Exercise: Where to Start?
I thought about starting here because exercise is so foundational to good health. My equation is HEALTHY=BEAUTIFUL as well as its reverse (I knew it, algebra was worth something!).
In the last few years, I’ve been regularly exercising-originally to combat back spasms, rising blood pressure and eye pressure. My pressures are down, back spasms no more, and I have some other truly valuable benefits besides. I’ve shaped up (my husband is so appreciative), I have more energy (needed that!), and (what I most appreciate) I’m stronger. Much stronger. Human beings, being compound organisms require compound components, so exercise is only part of what’s needed, but that’s the part addressed right here.
Key to consistent effort in exercise is finding something you like, so you keep working with it. In my twenties, running was really popular and my husband was interested in it, so I thought I’d try that. I did, once. It was so boring for me.
What I find I really like, many women I talk with find boring: exercise videos. I love exercise videos. My “Jane Fonda Complete” started me out in weight training. I’m so grateful, Jane! This was when I began to notice my strength improvement – and have found many references in medical articles on the necessity of this type of exercise.
Fitness On Video
Susan Powter is great in this respect, too. Her videos are a great workout with “real people” partners. Kathy Smith has the best pregnancy workout, and her “Body Basics” was the first video I purchased.
There are so many fitness types and stars of every type to lead us in routines that cater to every level of ability that there is really no excuse to delay creating your plan. Stretching, yoga, Latin dance, even chair exercises to deliver personal training right in your living room
I always rent or borrow videos to work with before I buy and it gives variety to my routine. So this is my main form of aerobic exercise, which I supplement with free weights.
Since I first wrote these tips, so much has changed on the video fitness front. Now, you can choose from DVDs to Youtube, and I notice that Amazon Prime offers a wide range, as well.
One that I have fun with lately is “Body Groove” – check it out! I like its loose, fun style that fits the fact that I need movement and don’t have lots of ability right now.
Tactics to Tackle Exercise
I keep some dumbbells in my bedroom so that I can fit in exercise easily. Please, no jokes about that last sentence. I know none of this is new, mostly it’s just a pep talk – you have to “just do it”.
The observation I have at this point is that so many times we limit ourselves to activities which don’t fulfill our needs: team sports, good weather activities, gardening. These activities are exercise, but usually they’re marathon efforts with long absences between sessions.
Find something to fill in the spaces of everyday activities.
I would compile it this way:
- stretching exercises
- aerobic of your choice
- recreational events(hiking,skiing,double digging a rose bed)
- weight training
Women, particularly, need to take responsibility for their wellbeing. We’ll be more purposeful in our lives, feel better, prevent diseases, alot of things because we add exercise. It’s not the answer to all of life’s problems – I believe only Christ is-but bodily exercise is a key to bodily wellbeing.
You already know I like exercise videos, but thought I’d list the ones I like best:
Oldie but Goodies
- The Firm series: these are tough and effective; be sure to pace yourself and add the weights in carefully.
- Jane Fonda series: I like the dance moves, variety of weights and spot exercises.
- Kathy Smith Body Basics: This is the best warmup, and best ab and leg work in my opinion.
- Marilu Henner Dance Aerobics: fun dancing
- Susan Powter: no nonsense strength training and shaping. Great attitude!
- Various Pilates-type videos: Kathi Smith, Denise Austin, and many more to try. Concentrated.
There are so many more to choose from now than when I started. I have especially liked the wide range of Yoga workouts.
Many of the stretches and strength exercises were given to me when I had to have some physical therapy in recent years. I believe we lose fitness without being completely aware of what’s happening.
This is all the more reason to create a deliberate plan and stick to it. It is the habit that is important, the challenge level or even the forms ( dance, aerobics, yoga) may well change to adjust to our interests and needs, but the fact that we need to keep using all our muscle groups remains the main goal.
A fun way to get aerobic exercise is in a dance class. There are many forms of dance, jazzercise, ballet, modern, but an unusual type I tried was bellydance…
I have some pages on the many aspects of belly dance, including the costuming part of it. They will soon be posted here.