Published on March 2nd, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
Input and Output
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”
Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived well over 2,000 years ago, seems to have a good grasp as to the basis of good physical health. And his advice makes absolute sense today! It also seems to take into account that each person is unique and that any exercise and nutrition needs to be tailored to the individual.
So, having started to go to bed at a more socially acceptable time from last night (aiming for midnight at the latest and about 7 hours sleep every night), the next thing to address is exercise! Up until I was about 30 years old, the only thing I ever needed to do if I put on a pound or two was to swim a bit more for a week or two and I was back to about 100 pounds. I ate a normal healthy diet and never even thought about “dieting”. In fact, until the 70’s, virtually no-one thought about “dieting” – being overweight was unusual and obesity rare!
Having fallen off the exercise wagon many, many times, I’ve finally worked out the secret! It has to be fun – something I really really like to do. And be easily accessible. Much as I’d love to ski or snowboard, the Snowdomes are a 60 mile round trip – so a whole day out, expensive on fuel and expensive to do! And the Alps even more so on all counts!
If you aren’t sure what you would find fun with regard to exercise – think back to childhood. Chances are the activities that you did or wanted to do then are the key to what you would enjoy now.
I loved to go swimming – and swimming laps bores me rigid – but I still like “playing” in pools. And my favourite playground thing was a slide! And now I can go to a fabulous indoor/outdoor water park with water slides and roller coaster and bubble pools almost any day of the year – it’s just a short drive away and the cost is minimal with an annual ticket!
And I always liked going for a walk. That’s the easiest of all living out here in the wilds of the Peak District. All I have to do is walk out of the back door to be surrounded by nature, and with little more than the occasional tractor passing me, I could probably even walk in my PJ’s! The only equipment you need for a walk is suitable footwear and clothes for the weather outside! So, no getting changed into special clothes or packing gym kit; no travel time or any other expenses cost; no special warm up routine to avoid injury; minimal risk of injury; and the coffee after is better and about 5% of the cost at a gym! A win, win, win, win, win, win situation……… Plus, of course, the benefits of being outdoors – light to the brain, so less risk of SAD syndrome (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter, and an opportunity to get some natural Vitamin D via the skin in the summer (taking care not to get too much sun because of the risks of skin cancer – there’s always a balance!).
But I’ve taken the walking to another level, having learned Nordic walking! I had a couple of lessons to get the technique right, bought myself a set of Nordic walking poles, and now get an upper body workout at the same time as the walk! The only extra cost was the price of the poles and the cost of the lessons. Thereafter it’s free! The day I came across about thirty bullocks running loose on the lane was the day I got over the embarrassment factor of being asked if I’d forgotten my skis by the occasional passing farmer. I feel much safer with big (and occasionally unpredictable) animals with a couple of long sticks attached to my arms! Not only is the Nordic walking an upper body workout, it’s 20% more energetic than regular walking, but FEELS EASIER! And I’ve recently changed my technique to “double poling” which is a bit like langlauf (cross country skiing). The only thing I do differently with Nordic walking is a short warm up before I start, just to gently stretch everything out.
From when I was about 11 years old, I really really wanted to do yoga. But there were no classes till I was in my late teens. Since then I’ve intermittently gone to several kinds of yoga classes, so can easily put together a short session for myself! Because of my age and medical history, the best kind of yoga for me nowadays is Whole Woman Yoga. And the best time for me is straight after a bath or shower (when I’m at my most flexible) for about 15 minutes, often with a 10 minute meditation.
And I really wanted to dance as a child, but had to choose between dance classes or music lessons. I opted for piano lessons….. But Santa has brought me an Xbox Kinect for Christmas this year, and a Zumba session with it! It’s only just arrived and it’s going to be my rainy day default exercise plan! I think I may have to start off with a short session and gradually work up to the whole session!
And finally I now have the trampoline I dreamed of as a little girl! British winters aren’t ideal for trampolines though. Instead I’ve got a little rebounder in front of the TV which is almost as much fun.
So, my personal exercise plan at the moment is as follows:
- 15 mins yoga
- 3 mins x 3 rebounding (gentle bouncing – just my heels lifting off the mat – called the Health Bounce)
It’s my intention to do this daily, knowing that there’s always at least one day in the week where plans go pear-shaped!
So, what kind of exercise feels like fun for you?
Not sure? What did you like to play at as a child?
The clue might be there!
Or what really really appeals to you now? If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, give it a go!
Changing what you eat will never be enough alone to improve health and lose weight – you need to move too!
The maxim “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” is true of both our bodies and our brains!