You Want To Start Exercising? How To Start and Stay Motivated

I’ve had several conversations with folks about exercise, and many times the conversation goes something like, “Yes, I know I need to get started” I used to think that the “pain” of not exercising was less than the “pain” of foregoing some other activity. I realize now that there is a segment of people who truly want to start, but they are unsure of how to start exercising. So, instead of lacing up their shoes and going for a walk, they instead stay, work late, or watch television. They maintain a sedentary lifestyle because are doing what they know.

To those folks, I want to say, “Please don’t overthink exercise. Just go out and move. Shoot for 30 minutes of movement each day, whether that is walking, gardening, riding a bicycling, yoga, dancing, or tai chi/qi gong and other meditative exercises. The goal is to create movement, and once you feel comfortable with 30 minutes, then exercise for 45 minutes, and then an hour.

The link I feature below is to an article I really like because it comprehensively reviews how to start an exercise routine and how to stay motivated. It features topics on the mental blocks that are stopping you from exercising, how much exercise you need, how to start, how to stay motivated, and a list of exercises you may enjoy.

If you are looking for that “push” to get started, start by reading this article.

#exercise, #fitness, #gettingstarted

Summer Exercise Survival Tips: TWC (Timing, Water, Clothing)

Exercising during the heat does pose it’s own set of challenges. Those challenges just mean you need to create a plan and adapt to the changes.

In this video I will share my rule that guides my plans for exercising in the heat. That rule is TWC, i.e. Timing, Water, and (proper) Clothing.

Home Exercise Equipment Recommendations

You want to exercise at home, but you need some basic equipment. You could shop at the sporting goods store, but you don’t have hours to spend driving to the store and attempting to make heads or tails out of whether the equipment you are buying is of value. This is why the Wide-Body is here to help you

I did some research, looking for products that will work well at home and you can easily purchase online. Most of this equipment can be delivered within two business days, thus saving you the inconvenience of going to a sporting goods store. Below are some products that have been featured in various video that you’ll want for your home exercise use.

Exercise Matts

If you are stretching, doing yoga, or various core exercises where you are lying on the floor, you will enjoy having a little extra cushion as well as having something to sweat on other than your carpet.
Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat: Non-slip, 72″ X 24″ X 1″, multiple colors to choose from

– Gruper Thick Yoga Mat: Non-slip, 72” x 32” x 0.4”, multiple colors to choose from

WWWW TPE Yoga Mat Body Alignment Line: non-slip, 72”x24”x .25”, multiple colors to choose from

Resistance Bands

Some of the benefits of resistance bands are:

1. Easily portable

2. Easy to store

3. You can easily adjust the amount of resistance to fit your needs.

– bodylastics: Nice feature with these bands is the anti-snap feature. Some folks worry that if the elastic on a resistance band breaks, it will cause injury. The bodylastics bands have a patented safety feature to prevent such a thing from happening.

– GoFit ProGym Extreme: Nice feature here is the ability to stack more weight onto these bands than other competitors, and equipment is more rugged, thus giving you a longer life.

Tribe Fitness: These bands also have an anti-snap promise, plus additional guides on how to properly use your bands in various exercises.

Body Weight Exercise Books

Here are a list of books that feature several exercise routines, they are well referenced, and the books are highly rated. You should find the details in these books to be helpful.

Bodyweight Workouts for Men is a step-by-step guide to one of the hottest fitness trends that truly gets results. Created specifically for men, the workouts in this book can be done anywhere, anytime—gravity and body weight are all guys need.

The 100 No Equipment Workouts Book is for everyone who wants to stay active, get fit, build muscle tone and/or shed extra weight in the home environment without acquiring any extra equipment. Be in complete control of your fitness. No more worrying about the right equipment, the right attire, finding a gym, or finding the space or time to exercise.

Bodyweight Strength Training helps you through the heavy lifting with fully illustrated guides to high-impact exercises. Shed fat as you build your leg, arm, abdominal, and back muscles over the course of a 12-week strength training program.

And when you can get back to the gym, here are some additional books you may enjoy.

Strength Training Over 40: A 6-Week Program to Build Muscle and Agility

Muscle mass and strength are key to maintaining mobility, metabolism, and hormone balance as you get older. Whether you’re looking to jump back into a strength training routine, or this is your first time trying it out, Strength Training Over 40 makes it easy and safe to do at any age.

