Globe Syndicate

Another Way

by Melodie Davis

for release September 29, 2000

Readers Share Ideas for Better Overall Fitness

After I wrote a column on exercise back in July, one person said, only half joking, "Of all the things to write about, that is one thing I would never write about. Now you are had! You have to stick to it." Well that was kind of how I felt writing the column-scared-but a number of people responded that it was just the inspiration they needed to get going. Many also sent their own advice about what works for them. Here is some of "your" advice.

Making the decision. Martha had just been to the doctor the day before and stepped on those awful scales that greet you first thing in the door. "Oh my, my highest weight ever. I need to decide to do something about it and you are absolutely right; it takes making the decision to do something and sticking with it." So she found the article to be very timely.

For my kids and me. Adelle, who is my age (we went to the same college) noted that we were the right age to need exercise (which is true, we need exercise more as we age, not less). "I chose an exercise program at the Y, because it's flexible. I also like aqua aerobics. I am doing it for myself and for my kids. I need to stay alive for them and heart disease runs in my dad's family. My husband is doing it too, so we can motivate each other, and also help each other make the time."

Pain a motivator. Catherine shared that pain is the issue that motivates her to return to exercise. "I have had arthritis and lupus for years, so exercise helps alleviate some symptoms. Also, it helps knowing my back surgeon will give me a chewing out if I do not keep up with what he has asked me to do. The exercise best suited for my needs is done in water at the local wellness center."

Walking. Steve says: "In the past eight years I have lost roughly 150 pounds and 20 inches in the waist. Of that, 60 pounds has been in the past eight months. The vast majority of my weight loss was a result of walking. ... I lose my appetite when I do the walking. Likewise, if I stay home too much, I may get bored and end up snacking. Those calories can add up."

Watch squats. Fran quipped, "To get more energy you have to spend energy. Kind like faith-to grow it, you gotta use it." And she had good advice: "Just watch the squats. You do not have the knees you did in high school and knee injury can sideline you for a long time. Weighted isometric straight leg lifts are better than squats. Just a voice of experience." (And a warning, just like they always say, to check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.)

Meditate. Dave gave encouragement to use exercise as time to meditate. I hadn't quite thought of that. Usually I am just thinking whether I can do two more sit-ups, but being regular about exercise can also help you be regular in a schedule that includes time for meditation. Body for Life. Scott lost ground when he had to be in the hospital for the better part of six months, where he lost weight and strength. "As I recovered, I gained weight, but not the right kind. He referred me to a web site, and a book by the same name. I cannot vouch for the program, but Scott says, "This program is working for me. I am about 13 weeks into it."

Drink water. Susan recommended a book, Vitality Supreme, written in 1923 (!) which includes exercises that include drinking a lot of water for "cleansing and stimulating the alimentary canal."

Jogging to a better life. Another woman, Laurie, makes me tired but I admire her: "Your exercise comments are very timely. As a single mother of four daughters, 17, 16, 13 and 8, I have just made some tough decisions. After receiving a demotion in my position, I feel now that this is a blessing in disguise. I am planning to move to a new town [for a better job]. I am now in the process of getting my home ready to put on the market. Through all of this, I have taken up running/jogging. At 38, I have never felt better, and running through God's gorgeous country allows me time to think about all the things going on in our lives."

Now, time to get moving!

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Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 770 words; end material = 105 words

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