Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Getting Into Shape, Simply

We all need exercise. Sadly, though, most of us don’t get enough of it. And we all have excuses: I don’t have enough time, I can’t afford to join a gym, I don’t have any equipment, I’m not athletic, and countless more.

That’s all a crock. Most of us can get the exercise we need. How much you need depends on you. But let’s be honest: not all, or even many, of us will be running a marathon or taking part in a triathlon or competing in a gruelling fitness challenge. We just need to stay healthy, get a bit stronger, lose a bit of weight, bump up our endurance, improve our muscle tone, or all of the above.

Believe it or not, that doesn’t take much. You don’t need a gym. You can do it yourself cheaply or free, with a minimal amount of or even no equipment.

Curious? Read on.

Disclaimers and Such

Let me point out that I’m not a fitness guru or instructor or anything like that. I do have experience with what I’m writing about. It’s worked for me, and it could work for you.

But before you do undertake any exercise program, remember to consult your doctor or health care professional. Better safe than sorry.

Use Your Body

Your body weight I mean. You’ll be amazed at how strong and fit you can get just using calisthenics. You can get stronger and leaner, and it doesn’t take much time.

Take, for example, walking. It’s simple. Many of use can do it, and we should do more of it. Try to make your walks brisk and try to walk up as many hills as you can to vary the intensity. If nothing else, walking will get you outside.

What about other bodyweight exercises? You can do pushups, situps, squats, and chair dips. They all hit the major muscles of your body and none of them require any equipment or very much time.

What’s that? You can’t do 10 pushups or 10 squats? Well, the links in the previous paragraph take you to programs that will get you quickly doing more of those exercises. I’ve done all those programs, and do a refresher each year. They work.

If you want a slightly different bodyweight workout, then try this. It’s challenging, to say the least.

Little Time, Lots of Intensity

You don’t need to work out for an hour. If you’re pressed for time, there are exercises that you can do in under 20 minutes that will hit several parts of your body and have you sweating and gasping. In a good way …

In early 2012, I was pointed to a series of videos on YouTube. Short, intense, fat burning workouts. Not all of the workouts are my cup of tea —especially the ones that require equipment that I don’t have. But I sifted through the videos to find two or three that are. They’re great, and I can do them in the limited space in my apartment and in less time than it takes to walk to the nearest gym.

You can also try this 13 minute workout that hits your body hard. If you’re not a heaving and in a puddle of sweat after doing this workout then you’re in very good shape!

MovNat

MovNat is:

a physical education & fitness system based on training the full range of our natural human movement abilities

I like to view it as using your body and your environment as your gym, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Still, MovNat takes exercise back to its basics. Its nothing like most of the exercise you’ve ever done. And its fun.

MovNat is guided by 10 principles. My favourite principle is opportunism, which I interpret as getting a workout whenever the opportunity presents itself. For example, when I’m out walking and, say, I see a low-hanging tree branch I’ll climb or traverse it a couple of times. That delights my daughter and makes my wife cringe.

If you can, try to take a two-day MovNat seminar. You’ll get a feel for MovNat and, even though your body will protest, you’ll have a lot of fun.

It’s All Up To You

Fitness is a habit. It’s one that takes time and effort. Having equipment and/or knowing a number of exercises isn’t going to get you into shape. You are going to get you into shape. Your discipline. Your commitment. Your effort. Your sweat. Nothing else. When you start exercising, stick to it.

The results might not come immediately, but after a month or two of regular exercise, you’ll see and feel the difference. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a fortune in gym fees or lay out hundreds or thousands of dollars for equipment.

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