Bust a Move

30 Jun

I love to spend a whole day slouched over in my computer chair playing video games. Years ago it was practically all I did outside of work. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t in good shape either. I was thin with zero muscle tone. Exercise just seemed like a lot of work, especially after a full day at work. Then I started walking; I was going through a tough time in my life and those thirty minute to an hour walks every day helped me clear my head. In the meantime I discovered that getting exercise every day, even after a long day at work, actually made me feel a lot better physically. I wasn’t tired; I had more energy. After a few months of long walks I decided to kick it up a notch and I started taking martial arts classes. I was sore, sweaty, and sometimes felt exhausted. But really? I felt amazing, and I still do.

Exercise isn’t really that hard to budget into a day. I know sometimes it can seem like we have no time for it, but when that happens to me I think about all the time I budget for other things. There’s TV, internet FOREVER, video games, and fixing my pedicure after it gets fucked up at Aikido every week. If it’s a really busy day and I’m swamped with work and school, it’s a good bet I can find at least fifteen minutes and just take a walk. If I have more time, that’s a bonus!

Here are some easy ways to get your butt off that computer chair.

Walking/Biking/Running
Walking is one of my personal favorite activities. You don’t have to powerwalk (I kind of think it looks ridiculous), just take a stroll. I’m lucky enough to live near a nature trail, but if you’re in a larger city look for parks and bike paths, or just take a walk down the street. Need a few things at the grocery store? Google maps will tell you the best walking route and about how long it will take you to get there. Walking is also free! Sometimes on my walks I even see neat things like cool bugs or deer, or one time a giant mound of bear poop (I turned around and went back home).

The Gym
Gyms offer a lot of options. Standard work out machines typically have a place to rest a book or a magazine, and there’s always blasting your mp3 player. Some gyms have year-round heated pools for swimming, great if you have injuries and need low-impact exercise. My cousin loves to play Tennis and belongs to a gym that caters to Tennis lovers, with matches going on every day. If you want to get buff like the dudes in 300, you can go check out a CrossFit gym. A lot of gyms offer classes which brings us to…

Group Fitness
Tons of options here. Always wanted to be a ballerina? Look up local ballet schools, I’ll bet you anything they have beginning adult classes, and ballet is hard exercise. Love to shake your booty in a non-classical manner? Sign up for a salsa dance class.

Martial Arts is another exercise option, with tons of different styles. I go to an Aikido dojo a few times a week where I get thrown around and throw other people around. It’s great exercise and getting to know people at my dojo gives me incentive to show up. Martial Arts has also been great exercise for my mind, which people also say is a benefit of…

Yoga. There are a lot of different types of yoga as well, with varying levels of physical impact. In my town there’s a yoga studio around every corner, so I wouldn’t even have to look far if I wanted to check it out!

Not sure where to start or what you’d like? Go visit your local YMCA. Mine has tons of different options for group fitness, and costs very little compared to a gym. It even has scholarships for people with financial difficulties.

Gaming Consoles
Own a console? The Wii, Xbox360, and PS3 all offer fitness games. PS2’s are very cheap now and you can play DanceDanceRevolution, my favorite way to shake my booty in front of a TV.

Netflix/Hulu
You’re using the internet right now. Did you know that Netflix and Hulu have free streaming fitness programs? How difficult is that to turn on?

This is nowhere near the all the awesome things that also happen to contain exercise. There’s swimming, rock climbing, group sports, and rowing among a few. Don’t like one type of exercise? Try something else. It’s a good bet there’s an activity out there that you’ll enjoy.

Last, but not least, take it easy on yourself. If you don’t exercise at all right now, deciding to run a half hour a day won’t do you any favors. You’ll feel frustrated and discouraged, and can easily get injured by pushing yourself too far too fast. Work with your body’s limits. I have knee problems, and there are some things I can’t do. I can’t run or ride a bike on a regular basis, but if I remember to ice my knees and be gentle with them, I can walk on a regular basis and go to Aikido at least two to three times a week. Getting motivated to exercise is awesome; hurting yourself is not. Take good care of your body and be careful with it, because your body will be with you for a long time.

I’m starting a new series here on the Divas on easy fitness. Like it and want to read some more? Please let me know!

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4 Responses to “Bust a Move”

  1. Tami June 30, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I’d love to read more!

    I got started with Yoga for Dummies, and no matter what else I’m doing, I still run through that program more often than anything else (though now I do it without the super-slow and super-distracting chatter from the instructor).

    Kudos to you for taking the classes – the step from “nobody can see me, so this safe” to “other people get to see me, and I’m spending money regularly” is one that I have yet to make. =]

    • Claire June 30, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Awesome, Tami! I think the most important thing to remember about exercise is that it’s not hard. We all have our limits, both bodily and time-wise, and working within those is what keeps me happy. For me, having people that know me and expect me to show up to the Dojo is a huge motivator. I’m honestly not one of those people that would get out and run on my own!

      If Yoga works for you solo, then it works. 🙂

      • Tami July 1, 2011 at 9:41 am #

        My husband and I have been talking about when we don’t work out, WHY, and what can we do to fix it. We both agree that we’re happier when we’re working out regularly, but we’ve been (pardon the terrible wordplay) work out constipated lately.

        We may have to sacrifice some of our precious morning snuggle time in order to make it work. This is an obvious solution to awake-us. Asleep-us, on the other hand, disagrees vehemently.

        *wink* Maybe a class situation would be good for us – force us into the expectations of others we don’t want to let down, rather than the expectations of US, who kind of wants us to eat ice cream and stop the pushup thing.

  2. Verdus July 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Sure, I’d be interested in reading more.

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