I was born in 1968, which means when Jane Fonda hit the news with her revolutionary aerobics exercise I was about 14. At that age I was into sci fi (still am, but not in quite as big a way) and the idea of moving to music was anathema. I hadn’t even had a proper dance with a boy, so I hadn’t got fond memories of any exercise. School sports were wasted on me, I was the reserve for the 4th team at netball, and if they let me on the court at all it was as Goalkeeper because they never leave the final third, and mostly stand in front of the Goalshooter and block their path. I was still tall for a woman at that stage, so height was my only advantage.
Fast forward through various diets and exercise fads and I am still never going to love team sports. I do, finally, admit to enjoying dancing with my husband but only because it’s so cuddly and I cannot see myself now at 51 wanting to take up jogging or running simply because I know the strain on my joints would be enough to stop me.
But I am also sensible enough to know that exercise is one of the best gifts you can give yourself for physical and mental health and that, whether you like it or not, you have to do it. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve found the three strands of exercise I need to feel good are: cardiac exercise that strengthens my heart; stretching exercises that work my muscles and keep me supple; and strength exercises that work my muscles in a different way and give me the power to keep going. I also know that I begrudge paying out for expensive equipment or gym membership, and that I often need a friend to go with me simply because I find exercising alone is boring.
Here’s my exercise pattern at the moment:
As often as possible, I go for a walk. Sometimes this is fast, sometimes it’s more of an amble and a chat with my son or husband (depending who’s turned out with me that day). We only walk about three or four miles at a time at the moment, simply because nighttime walks are restricted to pavements and lit areas, so that confines our perambulations. Currently I’m managing a walk two or three times a week. I’ll probably boost that in December when the Christmas lights are out: I love walking around in the early evening and peering into people’s houses.
If it’s too wet, cold or windy to walk I like to try and put on a dancercise DVD. My daughter and I love Strictly, so putting on a DVD featuring one of their professional dancers can spur us to move. I like Darcey Bussell’s Diverse Dance Mix or Camilla Dallerup’s Dance Off The Inches. I tried getting to grips with a dance game on the Wii or PS4, but I haven’t got there yet.
This year I’ve treated myself to a DVD called Dance That Walk, by Gina Buber. It’s supposed to be low impact, and after a bad back last month and sore knees earlier this year I’m hoping to keep healthy without straining anything more.
For years I used one of Rosemary Conley’s DVDs to help me stretch. I wasn’t working then, so I had time to pop one in when the children had gone off to school. Fitting in stretching now is a little more complicated, but I like to incorporate stretches into basic life when I’m cleaning, walking through the office or cooking in the kitchen. For some simple ideas on incorporating stretches as part of everyday life, see this post by Christa Avampato or this one by Toria Sheffield. Yoga is ideal for imrpoving flexibility, as well as the associated calming effect it has, so it’s on my to-do list to find a Yoga class nearby that I can attend. Until then, I get my yoga fix a couple of times a week from YouTube. I like this routine especially designed for the padded lady… that’s me.
I spent so many years going to a gym and all I ever did was use the treadmill and the rowing machine. Somehow I never got the courage to try out the weights around the wall. And as a mother of three heavy weight children, I never really needed it. My arms were well muscled just carrying the babies around.
Now I still have fairly strong arms, but I know I need to keep my strength up so I’ve gone back to one of my favourite fitness websites, Nerdfitness, for their advice on Strength Training for Women. Nerdfitness don’t believe in shelling out for expensive gym equipment if you can help it. They’re very in favour of using bodyweight exercises, or items around the home, and have a variety of routines at a variety of levels for whether you want to look toned or muscular.
I also found a really good set of strength exercises on Moneycrashers.com. These require no equipment or outlay, which is good for us all, isn’t it?
But my main form of strength exercises once a week is both equipment-intensive and can be costly. I’ve taken up archery, along with two of my children. Once a week (at least) we go along to a club and spend nearly two hours pulling at least 26lb in power back in order to fire arrows. We’ve only been going since August, but my arms are beginning to show a great level of musculature for it, while I’ve had to work on my back and stomach muscles to give me the support structure archery needs. It’s cost me a fortune, since we needed three bows and arrows all at the same time, but the enjoyment, reward and confidence boost we get from going, being reasonable and getting better is immeasurable. (and the expenditure is only an initial one, since our Club runs at a very reasonable rate). Even better, my son (shy, anxious, never known to enter a place on his own if he can help it) will happily spend a night at the Club alone if he needs to.
Fitness really is about finding your niche, isn’t it?
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My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
How to Hygge Your Summer, in Paperback and Kindle form, has lots of good ideas for the summer months. I strongly believe that hygge is so much more than throws and warm drinks.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
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One thought on “Feel the burn? Then you’ve gone too far. Get fit for hygge in a sensible way.”
My main forms of exercise are walking with the dogs and hubby, doing a few stretches while doing things around the house, and playing with the dogs. I tried gyms and things like that, and all they did was make me feel miserable and dread exercise, so I stopped going.