the general "I just don't like exercise," disclosure.

    I did exactly the same thing. I put a treadmill and a few weights in a corner of our basement, closed it off with a couple of bamboo barriers, and added a table and lamp which made it an instantly cozy and inviting space. My deal with myself is that I can use the space to meditate if I spend a little time on the equipment.

    You might find like I did, that if there is a pleasurable experience paired with the drudgery of the exercise, you'll go back.

    Good luck.

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    1. Yours sounds lovely Susan - I left the sideboard in the room - it's nice to look at a few pretty ornaments or out the window that's nearby to help make the experience less dreary. It's nice to know that it works for others because that motivates me to keep plugging away - hopefully with some results.

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  10. Leanne, I find in addition to walking, yoga helps a lot. Its not for everyone, but if you haven't already, you should give it a try.

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    1. There are a lot of Midlife yoga fans out there Laurie and I think that's because it is such a great way to stay flexible at our age and stage. I've been looking around for a class locally so I can learn to do it properly but no luck so far.

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  11. It is as though you write this for me. I have never liked to exercise. I have never had horrible or amazing eating habits. I weighed the exact same from high school until about 18 months ago. And now it feels impossible to change. *sigh* but I'm trying. Little at a time.

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    1. Wouldn't it be lovely to be one of those people who can't wait to go for their morning run? I envy them so much! I'm annoyed that my luck didn't hold with the eating/minor exercise balance - I refuse to live on lettuce so I guess this is the only alternative - short of having the fat sucked out by a surgeon!!

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  12. Good or you Leanne! I think you will enjoy the benefits and also the convenience of having your own home gym especially on rainy days. It is all about trying to find an exercise routine that works for us. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women in midlife hide behind the 'I don't have time' or 'We should just be happy with how we look' excuses for not exercising. In reality we need to look at the health benefits which are so important as we age. Keep up the good work!
    http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

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    1. That's so true Sue, there's an element of accepting how we look and not beating ourselves up over the aging process, but we also have a responsibility to our bodies to eat healthy and keep moving. It's so easy to sit in a chair all day at work or at home and I know in my heart I need to lift my game or I'll be a blob by 60!

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  13. Good for you! Mixing it up a bit with the elliptical is a good idea. I do Crossfit, cardio & yoga. I enjoy it all!

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    1. I was so impressed when I saw one of your crossfit posts Cathy - I don't think I'll have that level of determination and commitment, but at least I'm lifting my game a bit :)

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  14. Best of luck to you, let us know how it goes. Thank you Leanne for attending the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty. I pinned your post on Pinterest and shared it on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

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    1. Thanks Dee - I hope I can live up to all those dollars we spent on it :)

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  15. I've committed to daily exercise and cutting out afternoon snacks. It's the irony of middle age. The time of life when you most need the exercise yet have the least time in which to do it.

    SSG xxx

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    1. The other irony of middle age is that you can finally afford to eat lovely food and it's all so high in calories :)

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  16. I think your purchase is a good idea. I've tried gyms and always end up throwing money away as I get sick of going. I too am suffering with middle aged spread. Wish I was fit like Sue and could run like Sue but like you I cannot run and I do not enjoy it. I love walking. I'm going back to Hypoxi once I'm six weeks post surgery (I did a post about it), but once I've used up all my appointments I sadly wont be able to afford to continue going there. I am planning on starting to see a personal trainer who has a home gym, with a girlfriend, for strength training which is what women of our age need apparently - good for muscles, bones and speeding up the metabolism. Hope I like it. I'm not really an exercise fan either. All that sweating and stuff *ugh*! Feels good after though! ;-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I think going with a friend is the secret to any gym type experience Min - especially for unmotivated people like me! It's strange how some people love exercising and others hate it - I really wish I was one of those exercise lovers - then I wouldn't need the magnificent machine!

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  17. Oh, I hear you, Leanne, I am the same.
    I go to the gym for my Personal Training Sessions when it's actually as good as empty, and my drill sergeant is friendly (unless I don't give her twenty, haha). Just do what you're comfortable with, not sure if that machine is your thing either, but let's see!

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    1. I'm not sure it's my thing either Tamara, but I have less excuses for not using it when it's under my roof. Even if it gets used a few times a week to save me going out in the rain then it's made a difference - when I have the body back from my 20's I'll let you know (that was said very tongue in cheek!)

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  18. I hate middle age spread! I exercise every day and eat sensibly but the kilos just seem to pile on. I think I need to take a leaf our of your book and up the ante a bit. I have been trying to power walk and I'm thinking of re-joining the gym. I feel your pain! Hopefully the elliptical machine will help. :) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. It's such a pain in the bottom isn't it Kathy? All that delicious food that we manage not to eat, all the walking we do and yet the waistline keeps expanding. I refuse to conform to society's expectations of the 50+ woman looking like a 20 yr old, but I'd still like to maintain what I had without too much sweat and deprivation *sigh*

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  19. Oh gosh, I am hearing you with the mid life spread. I love walking and I know it works for me, but it's the actual doing that is what I am failing at. I have a perfectly good exercise bike...tucked away in the shed that I should be peddling on too! Maybe I should bring it inside and get motivated! I have actually been pretty good this week with diet, I took the kids to HJacks and ate a mandarin while there and a bowl of soup when we got home! There's a win!

