Get Moving

Sixteen flights of stairs. That’s all it would take to avoid the long line in the lobby of our apartment building.

It was a busy time of the month and the elevators were overbooked with people moving in and out of the building. The one passenger elevator that was working was stopping on every floor. Actually, it wasn’t just stopping on every floor it was lingering. There seemed to be delays everywhere.

I decided to climb the stairs. The first twelve floors were fine and then my legs started to feel a bit heavy. I paused to catch my breath. I couldn’t believe I was out of shape. I pictured management finding me collapsed in the corner of the stairwell.

I laughed as I gained a new burst of energy. When I reached the top I felt exhilarated. What an amazing ten-minute workout! Why would I ever need to go to the gym when I could just climb the stairs to my apartment?

Living in New York City usually indicates an active lifestyle by default. We walk in the neighborhood and we climb stairs in the subway stations and in our buildings. We carry large packages home from the stores and many of us carry loads of laundry downstairs or to the laundry mat. We run to catch a cab or train and during the morning commute we know how to save an extra five minutes by walking fast. On the weekends, Central Park is full of people riding bikes, roller blading, running and walking.

It is easy to fit exercise into your normal routine if it becomes part of your lifestyle. Why drive around the parking lot for ten minutes looking for a space near the door, when you could park quickly farther away and walk? Why spend time driving to the gym when you could shovel snow from the neighbor’s sidewalk instead? Why take the car, bus or train when you could walk?

Look for ways to lead a more active lifestyle. Buy a pedometer and wear it for a week. See if you can increase the number of steps you take every day. Play outside in the snow, shovel the sidewalk, clean the house, take the stairs, ride a bike or learn to skate. You don’t have to schedule time to go to the gym, just get moving.

Your body will feel wonderful and you will have much more energy to make time for chocolate.