Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Image: exercise

I was talking to a friend last night who was undergoing an image overhaul. And I just thought that it would be colours, clothes styles, that sort of thing. But no. It was more. Listening to my friend tell me one or two things that she had to start with, I thought that it would be fun to do it too. Basically we are looking at our life, so it's not just one's appearance.

The first thing to do is, do some exercise everyday. So here, we can be looking at anything from going to the gym everyday, to going for a walk, doing some yoga or callisthenics. The list of possibilities is actually quite big!

I worked in gyms for years, teaching yoga, & I certainly learnt a lot from the people (nearly all ladies) who came to the classes. Now I do know that you need time & space to do a lot of exercise, & many of these women either didn't "work" (ie have an official job) or were retired. So going to the gym each day was easier for them. However, one of the most inspirational ladies, ever, whom I taught, was 80. I asked her about her fitness, & she replied that she didn't do much anymore. She was going to a ladies only gym everyday except sunday, for a fitness class, & of course the classes varied from yoga to pilates to bootcamp to keep fit. She had a 30 minute walk on the treadmill  beforehand. Not much!!! My goodness, it was heaps. She looked amazing, & could do more difficult poses than many of the others in the class. And her diet was just as "regulated" & automatic. Prior to all this, she had run everyday, for years, & done callisthenics. Whenever I feel lazy...which can be often...I think of this woman. She honestly had kept her figure after childbirth decades prior, & maintained it.

One of my friends had kids, a job, a home, her own garden, so had very little free time. She is a gardener by trade, so is very strong & fit. Each evening she was doing elbow planks & side elbow planks for her abdominals & some yoga salute to the sun.  Yes, I know. Massive guilt reading this.

I met an older woman who was trying a fitted jeans in the most trendy of jeans shops. She got 1 skin tight pair to wear around her husband (very cute idea!) & another, less tight one, for the weekend. She walked every single morning for about 40 minutes. And had for years.

I had always only ever done yoga, ever since my mid 20s, & it wasn't the full-on stretch & hold for a long time, type. Nor was it strenuous. It had always been adequate until my mid forties. I didn't need to do much walking or anything else. But the time had come where I knew that I needed something extra for body tone. Joanne came to stay. She had a totally killer body. Of course, I wanted to know how she got it: 10 minutes, 1st thing every morning, using cans of baked beans, or even no weights, body tone exercise. Each exercise was done 20 x, so to fit it all into 10 minutes, she would have been moving fast. Totally the opposite to yoga. I had to work this out in my head, I was so unused to anything like this. Plies with toes turned out & squats, for legs & buttocks. There was a side leg lift for outer thighs but this is not an area that I need to worry about so I skipped that. Crunches combining bust exercise: have your arms by the sides of your chest & as you crunch up you bring your arms up & cross them at the wrist. Triceps kickbacks & pushups. I mean, really, how hard is all that? I can tell you that it really works, & I only ever did each exercise 10 x, & probably slower than Joanne.

Then there is a woman whom I taught in a gym, for years. She came once a week for an hour yoga class. It was her easy workout each week. Every other day, 1st thing, she would walk, run, swim, lift weights, she varied it, & had a routine with her husband whereby one would be getting kids ready for school whilst the other exercised, then they would swop over so that the other could then do their fitness routine.

So, reading all this, I do know that it can seem quite daunting. But I really just wanted to give some inspiring examples. And it can take trial & error to find out what suits you & your life. So, today, let's all think about ways to add a bit of exercise each day. And do it. If it's not right for you, do something else tomorrow. But try to get some in everyday day, even if it's just a short walk. Or a couple of 10 minute walks, at a pinch. Try some pushups against a bench. Do some plies when you have 30 seconds. Some crunches before bed. If we make things easy...then we can do it. I shall add these suggestions: 2 x 10 minute walks, pushups, plies & crunches, all 20 x each, to my day. I already do 10 minutes of easy yoga sun salutes most mornings. Some sun salutes are hard. I've learnt that for myself..if it's hard, it becomes too much & I stop doing them. And I'd rather just do them than make it too daunting.

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