Exercising: a program that worked
Like everybody, I know that physical exercise is good for me. And like many, I’ve tried jogging (shin splints), the gym (too much time), walking (hard on the knees and not complete enough), Tai Chi (too mild), Yoga (not vigorous enough), and lots of other stuff.
In July though I started working out with an exercise ball. I’d tried the ball before, but hadn’t stuck to it. What was different this time was a program in a book called, “Weights on the Ball Workbook” by Steven Stiefel (Ulysses Press), and I’ve stuck with it. Here’s why I think I’ve persisted:
- Time: I can do it at home, no travel time
- Equipment: cheap: set of freeweights and an exercise ball. You only need a couple of weight sets to start. By Christmas I’ll have 3, 5, 8, 12 and 15 lb weights.
- Variety: there are close to 60 different exercises listed, each with 3 or 4 variants
- Programs: There are 9 different programs, with suggested exercises, schedule, number of reps/sets, etc.
- Presentation: In the program listing for each exercise a pretty little picture of the starting stance serves as an easy reminder. No flipping to page 78 to figure out what a triceps extension is. And if you want more detail the page number is listed for each exercise.
- Scope: since most exercises are done balancing on the ball, I’m working a lot more than the targetted muscle group, stabilizers and core muscles aplenty are getting worked.
So for the program I’m doing, I work out 4 times per week (MTThF) for 30-40 minutes. Add to that a simple aerobic warm-up (fast 10 minute walk). Each day has a different set of exercises, so I end up with 25 different exercises per week. Nice variety. Other programs repeat exercises more, this one has a long rest period as it works the muscles hard and recovery time is needed. So I look as scrawny, er wiry, as ever. But I feel better after working out, and that scrawn is all muscle.