As cancer patients become more informed about their illness and treatment options, I continue to be surprised by how many are unaware of the benefits of exercising during and after treatment. My patients have shown me first-hand what our studies have proven; that daily activity provides tremendous physical and psychological benefits.
I remember that evening well: We burst into my bedroom trying to take each others clothes off and my nose scratched from my shirt button as he miscalculated the strip down. Almost a trip over his left pant leg and a bump to my shin over the trunk and we finally conquered the journey to my bed. It was hot and there I was feeling like a 20-year old sex kitten being taken by strong hands that wrestled me into the sheets. And there, in a game of twister, I looked down.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. They're boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. The trick to Kangoo boots is to keep moving! Once you get to hopping, you'll never want to stop. This class is tough!
Someone once told me that the hardest steps to take in life are from the sofa to the front door. So, if you would typically rather veg in front of the TV instead of exercising, know that you are not alone. Know that once you start exercising, it is easier to continue. Try these tricks to get you motivated.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Sold.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. After expressing interest (and fear) towards it, our instructor decided to move our pilates workout onto The Reformer. Joy.
When I worked near Queen Street West and Bathurst Street, I would pass a sign on my walk that advertised classes at Barreworks Toronto. The woman on the sign is SO toned, glistening with sweat and in possession of a set of abs I want, so I took the stairs up to the studio two at a time. A feat I almost used as another entry for my workout diary. Seriously. So so many stairs.
While everyone who attends music festivals is worth watching, the hula hooping girls were my favourites. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. My third and final class with Brass Vixens was a hula hooping class and I was determined to give those girls a run for their money. In class I start off spinning it around my torso and am beyond happy to find that it's just like riding a bike.
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. I'm back at Brass Vixens for this class. Owner and instructor Shannon is once again at the front of the room, closest to the mirror to lead me through the embarrassment that is to come.
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Buoyed by the website's proclamation that aerial would "relieve tension and back pressure, improve digestion and posture and stimulate cleansing and body renewal" all while swaying in a hammock, I signed up!
Through helping people, including myself, rehab numerous often avoidable running injuries, I have learned better. You have to be strong to run injury-free. Running is hard on the body. Experience has taught me the wisdom of the words -- don't use running as a way to get in shape: get in shape to run.
My second workout fad test! This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. The lucky girl that I am, the class I wandered into happened to be high intensity with Marc. In addition to spinning like we're on a flat road, we'd also be climbing three hills. Fabulous. I explained to the instructor that I was new to the regime and he promised to let me take it easy. And then gently let me know that I had set up my handle bars backwards. Great start.
Working out: my mortal enemy. I've never been one for strenuous activities. But I've gotten to a point where this is about being able to climb a flight of stairs without ending up winded. I've decided to not only catch up with the trendy sweaty regimens but to try them all out one by one and decide what works for me. First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga.
A central aspect of my fitness philosophy -- one that I try to instill in my clients, my readers and myself -- is that the purpose of exercise should not be just to look fit. I hate the fact that people are judged on their appearance. for many the fear of going to the gym and being looked at with a critical gaze can sap any will to exercise. What is worse is that often individuals internalize this critical gaze: we all become our own worst critic.
No matter how you feel the need for it, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to take care of your physical fitness. While not as popular as morning or evening workouts, midday trips to the gym have many benefits -- and it certainly can't be considered slacking off.