I wanted to address the idea of exercise today because being a Rockin’ 50 myself I know it’s a great idea that got lost amongst work, shopping and the kids, and not something many embrace with enthusiasm. Partly due to the fear that someone might see that your waist is wider, your chest is lower, your stomach is more outy and your butt is now two rear knees.
I embrace the idea of exercise very well, the problem is that I also embrace the fact of procrastination and if I’m honest I’m far better at the procrastination. However, in the interests of this blog I’ve investigated exercise at great length and given due consideration to all the latest fads and fashions.
I tried distance running and thought I was doing very well until someone told me that 10 feet wasn’t impressive. So I gave that up on the grounds that the suggested distances were practically international.
I thought about interval training but discovered that this didn’t mean going to the gym every 3rd month, something I’m really good at. I passed out during the explanation of what it actually entailed and practically had to be resuscitated, and gave that up in advance.
Then there was my foray into yoga, which was just embarrassing because whilst the others were putting their foot over their heads with seemingly great ease even a rope over a pulley with three burly men tugging on it couldn’t get my ankle past my knee.
Pilates went well except that laying on the floor doing these very small movements very slowly just gave me time to worry about things that didn’t matter; when told to contact my abs they wouldn’t speak to me on the grounds of years of neglect. Plus I fell over doing a balancing exercise that involved both feet firmly on the ground and the support of a wall, and I cannot bear the long-suffering look on the faces of instructors when that sort of thing happens.
Weight lifting was a problem because lifting my butt out of a chair didn’t qualify. The wheels came off Step when I didn’t realise that a cat had laid down on top of it and I nearly spiflicated myself in order to save a treasured life. Skipping made me look like a torturers victim, especially the rope burns around the throat – goodness knows how I did that – and trust me when I tell you that dangly crystal earrings and skipping ropes are not a good mix and I’m not giving up my earrings!
With kettle bells apparently it’s wisest to keep a good grip because having the mirrors in the fitness studio replaced is expensive and they don’t let you back in after you’ve narrowly missed the instructors head with 4kg of solid iron. Personal trainers apparently want you not just to pay them but turn up, and that just didn’t work for me. Then I discovered martial arts (all right I was thrown into the room by my husband).
I am the least likely martial artist in the world. When I first walked into a training hall, or Dojang, I’d never done anything that couldn’t be done in 3″ heels. I spent the first year of my training with every hair sprayed in place and wouldn’t punch anyone if I wasn’t wearing mascara. The training costume, Dobok, made me look like a bin bag tied in the middle, but the “aren’t you slim” comments when I wasn’t wearing it made that all worthwhile. So I tried “all I really need to do is put on something that makes me look fat, take it off and look slim” theory on my husband but it didn’t work!
However, I loved it, I went twice a week and instead of going wobbly at the thought of exercising I went wobbly if I couldn’t go. Sadly, just before I was due to take my 2nd Dan something ruined it for me and as I never found an instructor half as good I had to give up.
This was followed by Zumba and the latest craze of FitStep, both of which I love but both of which I have several external reasons for not doing again: shape of the car park; time of classes; heat; cold; darkness; best time for tea, and so on.
However, or even butt, one of the things I’ve noticed since I turned fifty is that where fitness used to be an option it’s now more of a necessity. Having spent 49 years getting this face and body to peak gorgeousness I suddenly found myself in a place where that gorgeousness needed to travel back north.
I also found, and don’t tell a soul, that I was starting to ‘ooof’ when getting in and out of chairs and as we Rockers know we can’t have that. Taking all this into consideration, and wanting to avoid two rear knees, I’ve realised that whilst exercise is important you will only do it if you enjoy it. So what do you enjoy?
If you enjoy the pub then choose one a distance away, walk there and enjoy one or two drinks and walk back; don’t undo the benefits with calories.
- If you enjoy music and dance then Zumba or FitStep might float your boat, or you could try Ballroom and Latin, Salsa, or the Lindy Hop if you think you’ll survive.
- If you like the water then walk or run by the water; same goes for trees, hills, beaches and so on. Walk and run where you like to be.
- If you feel the need to walk or run but don’t really want to, try going out for 10 minutes and then turning round and coming back, increase your speed slowly going further and further every 10 minutes.
- If you really want to try the gym and know you might as well throw money away then go the extra mile and pay a personal trainer, they’ll nag but you might find that you won’t let them down so you will go.
- If you’re not fit then a Wii Fit is brilliant, it’s fun, easy and a good way to get started, providing you do it in bare feet or wear grippy socks otherwise it’s a good way to get to the emergency room. And beware of cats, dogs and rabbits.
For the men:
If you like footie then get a group of mates together for a fun kick-about, you can play together nicely in the park and you don’t have to be great. Think Brazilian, they still have great potential but you can probably do better than that now!
- Men seem to enjoy riding bikes so get a push bike and a group of mates together and cycle to the nearest pub. This will be a brilliant for your fitness because you won’t dare have more than two beers otherwise on the way home you might wobble, break suddenly, slide forwards hard and then you’ll fit right in at Zumba or FitStep.
- You could also try shopping with your other half and running from store-to-store in front of him/her daring the staff behind the tills to take their credit card on pain of death. This will also help them as they will move much faster between shops trying to beat you. Altruism rocks.
Other handy tips are:
If you have an upstairs and downstairs toilet in the house use the upstairs one when you’re downstairs and the downstairs one when you’re upstairs, except at night when it’s better for overall fitness if you make your way to the nearest exit point and don’t risk going downstairs the fast way – especially if you have black cats who sleep on stairs.
- If you’ve never lifted a weight in your life use two tins of soup and work out a bit whilst you’re watching TV.
- Play music indoors and jig about enthusiastically. You could also dance along whilst you’re using the sucky thing to clean the carpets.
- Park at the opposite end of the car park to the stops, you know you’ll get a space easier because everyone else is trying to get two cars into one space in order to avoid all that exercise.
There are so many fun ways we can exercise, keep fitter and consequently work off stress. Think about what you’d enjoy and then give it a whirl whilst telling yourself that you’re off out for some fun and avoiding the E word at all costs. We owe it to the world to preserve our gorgeousness.
P.S. If you punch or kick a punch bag please remember two things, one it comes straight back at you and two raw steak is good for black eyes!
AS ALWAYS IF YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE UP A NEW FORM OF EXERCISE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR PRIOR TO UNDERTAKING THAT CRAZY ACTIVITY!