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Choosing a Workout- For the Lazy and Unmotivated (and Other Couch Potatoes)

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Rose Mary is an Air Force veteran. She has been writing online since 2009, and enjoys writing on a variety of topics.

Are you a couch potato?

Are you a couch potato?

I’ve never loved exercise. Throughout my 20 year Air Force career, I always had to do something. During the “bike test” years, I didn’t have problems passing the fitness test, but still needed to exercise to keep my weight down. Sometimes friends at the gym would say, “Enjoy your workout.” My standard reply? “That’s not a requirement. I don’t have to enjoy it, I just have to do it.” Over the years I had a home treadmill, a NordicTrack, and a Life Cycle. I had a mountain bike in Germany. I have walked, pedaled and skied thousands of miles over the years.

Walking with Leslie Sansone

Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds set, with 1, 2, and 3 mile walks.  Personal photo.

Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds set, with 1, 2, and 3 mile walks. Personal photo.

One year I was having an impossible time getting up off the couch. I really did not want to do anything. I had seen an infomercial with Leslie Sansone, and it was ultimately Leslie that got me up and moving.

I think I first ordered a few of Leslie’s one- and two-mile walk videos from Amazon, used. Some of her earliest videos were just Leslie, filmed in her home living room. I continued to collect Leslie’s videos, both used and new, including 4-mile walks and sets with one, two, and three mile walks. My first set, Walk Away the Pounds, was my favorite. This set came with two weighted balls to be used intermittently during the walks.

5 Minute Walk from Leslie's Channel

The tapes with three-, four-, and even five-mile walks are designed for you to walk as many miles as you choose. Aside from Leslie indicating the end of each mile, there is usually a visual on the screen as well. Not only can you choose to walk less than the maximum miles, but you can scan through to a particular mile. So, if you want a two-mile walk, you could scan to mile number three, and do the three- and four-mile walks.

The walk tapes and DVDs provide warm up and cool down, and average about 12 to 15 minutes per mile. That’s what got me off the couch. Even on my absolute most lazy days, I always figured, ‘I can do 15 minutes, especially at low intensity.’ So that’s what I did. For the first time ever, I was exercising every day, at least a one-mile walk with Leslie. On Friday afternoons, I usually just did a mile, but most other days, I did at least two or three miles.

Leslie Sansone set.  Walk and Jog, Walk and Kick, and Yoga Walk.

Leslie Sansone set. Walk and Jog, Walk and Kick, and Yoga Walk.

Leslie’s walks are so easy! There is walking in place, then side steps, knee lifts, and front kicks. All are as gentle as you need them to be. Leslie usually walks with a group, having different walkers demonstrate different levels of effort. For example, you can really crouch into the side steps for a greater thigh burn.

Most of the sets have some theme or gimmick. My favorite is the Walk Away the Pounds with the weighted balls. At intervals during the walks, the balls are used for things like overhead presses, side lifts and butterflies. Some of Leslie’s walkers walk with no weights, others demonstrate maximum effort with the balls, and everything in between.

One Mile Happy Walk

Another walking set uses a waist band with handles bungeed to the band. These are used to engage the core, and punch forward at intervals. Yet another set includes an easy kickboxing walk, and a yoga walk. Some of the videos and DVDs include floor sequences for abdominal strengthening and other typical exercises. Leslie has jogging video, but that was not to my liking at all. It was quite vigorous. She also has several videos geared for over 40, and for seniors. I have collected some of these and made tapes for my mom and aunts.

Leslie now has a YouTube channel with over 100 videos and over 500,000 subscribers. Videos include walks pitched as heart healthy walks, walks to reduce blood sugar, and walks for teens.

From Wake Up and Walk Weekly Series

Pilates for Dummies

I got curious during the big Pilates craze along with everyone else. My first foray was with a Pilates for Dummies DVD. This turned out to be a good choice for me. I was also unintentionally smart about it too. I watched the video multiple times, taking notes and making an outline. Then when I did the workout, I was armed with my outline, and I’d stop the video between exercises, as I found I had difficulty keeping up. I continued working at my own pace, often using my outline without the video.

I decided I wanted some variety, and would graduate to the Windsor Pilates. I ordered the set. The first time I tried it, I thought I was good. Most of the routine was familiar, and I was keeping up pretty well. Unfortunately, a day or so later I was sore, with an ache in my neck! I guess I’m just a Dummies gal.

Downward Dog Yoga Pose

Downward Dog yoga pose

Downward Dog yoga pose

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One year I signed up for a Yoga class at the YMCA. I loved it! It was a little stressful, rushing away from work on Fridays to make it to my relaxing Yoga class on time! Later I added a second class on Wednesday afternoons. I stuck with it almost a year, but then the Air Force moved me.

Many advocates of Yoga say it is more balanced and safer than Pilates. I can’t stress enough to be safe. Only go for the stretch from which you can retrieve yourself without using your back muscles. My yoga instructor was young and fit, and seemed to be under the impression that if you couldn’t achieve the full pose, it was because a lack of flexibility. I was plenty flexible, but I could feel past a certain point into the pose, that I had lost abdominal control, and would be putting my back muscle at risk to raise back up. So I limited myself.

The Dummies folks have thankfully produced a Yoga beginner and intermediate tutorial.

Yoga for Dummies

Rebounding aka Bouncing

Rebounding instructional video

Rebounding instructional video

The mini trampoline is a good option for things like light jogging for those of us with knee problems, and other aches and pains that make pounding the pavement particularly unappealing. I had a couple of videos. I also used some of my Leslie Sansone moves.

Proponents of bouncing tell us that it promotes health on a cellular level, impacting every cell in the body. It is also good for lymphatic circulation. As little as 5 minutes a day is beneficial.

Benefits of Rebounding

© 2010 rmcrayne


rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on June 22, 2010:

Thank your OCL for your incredibly nice comment.

Overcome Chronic Laziness on June 18, 2010:

Awesome hub. So many videos and pics. Specially the interview with Dr. Hans Gruen was very insightful for me about rebounding.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on March 20, 2010:

Thanks Pamela, hypnodude and ethel for your ongoing support.

I'm all about the Dummies.

ethel, our dogs are not good walkers. The spaniel especially is not good on a leash. And she's such a couch potato, we have to shove her outside sometimes.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on March 20, 2010:

Jane I haven't done Leslie in a while, but a few years back, I did her religiously 5 to 7 days a week for quite a few months.

Jen I like Yoga better for a lot of reasons. I took the class 1 to 2 nights a week, and have a variety of videos and DVDs, but haven't done them.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on March 20, 2010:

Paradise I have minimized the possibility of people seeing me in a bathing suit for years. Of course now that I'm retired, I don't have access to the heated indoor pool at work after hours...

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on March 19, 2010:

Well having no car and two dogs keeps me walking. I could do more though. Thanks for the inspiration

Andrew from Italy on March 18, 2010:

A lot of good information and a great layout. Actually I have both dvd of the Yoga for Dummies series and they are very well done. Rated up. :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 17, 2010:

Very good hub. Lots of new information.

JenDobson27 on March 17, 2010:

Great hub. I love doing both pilates and yoga. I feel so much better after a nice workout!

Jane@CM on March 17, 2010:

I bought the Walking with Leslie cd. I've used it hmmm, once! I'm so lazy! This was a good hub. Some days I wish I had a personal trainer to knock on my door 3 times a week and get me off my butt!

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on March 16, 2010:

Another terrific hub, RM! Spring is almost here, which means summer is coming, which means bathing suits. If we want to look good in our suities, it's time to start exercising, eh?

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