Friday, October 13, 2006

GERDing for Exercise: Making Your Workouts Fun

As we discussed yesterday, being overweight can cause or increase your GERD and heartburn symptoms. But a lot of people, act as if they'd rather have GERD than exercise. My advice: make exercise fun.

Before you say I'm crazy, remember as a kid, how all play was exercise? Think about it - playing tag, shooting hoops, jumping rope, sledding, swimming, swinging, sliding, climbing on monkey bars. That's all exercise and we loved it! We were actually mad when we had to quit exercising! So, when did exercise become a chore instead of being about fun?

Purpose
One of the reasons we don't like exercise is because, like mopping the floor, it has no real purpose except it must be done. Give it purpose and it will immediately become more enjoyable. What kind of purpose? I'm going to use running as the example throughout, but these tips apply to most every exercise.

Go Somewhere
Don't just run up and down the same street everyday. That's boring. Go somewhere - to a museum, your neighboor's house for a chat, to see the sunrise from the top of a hill, or to a place you've never been before. Be creative. Go places. Have fun.

Variety
Mix up your run. Change the route, frequently. Drive to a park and run there. Run around a lake. Go to a new part of town. You can even run on remote trails. Think of running as an exploration and you'll immediately be more engaged.

Look Around
Don't just run. This is your time. No one can call you. No one can force you to pick up the kids or change the oil. Make the most of that. Look around. Take things in - ducks on a pond, a deer in the woods, sculptures and outdoor art, the color of the leaves, interesting architecture of a building. There are a million things we "see" everyday, but never notice. Running gives you the chance to study and enjoy all these things. You'll be surprised at all the things you've missed.

Touchy, Feely
Just as people forget to take things in when they're running, they also assume they can't touch anything. Why do we create such weird rules? Make running tactile. Touch the bark of a tree as you run past, notice the grass or asphalt beneath your feet, and feel the wind on your face. It sounds silly, but I will often grab a leaf and carry it with me to remind myself that my run is about more than running.

Even More Variety
You don't eat the same food everyday, who says you have to do the same exercise everyday? Again, mix it up. You could easily do a different exercise everyday of the week. Here are my top seven - hike, run, walk, bike, swim, lift weights, shoot hoops, golf. Okay, that's eight. Sue me.

Even More Fun
There are many more tips on how to have fun exercising. Shocking, huh? I'll write more on how to have even more fun exercising and reducing your GERD and heartburn symptoms tomorrow. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your tips as well. Keep reading and you'll have a happy tummy.

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