Start the next stage of your life strong with a comprehensive 6-week strength training program that guides you through building and maintaining total-body strength, so you can keep doing the things you love to do for years to come. You’ll find illustrated exercises and stretches, complete with step-by-step instructions and weekly home and gym workout routines that put all the moves together.

Weight Training for Women: Exercises and Workout Programs for Building Strength with Free Weights

No matter your age or fitness level, Weight Training for Women is your guide to building strength with free weights. Jumping into a new lifting routine can seem intimidating, but this body-positive book does the heavy lifting for you (pun intended), by walking you through the basics of developing a weightlifting program that helps you get stronger and healthier on your own terms.

Qigong: A Meditative Exercise Made For Everyone

Exercise has been shown to relieve the stress that we develop in our stressful work lives. An alternative way to relieve stress is to meditate. If you are like me, you find it difficult to have enough time in the day to mediate and exercise. So why not combine mediation and exercise? That is essence of Qigong

A former football coach of mine recently shared that he practices Qigong each morning as he has found the exercise to be a great way to loosen up his body and prepare himself to take on the day. As a young man, I learned quite a bit about fitness from this coach, so if he makes a recommendation, I listen.

I did my research and concluded that Qigong is an exercise all of us should be practicing every day.

What is Qigong?

I’ll quote directly from,

“Qigong is a natural way to move energy (Qi / Chi) through your body. It’s often used by Taoist and Buddhist monks, as well as traditional and Chinese healers. It doesn’t need to be practiced in a religious context and actually is considered and practiced as a beautiful art by countless people all over the world.”

“The concept of Qigong is based on meditation, breathing techniques, and gentle movements to move the “Qi” through your body.”

“The word “Qi” is difficult to translate. It comes from the traditional Chinese culture and means life energy, breath or mind. “Gong” means cultivation or mastery. Hence, the concept can be translated as “cultivation of life force” or “control of your own energy”.”

“As mentioned above, the concept is based on the basic principle of meditation and mindfulness and combines it with physical movements. This is why Qigong is often seen as “standing meditation”.”

Benefits of Qigong
The National Qigong Association proclaims the benefits of Qigong to be;

“Qigong opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.”

“Physically, slow gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to heal life challenges ranging from high blood pressure and chronic illness to emotional frustration, mental stress, and spiritual crisis.”

Who is a good fit for Qigong? EVERYONE is a good fit for Qigong. Folks who haven’t exercised in a while and want to start, folks who regularly exercise but want exercise that creates more flexibility, folks with injuries or chronic pain and need low impact need low impact, young people and seniors, are all a good fit to start a Qigong routine.

How to get started
I found a couple of resources for Qigong beginners.
Mindmonia has a complete guide for Qigong beginners. They provide a description of the exercise, benefits, and videos where you can follow along.

In this video, viewed over 3.6M times, is a 20 minute Qigong routine, and they do a good job of describing each exercise. While watching this video, I can see why Qigong is also considered to be a meditative exercise.  

Fitness, Qigong, exercise, meditation, wide-body, stress, stress relief

9 Benefits of Playing Tennis

woamn playing tennisMany folks are still not able to go into a gym, so we need to search for alternative ways to exercise. If you are wanting to do something other than using your home gym, running, biking or swimming, have you considered playing tennis? Here’s why you should pick up a racket today:

  • Availability – Tennis courts are readily available in most parts of the United States, as well as over parts of the world. If you don’t have courts in your neighborhood, you will likely find them in a local park.
  • Inexpensive– If you play at a neighborhood or city park, you will likely not a fee. Your only costs are a racket, tennis balls, and the time is takes for you to get to the court.
  • Play the game at any age – Tennis is a wonderful game at any age. It can also be easily learned at any age. Don’t let the fact that you’ve never played stop you from starting. Plus, if you have never played, you will likely find a partner who will happily “show you the ropes” on how to get started.
  • Social Distance – The nature of the game creates distance between you and your opponent, thus alleviating the concern of being too close and potentially spreading pathogens.

Those are the reasons why to pick up a racket, today. What are some of the benefits of playing tennis?

