Be Light and Healthy

Being Flexible and Having Fun

Posted on: January 2, 2011

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” T. Robbins

This week a blizzard blanketed the Northeast, which may have put a crimp in people’s intentions to walk.  If there are no sidewalks in your area or if they haven’t been plowed, it may not make sense to walk outside.  Safety is your first priority.  No matter how cold it is, I typically bundle up and walk outside; however, I will not risk injuring myself by slipping on ice and falling knowing it could potentially force me to give up exercising for an extended period of time.   

Being physically active outdoors enhances your connection to nature.  Because our ancestors spent time outdoors doing chores and soaking up the sunlight, they had a strong connection to the earth.  A cold, snowy night spent walking outside or shoveling can be truly invigorating and make you feel alive.  If weather conditions or your health do not permit being active outdoors, just standing outside and breathing the fresh, winter air will connect you to your natural essence and energize you.  In addition, spending time with your skin exposed to the sun will help increase your Vitamin D levels. 

Exercise is an opportunity to refresh your body, mind, and spirit.  Abandoning your intentions and waiting for warmer weather will prevent you from moving forward.  Being flexible in your approach will allow you to stay committed to your intentions.  There are many other options that enable you to stay committed during bad weather.  Focusing on the activities you can do will energize you and propel you forward.

Indoor Exercise Strategies: 

Exercise Videos/DVDs:  When I first started exercising, exercise videos were great options because I could do them in the privacy of my home.  I initially made the mistake of starting with a Tae Bo video that was way beyond my ability.  I quickly learned that there are videos for all different ability levels and interests.  Leslie Sansone’s indoor walking videos basically consist of four steps, are fun, and appropriate for any age or fitness level.  Prior to purchasing a video, I often borrow it from the library to determine if it’s a good fit for me.  A great resource for purchasing videos is Collage Video.

Rebounding:  I rebound every day on a mini trampoline.  It’s fun, low-impact, and stimulates the lymphatic system flushing out toxins and boosting the immune system.  Combined with a regular walking program, benefits can be realized in as little as five minutes a day.    

Incorporate More Activity into Your Day:  I often wonder if our great grandparents would be amused by modern society’s preoccupation with exercising.  Because today’s modern conveniences were not available, our ancestors were naturally more physically active.  Instead of being efficient, make multiple trips up and down the stairs or take the long way to a co-worker’s office.  Replace your coffee break with a walking break.  Make it a point to get up from your desk and take a walk around the building at work.  It’s easy to incorporate more activity into your day once you set your intention and can be as simple as dancing to music!  For inspiration watch children playing.  They’re in the moment and having fun while running, jumping, and being active!  Take your cue from them, and choose an activity that is fun!   

Mall Walking:  Lots of people walk at malls.  If you can safely drive to an indoor mall, it’s a nice, warm place to walk.  After the snow is removed from outdoor malls, they’re another great alternative that will enable you to get some fresh air while you’re safely walking.  Malls also present an opportunity to connect with other health conscious people.   

Gym:  Joining a gym is a viable option for many people.  Group Exercise Classes can be a lot of fun. 

Outdoor Cold Weather Exercise Strategies:  If it’s safe to be outdoors, bundle up and don’t worry about how you look!  Have fun! 

  • Dress in multiple layers.
  • Wear a scarf, hat, ear muffs, headband, face mask, gloves, and/or mittens – whatever keeps you warm.
  • Walk during the warmest part of the day.
  • Wear a reflective vest or hunter’s vest if you are walking prior to dawn or after dusk.  If you’re walking at dawn or dusk, err on the side of safety and elect to wear a vest or other reflective clothing.  I often see people running or walking fully clothed in dark colors and suspect they don’t realize the danger they put themselves in.  Also, wear bright colors if there is a lot of snow so you’ll be visible against the snowy, white backdrop.  As previously mentioned, safety is your first priority. 

Shoveling:  If you are physically able, shoveling is great exercise.  If you’re unable to shovel, pushing the snow off the steps or driveway with a broom is a gentle form of exercise that will also allow you to get some fresh air and enjoy being outdoors.

Play with your pet:  Instead of waiting inside while your dog is taking a bathroom break, go outside and get some fresh air or better yet, spend some time playing with your pet.  You will both reap the benefits of being active.  

Snowshoeing and Sledding:  If you’re up for it, snowshoeing and sledding are lots of fun and don’t require any skill.  I still vividly remember snowshoeing through the woods years ago on a sunny morning after a freshly fallen snow.  Savoring the magnificence and beauty of the land filled me with a feeling of aliveness and gratitude that I’ll always remember.    

I invite you to stay committed to your intention to be more active in the new year.  Wisely consider your current state of health and the environmental conditions before choosing an activity.  Be flexible, and focus on the many activities that are available.   Keep it simple and have fun!  In addition, I invite you to sign up for weekly e-mail updates to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy. 

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