Fitness in a Changing World
by Laurie Nelson Barker
Just when I think I have things figured out, I get an invisible text message from the universe. It usually sounds something like this: “You silly human, you are getting too complacent. It is my obligation to mix it up a bit, so let’s see how you are going to handle this. HA!” I’m sure the undetected text is probably followed by an equally undetected emoji with a devilish grin. Since we humans are creatures of habit, it doesn’t take much to derail good intentions. Travel, appointments, weather, and even well meaning friends and family, can all create havoc. Sometimes life will sabotage the best of intentions. It never hurts to have an alternate plan.
For example, what if you plan to enjoy an outdoor hike or run, and you get the text message followed by an emoji snowman? (It could happen). Why not grab snowshoes instead of running shoes and still enjoy an outdoor workout? Or, if you are more inclined to drag out the Snuggie and watch TV while drinking hot tea, work out first and then collect your reward. While I don’t recommend dormancy as a fitness plan, occasionally it works as long as you incorporate some kind of reasonable activity. I recommend the Spartacus workout (only kidding). At least you won’t be consumed by guilt.
January is always the “I can’t believe I ate that” month. It is the month of self-denial and unrealistic goals. As much as I would love for the entire human population to switch to a plant based diet so we still have a viable planet, it’s naïve to think that you can wake up tomorrow and be vegan. It took me over 20 years to learn how to optimize a plant based diet so I get all the nutrients I need. Scientists are just now discovering that protein isn’t as essential as previously thought, and that plant-based means a whole lot of other foods besides just veggies and fruits. Changing your lifestyle in baby steps will probably work better if you don’t have superhuman willpower. I no longer crave meats or sweets, but it didn’t happen overnight. The good news is that there is much more information available to those that are ready for a change. Make a green smoothie for breakfast and have a salad for lunch. Just those two simple variations will make a big difference.
We are not flexible creatures (unless we practice yoga). Planning is good but planning for the unexpected is even better. An alternate strategy will help you justify the expense for all the sports equipment and attire that you have never used. The kid in me doesn’t have much more than about a 30 second attention span. Okay maybe it’s not the kid, maybe it’s my “mature” brain that can’t remember anything for more than 30 seconds. Regardless, I love to create new workouts. On a cold winter day, I decided to use my suspension trainer. I wanted to kick it up a notch and add balance training. A gel filled seat cushion that my clients stand on proved to be the perfect addition. Because the hallway floor is slippery, I found that I could stand on the cushion and slide while doing squats, inverted rows and other equally death defying moves. It was fun and I didn’t break anything, so despite my spouse’s skepticism, I will try it again. Life is too short for boring workouts. The suspension seat cushion workout may not be your best option but figure out what speaks to you and do it. Just saying.