Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Simple Suggestion # 265... Exercise without equipment

My grandmothers have been on my mind these last few days (today is Grandma P.'s birthday), and I've been musing + doodling = moodling about how they stayed fit. Neither of them would have bothered with spin classes or exercise circuits like you see at Curves -- present fitness trends would have made no sense to them. Their daily routines maintaining home and garden offered more exercise in a day than most couch potato North Americans do in a week, I'm guessing. Consequently, our sedentary lifestyles and desk work haven't done us a lot of favours as human beings, so many of us buy into exercise equipment -- that unfortunately often sits idle.

But there are better ways to use the planet's resources, and hundreds of ways to stay fit without a visit to Fitness Depot (or whatever other exercise retail outlet you care to name) to purchase exercise gadgets or machines. How about walking part way to work (if all the way is too far)? Sweeping the sidewalk, or raking the yard? General yard work seems to put on lots of miles for me, as does walking the dog. Hand washing the car when it gets too dirty to touch is an excellent workout. And there are hundreds, if not thousands of other possibilities in daily life, plus online exercise suggestions and programs that require nothing but your body and some space to move.

About ten years ago, I took a Taoist tai chi class and have been practicing ever since, more or less. No equipment required, and what I really like is that it's gentle and sort of meditative -- plus when I'm finished, my muscles tell me I've had a good core workout. My husband didn't believe that tai chi was all that, but after a day of yard work, he was complaining of stiffness and I was just fine.

Below is a video of some of the tai chi foundation exercises in case you're looking for a gentle program to get your muscles moving. It looks so simple that it's easy to overdo it the first time unless you pay close attention to what your body is telling you.

The world's many cultures have come up with hundreds, if not thousands of different ways to keep both physically and spiritually fit. My sister-in-law is a wonderful therapeutic yoga instructor who teaches really amazing exercises that improve overall health, and there are all sorts of other paths to fitness and health where we only need to use our bodies rather than the earth's resources.

What's your favourite form of equipment-free exercise?

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Click here.

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