I remember when the whole notion of random acts of kindness was a big thing. It’s still something that happens from time to time, though it’s often not talked about. I remember hearing on twitter the other day that someone in the McDonald’s drive thru had the person on the car in front of them pay for their order. That’s a random act of kindness. RAKs are a great thing, and something I’ve always found appealing because there’s less of that pressure to feel like a loser if you don’t or can’t reciprocate for whatever reason.
Anyway, the thought led to a spinoff for a friend and I a few years ago: Random Acts of Exercise. Since both of us (at the time) were on-line most of the day, periodically throughout the day, we’d make a call for a Random Act of Exercise. Then for 1-2 minutes we’d go do crunches or curls or the Pilates 100. We fell out of the routine once she had her baby and could no longer camp out on-line, but it’s something I thought of recently and wanted to bring back.
Weight loss is probably the number one New Year’s Resolution. God knows I make it every year and stick to it with varying degrees of success. Last year when I began Operation Goddess In Training, I decided that I really wanted to change my focus. Because it’s really NOT about weight loss. So for me, this has become a lifestyle and perspective change where I am shooting for healthy and FIT (and looking good in my jeans). Turns out this was a good move for me. On Discovery News the other day, there was an article (thanks @tmycann) about What Does It Mean To Be In Shape. Guess what? There is no ideal weight. You can be skinny and be totally unhealthy, and you can be fluffier and healthy as a horse. And of course it talks about all the benefits of aerobic exercise and strength training–BEYOND weight loss.
One of the primary reasons that the majority of people fail with the traditional weight loss resolution is (apart from the fact that they look at the whole thing as temporary rather than a lifestyle change and people are fundamentally lazy) that they claim they don’t have time. Believe me, I get it. It’s HARD to squeeze in workouts around work and family and all the things we have to do. This is the reason that all my exercise tends to be broken up throughout the day with a workout in the morning, another over lunch, another mid-afternoon, and sometimes another after work. Every. Day.
This brings me back to Random Acts of Exercise. You can squeeze small spurts of exercise in throughout the day. It may not be enough to get you to heart-pumping aerobic fitness or to drop massive amounts of weight. But each and every time you add in some kind of exercise, you’re going to have some kind of benefit. It might not be the kind you can always see, but, as one of my favorite Pins on Pinterest says:
I also saw one that says you’ll never regret a workout, but I couldn’t find that one this morning.
The point is, every single action you take toward fitness is a positive step. And the start of every journey is a step. You just have to take that plunge and actually ACT.
So I encourage you to engage in Random Acts of Exercise throughout the day. Do some leg lifts and inner thigh pulses while you’re drying your hair. Brush your teeth in chair pose. Every hour during your work day, get up and do a series of 10-15 squats, jumping jacks, pushups, crunches (you might wanna skip this if you’re in a cubical), and dips. It’ll only take a minute and it’ll wake you up during the Afternoon Slump. Or if you’re not into those, do a sun salutation at the top of every hour. When you’re putting away canned goods from the grocery, grab a can in each hand and do a few reps of lat raises, reverse flies, or hammer curls. When you need to talk to a colleague in your office, instead of picking up the phone or IMing them, get up and walk to their office to ask your question. Park a little further from the door at Walmart. Take the stairs. Do some calf raises while you’re stuck in the elevator. Throw in a squat between washing every dish after dinner.
Are all these little things going to set your world on fire? No. But little things add up over time. You will slowly increase muscle tone and strength. And more importantly, if you can make RAEs a habit, it will change your mindset about exercise until you think “well I could take a quick walk before dinner” or “I could get up a half hour early and squeeze in a bike ride.” RAEs will teach you that, in fact, you DO have time to exercise and that exercise is NOT all about going to the gym and sweating buckets in one long, big, chunk. It’s just about MOVING, period.
Will you take the RAE Challenge with me in 2012?