Have you ever watched a child skip or hop up in the air with a squeal of delight for no apparent reason?
Kids just seem to know how to have fun. Their uninhibited behavior is so innocent and fun. Walking along, children always seem to recognize the appropriate moment to let out a gleeful “WOO HOO”.
In golf school they teach you that “If you think you stink”. Lesson learned is not to focus too hard on the actual oscillation of the movement and just let your natural swing come out.
Same concept of the little kid who just spontaneously jumps up in amusement without thinking about it. It’s a reflex not mechanical or planned.
Sometimes exercise can seem robotic and forced. Maybe you’re an early riser and force yourself out of bed before the coffee maker turns on at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a workout. Or perhaps you’re the type that hauls yourself to the gym after work or just before bed. Let’s face it, despite how beneficial we know it is, sometimes exercise can seem tedious. But oh how good it feels when we’re done.
Months ago, a very close friend advised me against moving to Florida, simply because he knew that my lack of tolerance for waiting in lines or waiting for anything at all, would ultimately destroy my ability to live amongst the -molasses -dripping- out- of- a -bottle pace of the elderly people who monopolize this state. I dismissed his counsel as senseless because after all, I too go to bed and rise early and seize any opportunity to stick sweet-n-lows in my pocketbook from restaurants when the waitress isn’t looking. Like Seniors, speaking my mind comes natural to me. I would fit right in?
In Florida, cars drive ether 20 miles an hour on a 65 mph road or 180 mph on a 25 mph road. The drivers here are either insane speeders or seniors that turn left from the right hand lane and just beep when they are about to cut you off. You just get used to it. But I digress. Bottom line…..there’s a lot of waiting in lines here.
It has been about 2+ years since I tried yoga. So today, as part of my newfound “lets be positive – second half of my life – new energy- make every day count “ routine I decided to try a yoga class. I figured it would help “center” me and assist in my quest for calmness.
As most of you know, I am one of very little patience. Moving slowly just doesn’t match my demeanor, but again- this was my new beginning of the second chapter of my life. Why not challenge myself with something completely different than what i am used to doing?
Or so i thought.
So today in yoga class, as I was holding a vinyasa (not even certain that’s the correct term but the instructor seemed to repeat that a lot) for what seemed like an hour, I glanced at the clock to see just how long I had been in class (8 minutes) and at that moment decided that the slow pace of yoga- although intellectually I completely agree its extremely beneficial- was just not for me (I hereby place a disclaimer that I will most likely change my opinion about yoga on this blog but claim to have the right to shift judgement at a later date .)
So I was thinking about that fun spin class again…what was it besides the explicit pornographic images that made me stay and enjoy the class so much? it couldn’t have justbeen the vividly raunchy videos that kept me compelled to stay (although I have been nicknamed Mrs. Roper for a reason.)
Then it hit me…..for the first time in a while i was staying put in class simply because…..I was having fun !!!!!!
As a young single girl I partied like a rockstar and danced on bars all over NYC. (Mostly on ladies drink free night – after all, I’ve always loved a bargain).
But since I’ve been married with kids I have yet to go out and “party like a rockstar” like i did in the good old days (you “clickers” all know what I’m talking about – wink wink) and this spin class had me dancing on the bike like it was 1991 (I take full responsibility for dating myself ).
I can’t blame marriage and children for my lack of partying, I still manage to go out every weekend and enjoy myself….but there’s something about letting loose (remember i have the new ta-tas to jiggle) – let it all hang out- in an exercise class with the room screaming out the “woo – hoos” like drunk 21 year olds in a bar for the first time (Seriously- what is it about group exercise classes that people feel compelled to howl out like construction workers??….. yet the other day I was amongst them and just loving it ).
Like kids who whimsically hop skip and jump – just for the fun of it – exercise should incorporate some form of entertainment and not necessarily something you think too hard about. It’s no secret that if you just get up and move you will benefit. When I was a kid and my siblings and I would watch a TV show together, the unsaid rule was never get up from the couch because “if you move you lose” and forfeit your position on the couch. Yes, we had it right. Get up from the couch because…..
If you move you lose.
Now I’m not suggesting in the middle of a business meeting that you suddenly jump in the air for no apparent reason (although that would be awesome plyometrics!). But if you pump up your exercise with some great music or anything diverting that entertains you, it may just turn out to be fun and you won’t even realize you’re burning calories. Watching videos kept my attention for 45 minutes. Yoga did not. But that was today. Tomorrow we try something new.
So the bottom line (as I love to say) is that if you are having fun (for me it’s the dance release I don’t usually experience now that I am married to a man who hates to dance and although I sometimes complain i never get the opportunity to strut my stuff on the dance floor i secretly am relieved that I don’t need to let the secret out to the world that I dance like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld) coupled with the fact that it is easy to stick with an exercise program when you’re having a great time – singing along helps divert my attention so I stay along for the ride.
Lesson learned: Make exercise recreation and you will stick with it. Add a smile or sing along. Let your natural swing come out and don’t think too hard about it. It shouldn’t be stressful, you have the rest of your day for that.
Singing, hopping, skipping and dancing – or whatever floats your boat-will burn calories and most importantly – place an unavoidable smile on you face, which we all know hides our wrinkles.