Now that the New Year is in swing I have started working on my new self-styled fitness program to replace the gym. On New Years Eve I picked out my new “fitness centre” which has a cricket pitch, basketball court, walking track, exercise stations, gum trees, hibiscus bushes, sulphur crested cockatoos, pink and grey gallahs, and a library. Ok, its a park, but its a good one. There is an asphalt walking track around the perimeter with some outdoor fitness stations that I can try out.
I think this park would be a good place to do a bit of running. From my extensive reading on running I have leaned that is better to run on asphalt than concrete as it has more bounce, and its safer to run on a smooth flat track than to try and jog around the uneven footpaths. Since my ankles aren’t getting any younger, I’d probably rather not run on uneven surfaces. I had a good brisk walk around to check it out, but didn’t actually run as the sun was pretty hot and humidity was 110%. Summer weather is definitely a factor to consider at the moment.
I have also done some yoga which can be used for strengthening as well as stretching if you pick your exercises well. I could remember enough to make up my own sessions with a few standing poses, stretches and twists.
Today I felt like focussing on strength so I dragged out a pilates book and DVD that was lurking in the “fitness” section of the bookcase. What a revelation. I have done pilates before, but needed a bit of input to remember what to do. Wow, I really knew where my stomach muscles were after 5 minutes. I couldn’t make it to the end because it was too advanced and I didn’t want to overload on “too much too soon”. That workout was more demanding than anything I did at the gym for core strength and stability. If I ever get to be able to do the whole DVD I will be a core strength wonder woman. The nice thing was I did that mid-morning after I had done some computer work and felt that I needed a break to refresh myself. It was a great use of time to just adjourn to the loungeroom floor for half an hour, and then get back to work on the computer afterwards. Later in the day I went for a walk to the supermarket and carried the shopping uphill, so in my book, that counts as two fitness activities in one day.
Later today I read a post on a similar theme from Leo Babauta who was writing on The New Rules of Fitness for 2013. He advocates a more flexible approach to fitness where you do small amounts of exercise thoughout the day. He uses the idea of the “fitness bit” which is a unit of exercise that you slot in where it fits in your schedule, and adds up with other bits into a fit lifestyle.
I have been exploring what I call “incidental exercise” for a while now and I find it much more enjoyable than having to get to the gym in the right clothes at the right time. Your could call it Guerilla fitness, using the time, space and opportunities that arise in your environment on any given day. Getting off the train a stop early and walking home, walking across the CBD instead of catching a bus, carrying home the shopping, sucking in the tummy while cleaning the bath. It all counts. Some intentional long walks or runs, and some stretching and strengthening sessions on the loungeroom floor add structure and focus to the proceedings.
And what holds it all together? Just the intention to get fit, lived out every day. And a tick on the calendar for any significant exercise activity.