The Small Things Add Up

I’ve just added a new category to the site called “health and fitness” and this is the first post! I am really happy about writing on this topic from time to time, as exercise, diet and sleep all play a big role in the quality of our health, general sense of wellbeing, and our energy levels day to day. 

My approach towards exercise has changed a little over the past few years. I have had to adjust because time has become more and more elusive with the hours dedicated to work, running my home, and the long London commutes.

I recently cancelled my membership at the gym because I was having to set the alarm for 4:45am to commute to the gym, work out, shower and commute on to work. The lack of sleep became difficult and often by 4pm I felt like it was a million-o-clock.

Three years ago I was working as a personal trainer and an aerobics instructor and so getting to a stage where exercise was being squeezed out altogether was frustrating. I enjoy the sense of physical strength, the high energy levels, the strong immunity (and the loose clothes :)) that come with exercise.

But what I am realising more and more is that the small efforts add up. The little habits determine so much when it comes to our wellbeing. Did you know that just thirty minutes of moderate activity accumulated over a day can significantly enhance your fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease and even some cancers?

There is a concept in the health and fitness industry called ‘lifestyle-based fitness.’ This refers to simply building in more activity and bodily exertion into our daily lives. So for example, walking up the escalator at tube stations rather than standing still; gardening or playing with the children instead of TV; walking with a friend rather than sitting in a cafe (or both :)). These efforts may sound too subtle to make any difference but our enduring habits are much more influential in terms of our health and weight control etc, than short-lived exercise regimes that are hard to maintain.

So if you feel pressured to fit in exercise but have very little time, feel good about the small changes you can make day to day! I have to admit that when I cancelled my gym membership I did buy a home-based exercise DVD – things are only just taking off on that front so I will no doubt let you know how it goes at a later time!

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~ by Birgit on April 9, 2007.

10 Responses to “The Small Things Add Up”

  1. Hey Birgs,

    I really agree with the concept of ‘lifestyle-based fitness’ and find that in London it is almost impossible trying to fit in a decent hour in the gym every week day and still juggle all my other responsibilities life throws my way. Walking, instead of taking the bus or tube has opened so many doors for me and what initially was such an effort has become a normal part of my life and requires no purposeful thought. I was told that the French are so slim because they walk everywhere?! See you in your bikini darling?!

  2. Hi Birgit,
    Just like you, I also had to cancel my gym membership after I left my job downtown, where the gym is located. I liked the gym routine, and the good feeling after working out, whereas now I have no exercise routine at all. I do some exercises at home whenever I think of it, like some body sculpting or yoga exercises. I am planning to buy a bike and run errands by bike, or roller skate every day. The 30 minutes you mentioned are not really that much time, if you accumulate it over the day! It’s amazing how little time you need to get healthy. I even bought a badminton set and I am looking forward to warm temperatures to try it out in the backyard with my fiance. Keep us posted and thank you for opening this category.

  3. Hi Birgit,

    I did not renew my gym membership at the end of last year after being a gymaholic for thirty years. I have since put on 3kgs. I agree with the “small things add up” approach to life and have realised the same applies to what goes in our mouths! Moderation all round seems to be one of the keys to life. Can’t wait to read how your home-based exercise DVD goes.

  4. Fantastic….I defo agree. Excercising is so good for the body. In fact, the body needs it to keep healthy.

  5. Totally agree! Lost 4 lbs in one week, just by walking around on the Revelation TV Israel tour! And a pedometer is one of the most useful tools, because it shows how much exercise we are doing (and enocrages us at the end of the day, if we haven’t done enough , to ‘get on your bike’. I go out to call my patienst instead of pressing the buzzer, and I finsh off the day with a pulse-tripling workout on my stepper!! Go for it girl!

  6. Hola sis, good post this, an old colleague of mine called this “snacking on exercise” and it’s a good approach to things.

  7. Dear Birgit,

    I found your comments about exercise interesting. I feel that exercise is a big part of having a healthy life. I used to get a lot of exercise because of the work that I did and it was difficult to fit more specific sorts of exercise in as well.
    Now that I am retired from work I use housework and gardeing as part of my exercise plan. I find at my great age it takes a lot longer to tone up and keep fit! I also go to a small private gym and do sports like sailing and canoing. As someone said to me recently ‘ keep moving ‘ with love Margot

  8. Dear Birgit
    I like this article. It truly is the small decisions everyday that add up to a healthy lifestyle. We often put off health and fitness to tomorrow as if it is such a big thing but a little fruit of the Spirit of disipline and we can add in something everyday.
    God bless you Jill

  9. Hi Birgit, Exercise is so important and I usually exercise to a video for 25 minutes each day plus try to fit in a walk or gardening as well. At the moment my video recorder is being repaired and I am missing my daily exercise routine but I am fitting in two walks a day to make up for it! Looking forward to seeing your DVD.

  10. Thank You

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