STAYING FIT: Best exercise equipment is your body


        In late December and all throughout January, we can get bombarded by ads for exercise equipment. Almost always they promise to “help you shed those unwanted pounds, make you fit, and give you a sexy body.” Or something along those lines.
            Whether it’s endorsed by some D-list celebrity, or created by some ex-armed forces/out-of-work-athlete/genetic mutant Adonis, we are told by the commercials that this piece of equipment is better than anything else — only this equipment will get you the results you want. Perhaps, but spending money on infomercial exercise equipment may not be the best way to proceed. You know as well as I do that often that new equipment ends up quickly getting ignored, turned into a convenient clothes rack, or sold in a yard sale or on Ebay.
            Getting to a healthy weight, staying fit, getting fit, or making any progress in physical well-being rarely comes easy. It more often is the result of steady progress over time. Think about it—those extra 30 pounds didn’t just suddenly appear in 2 weeks. Neither will those pounds come off in 2 weeks. So those promises that your body will suddenly look better if you use the latest “Thigh-Squeezer,” “Tight-Bottom-Developer,” “Massive Bicep Creator,” or “Sexy Chest Contraption” are off the mark.
            The best piece of equipment you have in developing a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle is your own body. Sure, exercise equipment like some dumbbells, exercise ball, flexible straps, and the like are helpful tools.
But using your own body as your exercise tool corresponds more to real-life situations. Plus, when you exercise using only your body, there are fewer obstacles to prevent you from exercising. No more excuses about not having the right equipment—your body is always with you. No more excuses about not having the time—you can use your body to exercise anywhere for any length of time.
Whether it’s simply walking or jogging, running up stairs, doing push-ups, sit-ups, dips, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, all manner of plyometric exercises, kickboxing, swimming, yoga, or tai-chi, your body can give you the results you desire. Using only your body weight in these and other exercises can give your body a thorough workout. And body exercise, without equipment, mimics everyday life situations.
For instance, squats mimic what you do when you have to put food in the lower section of the refrigerator or places dishes on a shelf under the counter. Pushups give you the strength to lift bags of groceries or toss a grandchild in the air and catch her with delight. When you do enough body-weight exercise it works your muscles just as much as if you had barbells or other weights involved.
Don’t let lack of equipment prevent you from taking the steps to start exercising. Start moving your body around—something is better than nothing. Let’s move forward together.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m hoping that with the online Advocate, I’ll be able to eventually have some interactive sections for this column. That way, I could demonstrate some simple exercises to aid your fitness routine. Stay tuned.
John A. Page is an associate pastor at Athens FUMC. Discover his book, “Almighty in the Ordinary” at .