Let’s take a look at three potentially enjoyable ways that you can change the course of your life with fitness.
Before we go there, however, let’s focus on the process of discovery, itself.
It involves doing something different.
Obviously–how else could anything be discovered?
I guarantee you that there is an exercise activity that you can and will enjoy, that will change your life in major ways. You simply have to make the effort to discover it.
Your comfort zone is your jail. The keys to escape are labeled ‘decisions’. These keys are located deep inside the place where only you can go.
Dance to the Music
There’s no need to sweat over the details on this one, but you do want to work up a sweat if you can. This is purely and simply about the music that moves you and whatever moves you can do. Your body doesn’t know what’s right or wrong, so just get going and get crazy. Use a rhythm that’s irresistible.
Is this easy, or what?
Use big movements to work the big muscle groups. This creates a greater demand for cardio/pulmonary response – -you want your heart to start beating faster and your breathing to be faster and deeper. Incorporating partial squat movements (according to your ability, of course) is fantastic for accomplishing these goals. Start with a music list that contains about ten minutes of tunes that you love. Just do this self made dance routine any way you like for the ten minutes, three times a week. You will find this ‘self’ time to be incredibly gratifying, first of all, because you made the decision to discover! This is its own reward. Secondly, as you allow yourself to enjoy the movement without fear of doing ‘a wrong move’ you will focus more on the moment. This is an important aspect of exercise as a stress reliever. Think about it. If you find yourself worried about not knowing a particular dance routine, or being self-conscious about how you might look, how much fun is it going to be? You’re not in competition with anyone. On the contrary;
You’re on a journey of discovery to find joy in movement.
Work Your Body With Resistance
Resistance exercise is important because maintaining muscle strength and bone density is critical for good health as we age. There is no substitute for this. Muscle and bone respond to regular (meaning consistent over a period of time) resistance exercise by becoming stronger. In our dance routine, your legs and hips will receive significant resistance training, while the upper body very little.
I’ve trained with weights since I was young. At that time it was a vanity thing. Now, in my sixties, it’s a survival thing. In those days people believed that big muscles made a person ‘muscle-bound’ and restricted natural movement. Science has since revealed that weight training produces substantial benefits that go way beyond muscle size.
Body weight only routines are fantastic, creative and challenging. Aging, however, has compromised my ability to perform certain movements. The arthritic pain in my big toes, for example, makes a simple push-up a painful exercise for me. Welcome to aging. The use of free weights gives me the ability to design a full body strength and resistance routine and to meet my particular needs. In this way, free weights offer an incredible variety of moves with variable resistance that nothing else can match. Because I also have total control of the speed and range of motion of the movement, it’s the safest way to resistance train effectively. Training slow and deliberate is my style. It’s easier on tendons that, at this point, have shown some signs of wear. Go at your own pace with the goal of smooth movement, moderately challenging yourself, with particular focus on form. If you’re a beginner, you really should enlist the aid of a personal trainer. I know, it’s not easy finding the right person, but it’s very important. You’re most likely to succeed with resistance training by seeking out a local Senior group class conducted by a knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructor. I’m the first to admit that the gym, for most people, is not an easy place to have fun.
In recent years, much has been discovered about the efficacy of moderate exercise. It’s simply not necessary to ‘max out’ and ‘feel the burn’ to benefit greatly from exercise. Enjoy your experience with exercise for the health of it, accomplished with simple moderation!
What About Walking?
Walking is a good activity–something that you do every day. But because you do it every day, unless you’re doing it faster, or uphill–requiring greater effort, I’m not going to give you credit for exercising.
I propose that exercise is ‘The use of positive physical stressors on the body systems that results in increased strength and/or improved functioning.’
How do you know when walking becomes exercise?
Your heart will be beating faster and you’ll be breathing a little heavier. If you do this consistently over time, you will need to walk a little faster to produce that same heartbeat and respiratory response. That means you’ve gotten fitter and you’ve advanced on your journey.
For the More Adventurous
Why not embark on a fitness journey that can calm the spirit as well? Tai Chi or Yoga could be perfect for the reflective soul seeking to unite mind and body.
So much to choose from…