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The Exercise Appointment

Do you use some form of calendar or appointment book? Or do you just keep a schedule in your head? In either case, make a date to exercise. At the beginning of every week, schedule your exercise appointments into your daily planner. Give yourself enough time for travel, exercise, and showering. An hour class could take two hours or more when you factor in the whole experience.

Every exercise appointment you set is a commitment to yourself. Keep your exercise appointments as sacred as a date with your spouse, attending ballgames using your season tickets, or business meetings. Don't make excuses for breaking the dates with yourself. The price is too high. We wish there were an easier way, but there just isn't an alternative to exercising.

For about a year, Debra attended a Bikram yoga class four to five times a week. This form of yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury in Los Angeles and is now taught widely in the United States. It consists of 26 poses done in a room heated to about 100 degrees. The class itself was one and a half hours long. Travel each way was about 35 minutes. But to get a spot in the front near the mirror so that she could watch her postural alignment, Debra arrived a half-hour before class started. Yes, her yoga class took more than three hours! Fortunately, it was a great class for her and was well worth the time invested. Eventually, her lifestyle changed, with more responsibilities and obligations, and today, she couldn't begin to commit that much time so often. She still exercises daily, but now it's at home, at a local fitness center, or outdoors.

Don't count on “making up” missed exercise appointments. They often never get done for one reason or another. If you're a person who simply doesn't schedule yourself well, perhaps you need to schedule twice as many exercise dates so that you can meet your commitment to yourself. Remember that, with exercise, you aren't accountable to anyone else—only to yourself and your body.

Schedule the time of day that works best for you. If you're not a morning person, planning to be at the gym by 6 a.m. just isn't going to work for long. Perhaps you would enjoy exercising right after work before you go home. Set your appointments for the time of day that works for you. You might also want to break up the time. For example, do 20 minutes or more of aerobics in the morning before you get in the shower; then do your strength training later in the day.

You hardly need to schedule time to do the five Tibetans because they only take 5 minutes (or 10 minutes at most). We figure that doing them should be about as ordinary and routine as brushing your teeth. You just do them.

What to Do

No matter which forms of exercise you choose, here are the minimum amounts you should plan on in a week. By “minimum,” we mean the very least you need. However, with exercise—unlike with food—more is often better.

Here is a guideline:

  • Aerobics: 20 minutes daily or 45 minutes three times a week

  • Strength: 45 minutes to an hour twice a week

  • Stretching: 15 to 30 minutes twice a week or more

With exercise, you can vary the routine, learn new ones, and never get bored. Exercise is one area in your life where you can include an almost unlimited number of variations. You're not stuck with just one approach. You can add lots of fun activities to your basic exercise program. These add-ons are, in a sense, “free” treats. There may not be any free foods, but there sure is free exercise. So, yes, limit foods but don't limit your exercise. You can fill your “dance card” with fun movement and exercise. In this case, more is better and better for you. Plan on enjoying exercise and recreation so much that you prefer them to just sitting around or rushing around. Your body will thank you.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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