Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Thoughts on Excercise...

Having just had day light savings time, our days (at least where I am) have actually been quite bright and sunny!  In addition to the lack of general gloominess, the temperature is rising!  I hear we are actually supposed to reach fifty degrees sometime this week!  For the people on the coasts or down South, that's cold, but for a Midwestern girl like me, that is flip flop weather!  Well, not quite, but close enough! 

What does this have to do with exercise you may wonder?  

Well... for me it is the indication that I can no longer hibernate and I have no choice but to go outside and be more active.

Ahhh winter, such a lovely excuse for a chubby girl, such as myself, to not have to work out.  Especially this winter, when when we were bombarded with 18 inches of snow!  However, the sky is blue, the grass is green and it is getting warmer and warmer each day that goes by!

Which brings me to my new theory on exercise...

Have you ever tried really hard to stick to a work out regimen just to have it fail miserably?  Like really royally backfire?  Yeah, me too.  Several times.  My basement is essentially where work out equipment goes to die.  It is not funny, we have a treadmill, an elliptical, an Ab Lounge, a Gazelle, a Total Gym, weights, a bike...I think that's about it.  Although there is a good chance there may be a few other small things down there as well, like some Perfect Push-Ups and jump ropes.  Anyhow, the point is their current and only use has been to collect dust.

This is what caused my "ah ha!" moment, so to speak.  I thought to myself, "With all of these resources at your disposal, how are you still so out of shape and why won't these pants button?"

Once I posed this question to myself, I quickly began creating as many excuses as possible, I am quite good at that.  Essentially what it boiled down to is this:  I like my sleep and I do not like having to wake up any earlier than I have to, especially working a full-time job that requires me to chase after children all day.  However, if it isn't completed in the morning, it will not be completed because by the time I come home, my energy supply is usually depleted. 

Once I had come to that conclusion, and I was thinking about my job and my students and how this nicer weather would mean time on the playground I thought, "By golly, I've got it!"


Whoa!  This was a whole new concept for me!  I mean, I knew I did not enjoy exercise (in the adult sense,) however I again began thinking about my students.  They have no clue how many calories they are burning when they are wildly riding bikes in the gym or running and playing tag with their friends on the playground.  They are doing it because it is FUN!   So I asked myself this question: 

Is it possible, can exercise be fun?

I immediately answered myself with, heck yes it can be!  I work with children, these are the little ones in all of our lives that often sit and laugh for no good reason other than it is fun!  So what happened between the time when we were all children to now when we are all adults that has made being active tiresome and feel more like an obligation and less of a pleasurable activity?

Sure, sure, we all have our responsibilities and we do not have as much spare time as we once did.  But I have realized we have sucked the fun out of being active, therefore, we are not going to be prone to make time for it because who wants to?  When we were all kids, we played soccer, kickball, dodgeball, rode bikes, etc.  As adults, we walk/jog in place on a treadmill until we have burned the appropriate amount of calories.  Now, is it written somewhere that once you hit a certain age you cannot enjoy those other, way more fun, activities anymore?  Why do we torture ourselves needlessly?  

I remember a time in my parents' neighborhood when all of us kids could regularly be found in the road preparing for some intense bike racing, roller-blading or tag playing.

Now, I did not involve myself in those activities because I was worried about the long-term affects of being overweight, or trying to fit into my school clothes or because I knew I was going to have one of my mom's famous cookies that night.  I did it because I loved it, because it was fun and I enjoyed myself when I did it!

Now I am going to say something that may seem crazy to some... it is my belief that if there was more of an emphasis on fun active lifestyles and less of an emphasis on these dreary, get up early and drag your butt to the gym lifestyles, perhaps obesity would not be such an issue?  Just a theory.

Either way, it is a theory I am going to test wholeheartedly.  This Spring, Summer and Fall, my husband and I will be devoting free time to being active and engaging in fun activities that will cause calories to burn while we enjoy ourselves!

To get us started we bought a video game, yes, I wrote video game.  We purchased the Zumba Fitness Party game for our Wii.  We figured this could be a fun game or activity that can be played indoors on rainy or cold days, and let me tell you friends, it is FUN!  You have no choice but to shake your booty if you want a high score!  I am ashamed to say, my husband currently has a higher score, but that will soon change.  If this game is something you want to try, prepare to feel it throughout your whole body!  I've never done an activity for only forty minutes and felt it in so many places!  It's truly wonderful!

Moving along...  We plan to regularly engage in these other fun activities throughout the next few months as a way of being active:
  • Going for bike rides!  (Just bought my husband his own bike!)
  • Rollerblading!
  • Hiking!  (Luckily there are three areas right in our town that are conservation areas with hiking trails!)
  • Canoeing/Paddle Boating
  • Bowling (Yes, you can burn calories doing that!)
  • Softball (My husband will be joining a recreational team!)
  • Shopping (Haha, you burn calories while you walk around the store, right?)
In general, the goal is just to spend more time outdoors, whether it is playing bags in the backyard, walking to the neighbors or playing catch with my husband.  I think all of these things sound way more appealing than going to a gym or going down to my basement where it's dark and boring...  Essentially, we have made a choice to enjoy ourselves and have fun, not to take things too seriously and certainly not to make ourselves do something we do not want to do.

I would love suggestions on more activities that would be fun and calorie burning!

Hopefully, soon I'll be able to report some weight loss as well as fun moments we spent enjoying these types of activities!

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