Fitness: an essential part of the wellness journey

Those of us who have gym memberships – great stuff!  BUT, in all honesty, are we making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities at our disposal? Sadly, the answer in my case has to be ‘no’.

Do we ask questions of the fitness staff that  wander around all over the place while we are stepping along smartly on that treadmill?  You will be surprised at the snippets of very relevant info they give  re maximising the fitness benefits of the machines, equipment and designated areas of the gym at our disposal. Do we attend the myriad FREE classes on offer?

In this post, I won’t go into all the reasons (read excuses) why we no longer look like we did the day we got married or when we were at our best. Like everyone else, I will stick my head in the sand and not ‘go there’ at this time of writing.

What I want to do is to steer you in the direction of a couple of websites that may inspire us to get up off our butts and start toning up!

In the days of Dallas on TV, Victoria Principal the actress playing Pamela Barnes Ewing (alright, I Googled that – I would never have remembered the full name of her character!) wrote a couple of quite good books on health and beauty. Cashing in on stardom of course and suddenly they’re ‘experts’ on all sorts of things! Her first publication was The Body Principal. I am sorry that I must have ‘hospice shopped’ the book as I no longer have it.

In the book she illustrated and propounded the gentle, stretching isometric exercises that maintained ‘the body’. What a body that was too! In her latest book Living Principal published in 2001, she still looks pretty darn good and she is/was still married to her plastic surgeon husband. (!)She did not subscribe to the ‘feel the burn’ aerobic physical jerks of Jane Fonda and others.

Using the lessons  learnt from Victoria’s book, I created a short, all-over stretch routine that I practised quite religiously early every morning right up to 2003 when we left our farm and moved to the Western Cape. 

The cold, dark and wet Cape winter is closing in on us. My body – I do not take time often enough to check the reality of it’s very poor condition – has more and more loose, floppy bits waving around as the weight goes down! UGH!

What am I going to do about that? Well, for a start, I am going to re-create my morning stretch routine (adding some appropriate weights) and inveigle W into joining me!

We sit slouching over our computers for hours on end daily (in our family most of us have computer based jobs). We are (or will be) paying for it dearly with loss of tone, flexibility, range of motion and all the others ills of little/no exercise in our lives.

I, for one, have paid for my workaholic lifestyle by developing severe osteoarthritis in my neck. A neuro surgeon said to me, ‘This neck is tired’. He prescribed a neck brace which I do use occasionally. He also suggested some supplements to take and asserted that he would deny it if I ever told anyone what he had recommended! Poor man, I understand he too is now a diabetic.

My GP at the time had just returned from 12 years practice in Canada and upon seeing my neck x-rays exclaimed, ‘ Oh my Gaad! Oh my Gaad! Your poor thing!‘ An Afrikaans accent overlaid with 12 years of Canadian accent makes an interesting combination!

We sit hunched over with our necks stretched forward reading our computer screens for hours on end and we wonder why we feel sore and stiff when we straighten up  and try to correct our posture. Young people I know who shall remain nameless are developing exactly the same symptoms. I manage my osteoarthritis with a daily anti-inflammatory – yet another drug added to my daily cocktail – plus a twice daily supplement.

As usual, I digress. Back to the URL’s.

If you go to the URLs hereunder, you will see the sort of thing we will be making an effort to implement. Most of the very basic exercises in the 9 step routine were part of Victoria Principal’s routine and they are as much in use today as they were back in the days of Dallas!

http://www.hearthealthyonline.com/fitness/workouts/anytime-workout_ss1.html

A website I have discovered in my (hopefully discerning) wanderings around the www is:

http://www.livestrong.com/

Connected to super cyclist Lance Armstrong who as we know has had his own health demons to conquer, I think we can safely consider the many tools and information offered on this huge site for implementation in our own lives.

The World Wide Web is truly an astounding place where any info on the planet can be accessed with the click of a mouse. With due caution and a good dollop of commonsense, we can only benefit from using it wisely. More about that in a future post.

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