Wednesday 15 September 2010

Moving in winter

I love moving in the summer. It's effortless. I walk everywhere I can. I'm not one to stroll, when I walk I walk fast. That's how I like it. And since I've entered the menopause I've started to put a 5kg weight in my ruck sack when I go for my morning walk, apparently carrying a load will help protect my bones from osteoporosis... I sometimes go for a run, when I feel like it. And I LOVE swimming outdoors. The sea is ideal and a good pool will do too. I can spend hours treading water, chatting with friends, I don't particularly like lengths but the way I swim I get plenty of exercise, my muscles get a good stretch and I sometimes (though not always) swim fast and long enough to feel quite puffed at the end! So summer is fine. I feel pretty fit and strong. And then the days get shorter and the idea of walking up to Ally Pally on a cold, damp, dark morning simply doesn't appeal to me. Walking to and from Spectrum where I train as a psychotherapist, which is an absolute treat is summer (15 minute walk - 10 minute bus - 15 minute walk) is nothing short of  a drudge when it's windy and cold and p***ing down. So I just don't do it. So last year I tried yoga. I love yoga. The hard, still type where the aim is to be in perfect alignment. The type that demands total concentration and a huge amount of effort - or at least that's how I do it. I haven't yet found a way of doing it gently... and so I push myself too hard and last year my back rebelled and said ENOUGH! so I stopped. And by May I was feeling stiff and unfit. 
A couple of weeks ago as I went for my morning walk I noticed how much chillier it was, how the sun wasn't quite so warm on my neck, how much less I was enjoying it. So I started thinking... what could I do this winter? How can I move in a way that really works for me? I've tried Five Rythmns dance and while I love it, the classes just aren't on a day I can do, not the ones I like anyway. I've toyed with the idea of belly dancing... it appeals to me but I know that making a commitment to a regular class doesn't work for me and I'm not sure how much fun it would be to go sporadically when I'm such a beginner... and then I found myself thinking about joining the gym. There's a very nice one 5 minutes walk from my house. It's rather smart, lovely pool, beautiful changing rooms, lots of classes to choose from which I don't have to commit to... Oh Please!!! I played with that thought for about 5 minutes before reminding myself with a smile that I have NEVER, ever consistently used a gym membership for more than 2 months... and I have been a member of many gyms, really, at least 5 or 6! I just end up not going and it costs me a fortune. So the gym is out. Then I started thinking about this new place they've opened up not 5 minutes but just 2 minutes walk from my house. Perfect. It's called something like Fit Shape and it's a personal training studio. A sort of 'drop in' gym where you pay as you go and book one off or a series of one to one or small group personal training sessions... maybe that would work... and then I looked online... £48 for a hour mmmm... and I know I'll want to go at least once a week, what if I feel like going twice... way out of my price range... oh and then I remember that I don't really enjoy the treadmill, or the bike or the rower... I quite like free weights... and the stretching... ok, so maybe not! So what then??? As I prepared my breakfast I remembered a few years ago when I used to dance in the sitting room, loud music, can of baked beans in each hand, giving it loads! So, I asked my son to put together a good dance playlist for me and the next morning I danced my socks off. I had a great time. I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. And after dancing I did a few push ups (the 'half' ones) some sit ups, a few other stretches and finished off with 5 minutes lying flat on the floor relaxing... perfect. 25 minutes, 0 minutes walk from home, no bag to pack, no shampoo to forget and absolutely, 100% free. I''ve done it about 4 times a week since then, I wake up and ask myself if I feel like it. If I get an unambiguous YES, I do it, if I get a clear NO, I don't and when I'm not sure or just feel a bit lethargic, I take myself gently by the hand, remind myself how much I love it and I start...  promising myself that if I don't enjoy it I'll stop.
How do you like to move? Summer, winter, what works for you?


  1. I love the idea of packing a 5 kg weight in a backpack when you go for a walk!
    So far, I don't need to do that because I am always pushing a stroller with a toddler in it and, more often than not, some extra stuff. Sometimes it's very heavy!

    What works for me, regardless of the weather, is to exercise at home. I have become quite the exercise DVD addict :-) There are loads to choose from, and a good place to preview them is at Collage Video. You can get them cheap from Amazon....
    Thanks to exercise DVDS I have stayed fit for the last year and a half. Even when I've gone through "binge months", I have continued my exercise regime, not so much out of obsession to lose weight, but because exercise makes me feel good, at whatever weight I happen to be.
    Now I've got my eye on one of the new "The Firm" DVDs....

  2. When I'm absolutely sure the house will be mine for an hour, I put on an ancient Jane Fonda video - the gentle one where she's moved on from "going for the burn". I love the 80's big hair and pink leg-warmers - and that's just the men, ha ha. I know all the jokes and whoop and clap along, joining in with her when she says "Are you in a good aerobic state? Can you carry on a conversation? Hi Jane! I quit smokin' I'm eatin' great!"

    Home is the where the heart-rate is.


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