Washington Evening Journal
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So you loathe the gym. Thinking about a run makes you break out in hives. Joining a fitness class scares you, especially during a pandemic that won’t subside.
The problem is, you still want to be healthy and live, hopefully, a long and productive life.
There is hope.
There are several “workouts” for those who hate the word “exercise” or that aforementioned word that starts with a “w.”
Jill Schildhouse — a writer and editor who specializes in travel, health and wellness, fitness and nutrition, beauty and consumer products — wrote an article for The Healthy that can help all of us get over our dislike of gyms, workout classes or the dreaded exercise.
“Whether you despise exercise or you’ve just never experienced that post-exercise boost of feel-good chemicals hitting your brain, it’s possible that you simply haven’t found the right exercise,” she wrote. “So don’t think of it as exercise, per se, think of it as activity — because the science is clear that you need it.”
Most will tell you not to think of it as a “workout.” Think of it as “playing,” just like you did as a child.
“... falling in love with one of these fun activities could lead to new hobbies, new buddies, a new waistline and a new outlook on fitness.
“... If you have little kids in your life, then you have no shortage of opportunities to run around or get down and do the crab walk. Be the cool mom or dad (or the favorite aunt or uncle or grandparent) by joining in on their fun,” she writes.
“Kids move non-stop,” said Steph Wilberding, founder and head coach of HK Fitness. “Most of us used to do the same. As we get older, we slow down. Remember the game, tag? It’s a game of sprints, which is a great way to get in some cardio, increase your heart rate, and have some fun outside of the gym.”
Some of Schildhouse’s suggestions are “playing red rover, red-light green-light, Marco Polo, hopscotch, double-dutch, hide and seek, sharks and minnows, a snowball fight or hula-hooping.”
Here are some of her other suggestions:
Create an obstacle course — “Some of the best activities combine fun, the outdoors and a challenge.”
DeAnn Teixeira, a fitness director in California. suggests looking “for playgrounds with monkey bars to traverse, park benches to leap over, balance beams and climbing walls.”
“The fun challenge of an obstacle course can also take you back to the days of your childhood and the great memories of being carefree at the playground,” Schildhouse writes. “The physical and mental challenges will help build confidence in overcoming other obstacles in life.”
Jump rope — “Did you ever lose track of time while jumping rope as a kid? You can do it as an adult, too,” said Janine Delaney, known as the Jump Rope Queen of social media and a former professional ballerina.
Delaney notes the full-body activity jumping rope provides.
“It’s one of the most effective overall body workouts for any age level,” she said in the article. “It provides a great workout, can be done anywhere, and is a lot of fun.”
Workout in bed — “That time you spend staring at the ceiling before you get up can be put to good use,” Schildhouse writes.
“Mattress’cising removes any strain you might normally feel when doing these exercises on the floor,” said Erin Berman, an in-house fitness, health and wellness expert.
Bierman suggests something she calls “pillow prop.”
“Stack two pillows at the foot of your bed. Lie flat on the bed with your feet resting on the pillows and cross your arms over your chest. Breathe in deeply as you pull your stomach in toward your back. Breathe out as you raise your upper body towards your feet. Breathe in as you lie down again. Relax your muscles then repeat five times.”
She also suggests crunches, planks and leg lifts.
Dance — “If you’re a music lover, it’s time to get more than just your toes a-tappin’,” Schildhouse writes.
“Fifty to 60 minutes on your feet while moving to the beat can burn up to 450 calories,” said Arnit Kobryniec, a certified personal trainer in South Florida.
And, of course, you can always just go for a walk.
“You’ve been walking since you were about a year old, and it’s still the gold standard when it comes to movement,” Schildhouse writes. “You don’t need any special equipment, you don’t need to be a top athlete, you don’t need to change into workout clothes, and you don’t need a gym.”
The bottom line, of course, is having fun — and moving.
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