I am a yo-yo

I’ve decided that maybe I’m just a yo-yo.  We’ve all heard about yo-yo dieting which is the act of losing and gaining weight over the course of your life, and now I’ve heard the term used for exercise as well.  And it applies….I am a yo-yo exerciser.  I begin and keep at it for a while, then just completely stop and lose all of the headway that I’ve gained.  And now studies are showing that this is even harder on your body than not exercising at all (which would be a preference for many of us, I know).  The time it takes for your body to start burning calories at a significant rate is greater once you’ve stopped exercising for a long stretch of time.  It is better to just keep at it, once a week for instance, than to quit cold-turkey.  Your body will still reap the rewards (higher metabolism, stronger bones and muscle) if you just continue to exercise on a regular basis, but it does have to be good exercise.

So why do we exercise?  Many of us do it for a specific event….a wedding, summer bathing suit weather, a high school reunion, and yet others do it to stay healthy or get healthier.  Weight loss is a big motivation for most people to exercise, but so is health.  I read an article recently about famous chef Gordon Ramsay who says he started exercising after a really stressful period in his life when his father had passed away due to a bad heart.  His brother-in-law signed him up to run a marathon and so, he HAD to go into training, no excuses.  He began running and found it to be a huge stress reliever, his only quiet time to think during his day.  I know that I don’t want any of my family to sign me up for a marathon, but I want to stop yo-yo exercising.

We have a new book in our library for those who might want to start running now that the warmer weather is upon us.  Although we were lucky this year to have the option of walking indoors at the Carleton Place High School in the evenings (you can ask Judi or Janet about it if you are visiting the library), many people still prefer to run as a form of exercise.  The book is called No Need for Speed : A beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running by John Bingham, a columnist for Runner’s World Magazine.  He is a self-proclaimed back of the pack runner and wants people to understand that it isn’t how fast you run, but the fact that you just do it at all.

noneedThis looks like a really great read for those of us who might not be sure about running a exercise.  There are pages and pages of motivational stories, lots of great tips for getting out there and just starting as well as diet advice and even tips on buying shoes.  Although running may seem like a simple  form of exercise, Bingham gives you tips on how to really get the most out of it, without stressing the need to achieve the longest distance or the fastest time.

And for those who are less likely to go out and run a marathon yourself, there is a fascinating book in the new bin this morning called A Race Like No Other : 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins which details the stories of the New York Marathon in 2007.

raceShe tells the tales of the amateur runners as well as seasoned professionals, bringing insight into both the men’s and women’s races and the people who are spotlighted as the ones to watch during the race.  There are pages of great photos before, during and after the race which really brings the book alive.  If you’ve ever imagined participating in the world’s largest marathon, this book will not only inspire you, but it might just be the motivation to change your life and achieve that goal.

But for me, it looks like I might be doomed to a lifetime of yo-yo exercise, although I’ll try to correct that lifestyle and at least do something to break a sweat once or twice a week. I can manage that, if only for the thought that it might make my life a bit easier 30 years from now.