  1. Full body workout: Your lower and upper body are in constant motion
  2. Improved aerobic and anaerobic health: Get your heart rate up, increase your oxygen intake, and your body will begin to build a better cardio system, as well as more efficient muscles.
  3. Burns calories and fat: Playing tennis can burn between 400-600 calories an hour. For a comparison, I walked 3.5 miles, it took me an hour and 10 minutes, and I burned 390 calories. I could have burned more in less time.
  4. Improves bone health: I recently wrote about how exercise improves bone health, and since tennis is an overall body work out, it would obviously benefit bones through your body.
  5. Heart healthy: This one is self-explanatory; if you consistently raise your heart rate, you will build a stronger cardio system.
  6. Enhances flexibility, balance and coordination: Eye hand coordination is critical in tennis. You can develop your coordination, which will in tun develop your balance, which is an important thing to maintain as we age. And because the game entails movement, reaching, and stretching, your flexibility improves, which also helps you prevent injuries.
  7. Boosts brain power: Tennis requires you “to think on your feet”, make adjustments in split seconds, to develop strategies and ever-changing tactics. studies show that exercises that require a lot of thinking can improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, social skills, and behavior.
  8. Is great cross-training for other sports: The short speed burst associated with tennis translates well into cross training for other sports and a thus speed up your pace and endurance.
  9. Boosts mood: Exercise has been shown to improve your mental health, alleviating anxiety and depression, while improving self-esteem and optimism.

I hope this inspires you to pick up a racket and start playing. Let us know if you are regularly playing tennis and grab a partner to play a match with you.

And if you enjoyed this post, please leave a message below and subscribe to this site. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

And a shout out to the folk at Health Fitness Revolutions for these ideas.

#fitness #tennis #exercise #cardio #strongboones #workout #socialdistance #crosstraining #mentalhealth #calories #fat #aerobic #anaerobic #flexibility #wide-body

4 Reasons to Buy These Books About Stretching

Are you looking for other sources of information on how to stretch? I did some research and found these books that I believe will make a fantastic addition to your exercise library.

I like these books for 4 reasons:

  1. Visuals: The books contain easy to read visuals of each stretch. This eliminates much of the guess work around the concern of “Am I doing this right?”
  2. Ease of Use: These books are designed for anyone to use. You don’t need to be a professional athlete or trainer to understand and use these books.
  3. Science based: The books show the reader the science behind the anatomy and the best way to meet the needs of the anatomy.
  4. Comprehensive: These books depict stretches that can be used for the whole body, and thus improve mobility for the whole body.

You can find both of these books at Amazon. Click on the image below and it will take you the page on Amazon.


I look forward to hearing from you all. Let know if you are using these books and share how you are feeling with your new flexibility. But before you leave, be sure to subscribe to the Wide-Body site, at Subscribing is free, and I’ll keep you informed of the activities at the Wide-Body as well as have special offers just for subscribers.

Take care and enjoy life!

9 Benefits to Stretching


For the next few weeks, the theme on the exercise posts will revolve around subject of how you can have an effective workout while you are at home.

For some of you, you may be starting a new exercise regimen, so allow me to suggest that you add muscle stretches into your regular routine. Even if you have been exercising for a awhile, adding stretches now will benefit you by helping you prevent injuries and improving your strength.

Healthline has a nice article highlighting the benefits of stretching, and some basic tips.  Check it out here 

So, what’s the point? Why should you stretch? Here are 9 reason why.

  1. Increases your flexibility – Stretching can help delay the reduced mobility that can come with aging, as well improve your performance within your daily activities
  1. Increases your range of motion – Stretching on a regular basis can help increase your range of motion.
  1. Improves your performance in physical activities – Stretches prior to physical activities has been shown to help prepare your muscles for the activity. Your muscles are “cold” prior to activity, thus they are not as pliable as they would be once they are “warm” with activity. Warm muscles allow you to fully engage in activities.
  1. Increases blood flow to your muscles –Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles, which can shorten your recovery time and reduce muscle soreness
  1. Improves your posture-  One study found that a combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment.
  1. Helps to heal and prevent back pain- Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. When this happens, you increase the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back.
  1. Is great for stress relief – When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. That’s because your muscles tend to tighten up in response to physical and emotional stress.
  1. Can calm your mind – While you stretch, focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises, which give your mind a mental break.
  1. Helps decrease tension headaches- Stretching may help reduce the tension you feel from headaches.

Let’s start with some definitions as this will guide us through a stretching routine

 Static stretches involve holding a stretch in a comfortable position for a period of time, typically between 10 and 30 seconds. This form of stretching is most beneficial after you exercise.