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    1. I think you win my prize for self-control Alicia - eating a mandarin at HJ's and resisting the chips and thickshake makes you Wonder Woman in my eyes :)

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  20. Being short & overly curvy, I've always had to exercise. These days - at (at least) 20kgs overweight, I also have to do more than exercise. I really love moving - & miss it when I'm not. After spending most of my adult life in gyms, I now realise how much I dislike them. It's about outdoors for me - & walking. I'm also starting back at bellydancing next week...now that should be interesting. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I hope you're going to do a post on your bellydancing Jo - the costumes look like such fun. If I had any co-ordination at all I'd consider it, but I sucked at Zumba so I won't be humiliating myself on a dance floor any time soon :)

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  21. I've exercised regularly off and on throughout my life, though usually it's coincided with dieting so it's come in fits and starts. I was very active as a kid and until Uni but that dropped off when my lifestyle changed I guess.

    I'm not really doing any exercise other than some walking at the moment and that's more about getting my Fitbit steps in than 'exercising'. I'd like to take it up a notch as well, though doing something I enjoy is a big one for me, so I need to think more about that. #teamlovinlife

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    1. I know what you mean Deb - it's the "something we enjoy" bit that always gets to me - there seems to be nothing exercise-wise that I enjoy so now it's about finding something I can sustain for more than a week - we'll see how I go!

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  22. Hi Leanne, this is Terri from SecondWindLeisure. I saved your post because you represent a percentage of women who share the distaste for gyms. Walking is great, but you are not building muscle. Your choice of the elliptical is excellent, be sure to use the arm levers every time. I used to have home machines but didn't use them much although i tried. I used to jog/run (for 30+) years, but sports injuries have prevented that now. What I like about my gym is the variety of everything there. Sure there are sweaty bodies, but it's like they are not there. I bring my Kindle and read, or listen to an audiobook while working out. The elliptical is my go-to machine because it works out the whole body...you should see my shoulders and biceps ;) I actually enjoy going and meeting regulars there. Gyms also have group instructor-led workouts for any level of fitness. When I got a corporate discount to join at a good monthly rate, I made sure I get my $$ worth. I hope your elliptical gives you some more exercise options! I'm in the process of writing my book "No Excuses Fitness," and I may interview you for your views and opinions, if that's OK.

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  23. I don't like going to the gym either, so I invested in a yoga mat, a pair of dumbbells, a yoga ball, and resistance bands. There are tons of workouts I can do with just that! I really like to do HIIT workouts and strength circuits. These have helped me burn fat and tone up.

    Greetings from the Blogger's Pit Stop! I'll be sharing your post on Pinterest and Twitter.

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  24. Leanne, I don't love exercise either. I do swim regularly. I don't mind doing my exercise alone, so the kind of trainer you bought appeals to me. I am not sure where I would put it, our house is very small. Have fun and I think you will love it!

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  25. Hahaha. I love how you say "spend some of the dollars I've saved from the gym memberships I never bought and the personal trainers I never paid". Good luck! I will watch with interest.

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  26. I love that you made a room a gym!! We converted our basement to a gym and we still talk about how much we have loved it!! Yes I have missed out on a toy room for the kids. All of the toys are currently in the family room with the tv. I am ok with that because having a gym has really kept us working out. Gym memberships, travel time, gas money and expensive yoga pants are not needed! I love it and hope you do to:) I liked your post and glad I found your site through the pit stop!!

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  27. I loved using the elliptical when I had a gym membership! Good luck with your fitness endeavor! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger's Pit Stop!

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  28. The trick for me Leanne is that I set up a monitor on the wall of my gym. Then I bought a pair of great headphones and a little digital switching box thingy that allows me to wear the headphones without cords and while on my treadmill that is a few yards from the monitor. And then - and this is the big one - I bought tv series from Amazon when they were on sale: The West Wing, Parenthood, ER, Network - shows that I never watched when they were on TV but always wanted to see. The catch is that I only allow myself to watch these shows when I'm on my treadmill. Now, in the summer when I'm walking outside all of the time, I'm missing my show and am contemplating extra walking on the treadmill just so I can see the next episode. It works for me.

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  29. Yep, I hear you Leanne. I have a few mid-life kilos too. I walk every day, but now it's now enough. Perhaps I should invest in an elliptical machine too? :) #TeamLovinLife

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  30. If we don't exercise then we probably should, so good for you encouraging those who are getting the exercise bug. Some don't love actually doing the exercise but love how they feel after doing it. Let's feature this to encourage more into starting or continuing exercise.

    Kathleen
    BloggersPit Stop

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