Friday, January 23, 2009

for everyone flogging themselves through eat-healthy-exercise resolutions

Stair machines are the worst exercise equipment ever. If you've ever been to the gym, you've probably seen the people on the stair machines. They look miserable. Collapsed over the arm bars, laboriously pumping up, down, up, down. Shoulders hunched, butts sticking out, faces bright red, still they pump up, down, up, down.

And no wonder they are miserable. What do you think about while you're on the stair machine? The eliptical crowd is sprinting through a lush green countryside, the rowers are dipping in and out of a glistening Potomac River. The stair machiners are ... almost to the 8th floor of the office building?

I saw the stair machiners the other day when I was at the gym. I wanted to tap each of them on the shoulder and say, "It's okay. You don't have to do this." And after coaxing them off their beasts of burden, I would explain to them that the remarkable truth about exercise is that you can actually enjoy it. And, for most people, stair machines don't enter into that equation.

With the New Year, I took stock of my 4 categories of a balanced life (mental, physical, spiritual, social) and made some goals for each. Under "physical" was eating well and being active. Thanks to Chaz and 6 months of unemployment, I was doing fairly well on being active with yoga, so it was easy to want to keep that goal going.

Here's the thing about Chaz. Cue angels singing. My sister introduced me to these yoga video podcasts called Yogamazing with instructor Chaz. Free yoga instruction, new 20-minute workouts each week, focuses on different areas of the body and different types of workout - balance, strength, flexibility. A well-balanced workout, new and exciting each week (with the ability to go back to past workouts you really like), quick, from the comfort of my office floor, and free.

Angels slowly fade.

So I was doing alright with yoga. But my husband and I both agreed we would like to do more. Our active season runs May through October, when we are playing Ultimate 3x/week. November through April is when we curl up on the couch, eat lots of meat, and get a comfortable winter layer.

Last week I purchased a gym membership to the university facilities which Abe gets into for free. We've been 4 times in 2 weeks, mostly playing racketball. It taps our competitive genes, so I don't even realize it's exercise because I'm so into finding ways to beat Abe. (Note: while racketball did prove to be a good way to love being fit, it also proved to be a good way to get us mad at each other. After a few seasons, we have worked that out. The solution is that Abe has to score twice as many points as I do to win.)

So if you're trying the exercise thing and it's not going so well, try something new. Find a partner to go with. Look up Chaz. Because I'm convinced that there's a good fit for everyone, it's just a matter of finding it.


Sarah Black said...

I prefer the punishment/reward system. We lugged our treadmill out of our shed and into the middle of the living room, not only destroying the feng shui in the room but also eliminating any visitor seating. I have to lose a certain amount of weight before I am allowed to remove it from the living room. (This was self-inflicted, not husband-inflicted.)

Janssen said...

Do you remember that time we played doubles racquetball and Bart hit the ball and it smacked Abe right in the head?

Becky and Tyler said...

i love yoga erin!!! yeah to that. and it's so true about those stair machines...evil workouts of death i think! another good yoga thing is namaste it and it's producer kate potter and the dvds are awesome! for now though i'm stuck doing prenatal yoga...slower but still good