 Dynamic stretches are active movements that cause your muscles to stretch, but the stretch is not held in the end position. These stretches are usually done before exercise to get your muscles ready for movement.

 You can stretch any time during the day. On days you exercise:

  • Do 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching before exercise
  • Do 5 to 10 minutes of static after exercise

On days when you aren’t exercising, do at least 5 to 10 minutes of stretching as this will continue to help improve your flexibility.

And here’s some additional tips:

  • DO NOT BOUNCE. That “ballistic” stretch approach has been shown not to work
  • Hold your stretch for 30 seconds. This will provide the best impact for the muscles
  • Don’t over stretch. Tension is good, pain is not. Start slow as the body will need to adapt to this stress, and gradually build up to more stretches over a course of weeks.
  • Focus on major parts of the body as this will improve mobility: calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, shoulders, neck, and lower back.

Now that you have the basics of stretching, go mix it up, get a little sweaty, because afterwards, you are going to feel great. But before you leave, be sure to subscribe to the Wide-Body site, at Subscribing is free, and I’ll keep you informed of the activities at the Wide-Body as well as have special offers just for subscribers.

Take care and enjoy life!

5 Bodyweight Exercises: No Gym, No Problem

No gym no problemI’ll be posting post a series of articles focused on how you can get a decent workout having to go to the gym. During this time when we are all doing are best to keep our distance from each other, unfortunately, our attendance to the gym suffers. And during stressful times, it is as critical as ever to exercise as it improves our physical and mental health.

So today, I present you five bodyweight exercises you can do at home.

When performing these exercises, start with 10 repetitions and 3 sets each.

Single leg squats


Balance on one leg and fully extend the opposite leg out in front of you. Squat down as far as you can, then return to starting position. Do 10 repetitions per leg.

What I really like about this exercise is that it you have to focus on your stabilizing muscles in order to stay balanced. Unfortunately, we lose this stability and strength as we age, and thus I like this exercise to fight back against time.

Spiderman Pushups


Start at a pushup position, then lower yourself to floor. As you lower yourself, bring your right knee to your right elbow, and stay off the ground. Raise yourself up to starting position and work the other sides.

This will take a few repetitions before you get used what initially feels awkward. But the results is a really good work out for your chest, shoulders, and your core muscles! Awesome!

Lateral lunge to dragon squat


Start standing with legs straight and wider than shoulder-width apart. Move laterally, bending your left knee to squat and keeping your right leg straight. Raise yourself up and then step behind your right leg. Then drop into a squat but keep your right leg straight. Finish by stepping back into the starting position.

This is like no other lunge or squat you have ever done before. DO NOT BECOME frustrated if you feel clumsy the first time you try this. Finish a complete set of 3, and you’ll notice that you feel a lot more coordinated on the last squat than you did on the first squat.

Fighter knees


Start in a split squat position, then quickly bring your back knee up. As you come up, touch your knee to your opposite elbow, then return to the split squat for the next rep.

This exercise is designed to be “explosive”, using your quick-fire muscle fibers, so come out of the squat fast! As you bring your knee up, be sure to rotate and hold your core muscles tight. This is a fantastic workout for legs, the core, and it will burn some calories because you are moving quickly through the routine.

Plank pushups


Start in a plank, then press yourself up, one arm at a time.

I like this routine as it shakes up the plank routine, works on the stabilizers and stresses a new set of muscles, plus you get a chest, shoulder, and triceps workout.

A shout out to Men’s Journal for the ideas I wrote about here. You can find their original article here.

What did you guys think? Were you able to pick up a new idea? Was there something you can add to your routine? I hope you guys enjoyed this, and if you did, leave a comment as I would love to here from you.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, as well as the articles and videos I have to offer, please subscribe to the Wide-Body newsletter. I’ll provide regular updates, discussing the topics found here, as well as provide you with extra features not found on the other sites.

Who is the Wide-Body?

Hi, I’m Chris Stiehl, a.k.a. The Wide-Body. This blog is dedicated to the “everyday athlete”, and that person is you! I sincerely believe an athlete resides in every one of us and I want to inspire you to discover that athlete within you. You are also built with a specific body type, and each type has its own power, so embrace that power and ignore the noise that says your body shape is unworthy. That power is your gift, and thus each week, I will post articles featuring topics about Health, Fitness, and Food so that you can incorporate these ideas into life and enjoy the gift you have been given.