Monday, January 5, 2015

Being in Shape

Well, for better or worse the New Year is here and many people will make the age-old resolution to "get in shape", but what does that mean really?

For many that just automatically means losing a few pounds and running on a treadmill for the first six weeks of the new year.

As someone who's always been self-conscious of my weight (in the other direction) I bristle when people think that being skinny instantly means you're "in shape".

There's been times I couldn't jog up a gentle incline without being winded and my legs burning in agony.  I can assure you that weight has nothing to do with being in shape; so what does it entail?

Personally I really like what this article says as it pretty much agrees with my own personal views on the topic. In a nutshell it boils it down to being physically fit (good muscle tone), and having a decent amount of physical endurance - something anyone can achieve no matter what the scale says.

I have a wonderful friend who most people would call "heavy".  They'd likely look at her and think, "That chick needs to lose a few pounds!"  She also happens to be one of the best belly dancers I know.  Her muscle isolations are superb and her technique would make any seasoned dancer jealous.  This lady - despite her weight - is very much in shape.

So don't get tangled up in what number glares back at you from the scale - it's really not as important as you think.  Instead be active; and I don't mean running on a treadmill for hours on end.  I've done that before when I was marathon training and hated every minute of it.  Running is bad for your knees anyway and needs to be supplemented with other exercises to keep from damaging your joints.  Instead take up a physical hobby like dance or hiking or biking or swimming or martial arts or yoga or Pilates.

For some reason people seem to think that recreational physical activity is just for kids.  They sign the little ones up for soccer and softball and gymnastics.  They drive them all over the place for meets and competitions and recitals, but don't take a single moment for themselves to do something fun that'll get the blood pumping!

Grown-ups need activities too.  Drop the kids off at practice and go off to your own class.  Hell, the kids might even be signed up for an activity that you can participate in as well!  And before you say "I'm too old for [fill in the blank]" remind yourself that you wanted to get in shape right?  If you can afford the time and money for a gym membership you won't be using come March (and feel guilty about), you can find the time and money for something you'll actually enjoy and stick with.

Get off the scale and get on a yoga mat or a dance floor or a ball field or whatever.  Get moving!

1 comment:

  1. I had something wonderful happen last year. I started losing weight...but without really changing a lot. I believe the main difference was that, about a year earlier, my OBGYN put me on certain drugs to treat my PCOS. We'd waited to do so because these drugs also mean the end of being able to get pregnant. I believe that, after being on the drugs for a few months, my body finally became adjusted and the response we'd been waiting for began to happen.

    I Grok what you say about weight not being the indicator of 'in shape.' I've always been heavy, but at times I was also quite active in Highland Dancing and fencing. What losing the weight has done for me in these last few months is 1) feeling generally healthier, and 2) making it easier for me to get active.

    A week ago, a brand new roller-skating rink opened up less than a mile from my house. I was worried that my muscles had forgotten how, but after a few minutes I was back in the groove. By the end of the session, I was tired but I still wanted to keep going! That's the best kind of exercise.