Here's the thing: I loathe-despise-hate exercise. But it's not really exercise I hate, it's other people's ideas and expectations of what exercise should be that I'm not a fan of. The last gym I signed up for was so that I could take classes--yoga, Body Flow & even Body Pump. Why did I want to take those classes? Because they're FUN. EnJOYable. They make my body feel good. What did the sales rep do after asking me what I was looking for in a gym? The first place he took me to was the sweaty-beefcake section of the gym where the 'roiding dudes were pumping iron. LOUD music pounded all around. This was not the yoga I was seeking. The last place we went was the secluded yoga rooms upstairs.
Years ago, when I first met Bruce Lipton, he said in his seminar, "You wanna know the secret of life?" We all leaned in. "Movement," he loud-whispered. So that's what I'm a fan of: movement that my makes my body feel good. Everybody has some sort of movement that is suited to their body. For those who like the excitement and intensity of a gym, I say go for it! If that's what gets you motivated and jazzed, do it.
Taking a cue from dogs, in addition to the infographic below, what do dogs do? They play. What is play? Something that you enjoy and is fun to you. Gyms are fun to some people. My mother loves nothing more than to work out at the gym. She was bored stiff when I took her to a gentle chair yoga class. She didn't even break a sweat; that's not exercise (to her). Other people like being a member of a team, like joining a soft ball league. I have friends who wouldn't trade in their running shoes for anything! The key is to find what energizes you.
I didn't renew my contract to that gym. I found my ideal exercise place at Inlight Yoga. While I enjoyed the yoga classes at the gym, I wore ear plugs to dampen the loud music in the gym as I arrived, and also because all the instructors wore headsets so that the very large classes could hear their instructions. The great thing about a dedicated yoga studio is the peaceful and serene atmosphere. This is not to say that I don't break a sweat, because a round of 8 sun salutations will do that! But I have found my place in the exercise world that includes stretching, strengthening, and even a bit of cardio.
One of the values of exercise is that it's the only "pump" for the lymphatic system, which is crucial to having a healthy immune system. There are twisting yoga stretches that "wring out" the lymphatics. I always know it's working when I see students darting to the bathroom after a pose! A few weeks ago, I got a Vibefit which is a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system. 10 minutes a day, I'm loving it!
So this is my "exercise routine" I was asked about:
- Walks down to the lake with Bingo and walking my labyrinth, pretty much everyday, several times a day.
- Yoga classes ideally twice a week, but sometimes only once.
As far as "cooling down" from exercising, I have a cup of tea. Or I take a shower. Really, I'm not into pain or sweating. My advice, if I'm giving it, is to do like dogs do and play. Find something your body enjoys doing and do it. The best exercise is the one you'll do. And if you want some structure & fun ideas, do this:
P.S. Some people will decide to exercise when they have a birthday that ends in "0" or they decide they need to get healthier. Or, as someone wrote to John Morgan, they "woke up fat." Whatever the motivation, work with your body, and find out what works for you. Make it something that you'll enJOY.