A Kinder, Gentler, Weigh
(Other Articles: War on Fat | What's your Excuse?)
While some are crying havoc, and
unleashing the dogs of war, others are
weighing in for a kinder, gentler
approach. This approach focuses more on
exercise than on diet and matches
exercises to personalities. This approach
also makes use of what is called
"functional" exercise, which strives to
make exercise part of the daily routine-
it is not so much concerned with going to
a health club as it is in climbing stairs
instead of taking elevators.
The first rule in "personalizing"
an exercise routine is to discover what
you like to do (and what you can do) and
what you can't stand. Dig down and decide
which type of exercise you enjoy and
don't worry about what is fashionable.
"Spinning" on stationary bicycles may be
all the rage in health clubs, but if
sitting on a bike and going nowhere
doesn't do it for you, stay away!
Here are some exercise "types."
Which one(s) fits you the best?
The Social Butterfly
You enjoy people and interacting
with them. Keeping score or determining
who is good and who is not so good is
secondary to you. If there is friction
within the group while pursuing an
activity, you are not happy and may
consider dropping out.
You need to get involved in
activities with others and in activities
that are not competition-driven.
Obviously then, stay away from leagues or
groups that do "keep score." Group
walkers would be a good fit, or bicycle
touring. Getting involved in "low-stress"
exercise classes-check community
education-might also work. Finally, look
for an activity where a score may be
kept, but participants don't take it too
seriously. This could be done with
bowling, golf, or any sport with the
The Zen of Exercise
You see exercise as a way to relax
and get "in touch" with yourself. You
like to do things at your own pace and
have time to act on your own. You can be
with others, as long as the activities
are "self-contained" to some degree.
First, look into activities you can
do on your own and in your own way.
Walking is one option, as are cycling,
hiking, and jogging. Working with weights
on your own, as well as classes in yoga,
gymnastics, or tai chi are possibilities.
The Winner's Circle
You push hard and want everyone to
know it. You have an edge you want to
keep sharp and you thrive during
competition. On your own, you keep track
of how well you are doing and mark
progress. If you have a "bad exercise"
day, you are somewhat disappointed. When
you attain personal bests, you are
You need activities that can be
measured, either against others or
against yourself. Any sort of league
play-softball, bowling, tennis-would do,
as well as any type of organized races.
If on your own, pick exercises where you
can record improvement. This means
exercise that calls for speed or
An Exercise Renaissance
You can partake in any of the
above; the main thing is not to get in a
rut. This means you will change your
style from day-to-day or week-to-week.
You have no qualms about getting in a
head-to-head competition, but the next
day might be happy going on a solitary
walk, or playing Frisbee at the family
Another avenue to exercise for
those who are not fond of it is to
practice what is called "functional
exercise." This is simply making exercise
part of your everyday routine, but not in
the guise of going to the health club or
jogging. To make this effective, you
should get a total of about 30 minutes of
exercise a day. To see if you are doing
this, answer the following questions
"True" or "False":
- I take stairs instead of an
- I walk or bicycle to run short
- I do my own housecleaning and
- I am on my feet a lot at my job.
- I do my own gardening and yard
- I play active games with my
- I park far from the store, not
- I sneak in an exercise or two while
- My hobbies involve physical
- I get up and change the channel.
- I wash my own car.
Seven or more "True": You are probably
getting your 30 minutes of exercise a
Less than seven "True": Get moving!
The article "A Kinder, Gentler Weigh" is reproduced with the permission of AIM International
©, 1997, 1998, 1999 by AIM International.
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