Exercise. That dreaded word. All those health surveys and doctors office questionnaires always wanting to know “How many times per week” you exercise. I’m guessing there are a whole lot of people out there having to make something up since “0 times per week” is rarely on the list. But I’m here to tell you today you can proudly start checking the box like I do, without ever having to step inside a gym.
(Note: I am not saying to stop your New Year’s Resolution gym membership. I just want to give some outside alternatives for those that already know they are not going to go run on a treadmill.)
Anyone close to me knows I don’t even own a pair of sneakers, lots of heels, but nothing exercise related. While traditional exercise is not personally my deal, I do believe that physical activity is one of the most important things we can, and should do, for our health. Especially as we age!
Of course, before you do or try anything new, you should always check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for any new activity. If you are, I think the best thing any of us can do is to go back to our younger days, when we didn’t think about exercise as something we had to do, but when we simply did things we thought were fun and they naturally kept us active. So….
I start every morning by putting on music, not slow calming music, but fun, fast music. Music that you danced to in your younger days is the best. It gets you energized; you move faster and it brings about great memories too. Even if you are alone…dance! It’s one of the things I love to do most and I do it a lot, its great cardio. When you go out, if possible, pick places with music and dancing. It makes for an even more fun evening and you work off your dinner at the same time! If you have grandchildren, dance with them every chance you get. This is not only healthy for you, but great fun and “exercise” for them too. You can dance with you partner, your dog (mine is a fantastic partner btw), your cat, it really doesn’t matter, the key is to move!
2) Hula hoop!
Assuming your back is not an issue, consider trying this again. If you don’t have a hula hoop, you can go out and buy one cheap. Target, dollar store, doesn’t matter. You might be surprised at both how much fun it is and how easy it is to get in some good exercise time. Instead of watching a TV show sitting on the couch, try standing and using a hula hoop while you watch. The time will go by fast and your waist line will thank you. And again, if you have grandchildren, get 2 hula hoops (they make little ones for them), it’s always fun to play with a partner. :)
3) Jump rope!
Do you remember when you would do this just for fun? We never thought of it back then as exercising. Do it to music and it’s even more fun! If using an actual jump rope is hard at first, start with an imaginary jump rope, the activity is the same, and you’ll have a chance to laugh at yourself. Though your family might laugh also. :)
If you have the use of a pool, swimming is not only fun and calming, it’s much easier on your joints. It also helps with stretching. Which if you do nothing else, try and stretch, even if it’s for a few minutes each day. Do it to your music in the morning, it really will start your day off great, and you won’t feel as stiff as the day goes on.
Just good old fashion walking. Remember when you would walk to school or your friend’s house? If you wanted to get somewhere and didn’t have a car, we didn’t even give it a second thought. So give it another try next time you have a few close errands. It’s often easier to walk to a destination for a reason than to make yourself go out for a walk. And if you can walk with a grandchild, even better, chat about all the things you see along the way. The names of trees, the names of flowers, stories of how you would to walk to school…it doesn’t really matter what you talk about, just talk.
Well, I don’t think I need to explain or go into detail here, but if you have a partner, this can certainly be great exercise and good for your relationship too! ;)
As you can see, there are lots of great alternatives if the gym isn’t in your plans. These are just a few, but the goal is to be moving. Start slowly if need be, but the more you do the easier it will get, and the more you can do! You will feel better both physically and mentally. And again, as you can probably tell by now I’m a big advocate of adding music to everything for the positive energy it gives. One of my favorites to stream on Youtube is the Beach Boys. Upbeat music can change your mindset, energize you, and get you moving...it doesn’t get any better than that!