We know exercise boosts mood, jump-starts your sex drive, and improves your overall health. But if you have the “gym phobia” that I do, then there have to be either private sessions you can do or a group activity that is not half as intimidating as elliptical machines, weight plates, spin bikes, and half-naked women one-third your body size strutting around cockily, as I would if I had their “bod.”
Weight loss and feel-good are the goal of this feature, especially for those of us who have mental-health conditions that cripple our minds, and pin our bodies to the sofas as we squirm at the evil ide” of exercise. On my way to this week’s contribution I found two remarkable things. The first provided me with some humour and the second, well, not.
First, while reading, I realised there’s a numbered list for anything you’d like to do in this life. I found 25 diet-busting tips; 12 secrets to better orgasm; ten subtle signs of bipolar disorder; 16 signs you may have HIV; ten careers with high rates of depression; six magic foods for weight loss; and 12 things that say he’s not into you, among others.
My favourite and by far the most beneficial, is one on health benefits of exercise from http://energizepinas.com
reproduced for our mutual benefit. My alternatives to the gym routines include dancing. Salsa, chair, and pole all provide gyrating and jiggling, which is highly encouraged. All of these are available in T&T and, well, I haven’t as yet tried pole dancing—but I know these are some alternatives that make one feel sexier, stimulating mind and body while burning calories.
Belly dancing or strip-cardio is on my to-do list of the risqué art of sultry dances. Writing for FoxNews magazine, Marianne Brandon, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, says, “We love the message of this Middle Eastern dancercise: Love your body no matter what. “So slip into a slinky hip wrap and shake what you've got to the lively Arabic music.”
Zumba, the Colombian dance craze, is “a mile-a-minute mix of traditional aerobic moves for maximum heart pumping, sassy Latin shimmies, and hip-hop-inspired booty shaking” for people of any size with any level of endurance. I’ve found great company in some YouTube exercise videos. Check out www.squidoo.com/free-workout-videos-online
and start a class in your living room.
If dancing is not your thing, then start a community garden. Getting out is tough but if you can collaborate on a community project you may find the enthusiasm to go outside. Then, once you’re there, work hard at tilling the soil, raking the weeds, watering the seedlings and whatever else that would keep you active.
I have a group of girls under 12 who regularly get me in the yard on weekends. Young people are a great investment, which does not come with the hang-ups and habits of the more mature among us. The second thing I found was a way to respond to the careless words of people about my weight gain.
A friend asked, “When are you going to lose that weight?” to which my hearty response was, “When it is lost!” We had a taxi-driver neighbour, Mr Edward, who was extremely entertaining because he knew how to give an equally brainless answer to an obtuse question, and I thank him profusely for that lesson.
10 things you should know about exercise
Exercise enhances brainpower—regular exercise increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity.
It’s a great stress-buster, decreasing stress levels and elevating mood, keeping anxiety or depression at bay.
Exercise gives you energy—It releases endorphins into your bloodstream, which makes you fell much more energised the rest of the day and it also helps keep you from overeating.
Exercise pumps up/strengthens your heart—regular exercise will make your heart and cardiovascular system function more effectively.
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep more easily and deepens your sleep at night, increasing your energy level throughout the day.
It helps ward off disease—research has shown that exercise can slow or help prevent heart disease, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, Type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
Make new friends by joining an exercise class in yoga, zumba, or spin. Being socially engaged leads to increased happiness and reduced stress. People who have social support from their exercise buddies stay with their fitness programmes and reach their goals often than those who try to do it alone.
Exercise, especially in the morning, curbs your appetite by regulating the brain’s appetite control centre (appestat), which controls hunger pangs.
Boosts performance—regular exercise will increase flexibility, improve your overall performance, and strengthen muscles, giving you a greater sense of endurance.
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and to have fun.