I can't believe it's only been three months since I joined Hendrick Health Club, but what a difference those three months have made. For those of you not familiar with local gyms, HHC is the gym at Hendrick Medical Center here in Abilene. I was immediately impressed when I visited because there was such a wide variety of people working out there - all age groups, all body types, all fitness levels. I felt comfortable with it right away.
Once I made the decision to join, I jumped right in - with both feet! I have a friend who was already attending BodyPump classes, so I went to my first weightlifting class with her that very same afternoon. And I was hooked! We looked over the class schedule and decided to come back the next day for BodyFlow, which is a one-hour class of TaiChi/Yoga/ Pilates. Although the workout was very different from Pump, it provided a discipline and calmness that was downright addictive, so it became my alternating class of choice. Pump helps build muscle and stamina and Flow keeps the body stretched and fluid - perfectly complimentary! Trust me, there are many moves that challenge me in class and the instructors are always quick to give alternate moves for anyone who is having trouble. Everyone just works to the level of their ability!
My body immediately took to the routine and started "wanting" more. Now, the gym is just filled with all sorts of terrific equipment, but the coolness of the mornings beckoned me to step outside and walk in my very own neighborhood. So, early one morning that first week, I laced up my sneakers and hit the asphalt. I walked...and walked...and it felt so good! When I first started, my legs would burn a bit, but I pushed through it and quickened my pace. After about 40 minutes of brisk walking, I would return to the house, sweaty and panting and feeling better than I can describe. Now, after having developed this routine, my body doesn't feel quite right if I don't do it. I know when the weather turns cold, I will probably seek out a treadmill at the gym for these walks, but for now I am enjoying being outside!
A few weeks ago, I got the urge to ride a bicycle - not easy to do if you don't have a bicycle. So, off to the store we went and I selected a beautiful shimmery aqua bicycle that made me smile just to look at it. It's so true what they say about never forgetting how to ride a bike - it just all comes back to you so naturally. Now, I enjoy pedalling around the neighborhood, and beyond, on my shiny new bike, feeling the breeze on my face. It honestly makes me feel like a kid again, particularly when I go down Blair Street and by the house where I grew up! There have been moments when I've nearly wept from the joy of simply riding a bike down my old street.
I have learned alot about my body this Summer. I have learned that just because I have previously had back and knee problems and been told I have arthrities doesn't mean that I shouldn't exercise and strengthen my body. Quite the opposite! In the beginning, I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to do anything - and during an evaluation session with a trainer early on I honestly could not do one single push-up. (Talk about embarrassing!) I had a terrible fear of injuring myself. To a certain extent, that is good because it leads to using caution when exercising. But, fear shouldn't be an excuse not to try an exercise program. My chiropractor had been telling me for a couple of years that strengthening my core and back muscles would HELP my back and possibly prevent another herniated disk - he was so RIGHT!!! Now that my muscles are stronger, they protect my spine and I am growning more flexible all the time. Sometimes I am amazed at the positions I can get into during class just by warming up properly, stretching and breathing and allowing those muscles to work.
Another thing I have learned is to listen to my body. This is crucial, downright critical. My body will tell me when I am not giving it what it needs. If a particular muscle group is sore or tight, I try to pay attention to that and adjust accordingly. If I'm stiff and tight, a session of Flow never fails to loosen me right up and restore that "balanced" feeling. I'm so fortunate that I have access to a gym where each of the classes I love is offered at least once a day, so I can usually adjust my schedule and fit it in.
Also, I have learned to pay attention to the little signs that tell me I'm not eating right. If I go too heavy on carbs, I will feel bloated and sluggish. If I am not taking in enough calories, I will feel weak and shaky. These are little signs your body is trying to give you so you make modifications. I have a secret little weapon that helps me "listen" to my body - it's called an Exerspy ( and I will share more about this wonderful little gadget in another post).
I always thought it would be too expensive to join a gym, but this place is actually quite reasonable. I pay $49 a month and all the one-hour classes I want to attend are included in that price. I have access to tons of equipment and someone to show me how to use it correctly, and access to fitness and nutrition experts when I have questions. I think it's a bargain!!! And the best money I've ever spent - because I am investing it in my health!
How about you? Do you have a fitness/exercise routine that works for you....that just lifts you to another level? Do you prefer a treadmill or the outdoors when you walk? Whatever works for you - keep doing it!!!
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