Thursday, February 20, 2014

Endorphins, not Dolphins

Okay so we are a little over a month and a half into this new year. I want you all to be honest with me, and with yourselves, how many of you have stuck with your new year's resolutions? Because I'll be honest with you, even though I took my own advice and made just baby step goals, i gave up after like one week. Now if you are one of those amazing people who are still going with the vegan diet or the not spending money thing, you go girl! But I have a feeling the rest of us are feeling a little down that we gave up so easily. I could of course be completely wrong and have a distorted view of the world. It is perfectly possible that not everyone has such a hard time with commitments as I do. Something tells me though that I may be right...
Since many of us start each year with the desire to lose all the holiday festivity weight, many of us create resolutions around "getting fit" and exercising. So that is what I am going to talk about. We all have different motivations behind getting exercise and we all go about it differently. Some of us only exercise when we feel fat and realize that spring break and bikini season is a week away. Others of us a religious gym members and have the complete color coordinated Lulu Lemon outfits to prove it. There are also those who think getting off the couch and walking to the fridge constitutes as exercise (it doesn't BTW). I happen to be one of those who exercise daily, usually by going to the gym, simply because I like to be healthy. okay, and because I want to be able to eat whatever I want and am not allergic too without blowing up like a balloon because me and food have this special relationship where I just can't leave it alone and I know it loves me and I love it and we will live happily ever after together. But mostly I exercise because I want to have a healthy life style.
Now there are some people to whom the idea of going to the gym is so incredibly detestable that they would rather cut out their own liver and eat it raw than step foot into one. To is to you, oh gym avoiders, who I would like to dedicate this post.
It can feel very discouraging, if you want to actually see a goal brought to fruition, if the only way you know how to do so is absolutely detestable to you. Acing a test can seem impossible if the only way you know how to study is through reading the text book and yet you are a tactile learner. The only way you will be able to ace the test is if you realize that there are other ways to study--flash cards, study parties, taking colorful notes, acting out the material, etc. The same thing goes with exercise. If you want to lose five pounds and the only kind of exercise you know of is going to the gym and running on the treadmill and yet you hate gyms and running hurts your knees, you are likely to give up on this goal, go home, and eat a pint of ice cream. No. Bad. Don't do that. There are so many options out there, and many of them are so much more fun than going to the gym. Here are just a few:

  1. Go for a hike. Get a group of friends together on the weekend, pack a picnic lunch, and go for a hike. It doesn't have to be 20 miles, it doesn't have to be on Mt. Everest, it doesn't have to be intense and terrifying through uncharted lands. It can be as close as through a near by park. Most places have hiking trails nearby that are well marked and relatively easy, and immensly fun. Hiking is the perfect combination of exercise and immersing yourself in nature and can be a fun social outing too, if you're into that kind of thing. If you want to find good trails near you, check out this website: Every Trail
    When you hike you can see beautiful sights like this one.
    This is a picture I took while hiking in the Swiss alps this summer. 
  2. Yoga. Now I know that yoga is pretty popular right now, and it seems like anyone from soccer moms, old grandpas, five year old children, to those typical dreadlocked hippies are doing it. That doesn't mean though, if you haven't ever tried it, that you should discount it. There are many benefits of yoga, beyond just the physical–see here. Whether you want to be in an incense infused room filled with tattooed 20 somethings chanting "ohm" or a rec-center class of middle aged women in their high waisted tracksuits, you are sure to find a yoga class that you like.

    Start yoga now and you might just be like this old lady in
     Melbourne, Australia who is still practicing yoga at 83

  3. Dancing. Dance is my personal favorite kind of exercise. Now I am not talking about the kind of dancing you see at the clubs. Sure that may be exercise, but there is nothing in me that is compelled to spend a night "grinding" in order to release endorphins and sweat. I'm talking about jazz, hiphop, ballet, tap dance, and those other, less well known, kinds: ball room, salsa, tango, swing, and, my all time favorite, contra. Most rec centers, or local dance studios, offer beginning classes for adults in those first 4 kinds as well as ball room, salsa, and tango. And every city has places you can go for swing dancing, and it is incredibly easy to learn, you just have to go and start practicing. As for contra dancing, I have a feeling most of you don't know what that is. Well it is great. To learn more about it click here or here. Before you sluff it off as being hokey and stupid, try it. It is so much fun and really good exercise. In one hour of contra dancing you can burn like 500 calories. Also it is a great place to meet the most interesting people and hear music that you probably wouldn't normally listen to. Now I could go on for pages about contra dancing, and all dancing really as I love it all, but I won't. I just want to encourage you all to try it. Please please please!!!!!!! do yourself a favor. Contra dancing can be found all over the country, just type in "contra dancing in __________" (enter name of city in blank) and you'll find some near you!
This is me dancing. Don't you wish you could look that cool?
Those are just three really simple ideas for getting off of your behind and getting some movement into your limbs. There are so so so so many other ways! Like climbing, spinning, bally fitness, jazzercise, swimming, I can't even list more because there are so many. Suffice it to say that there is some kind of exercise out there for everyone and so there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE to sit on the couch all day and do nothing and essentially give up on life. Even just going on a walk with your dog, or cat. There is no reason that we should have to give up on our goals of leading a healthy life style simply because we are not creative enough to find other options than just going to the boring old gym.

Go out and move today
Leave the computer
It will be okay without you for a little while
But go exercise! Because:
thank you for that insight Elle
and you don't want to shoot anyone today

What's your favorite kind of exercise? Participate in this poll and you'll get a Prize!! ('s a super secret prize that no one knows about)

What is Your favorite way to release dem endorphins?
  free polls 


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