Gettin’ Down, Dirty, and Active
OK … this is probably the most boring of this series for those of you who LOVE to meditate, be mindful, and otherwise mentalize an activity. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult to begin an exercise program. We’ve been so into inner activity in the last three articles that it may be difficult to translate all that into the physical plane. Yet another A-HA!
So I propose that we get started with some primal moves before every exercise session. I know that they tell you to stretch before and after but this can serve as your “before” stretch. I first learned of these moves with my personal trainer … they’re from an exercise book called Becoming Bulletproof … and the authors believed that doing these primal infant-like movements can reconnect you with your body. No kidding … the first time I did them I cried! And later, when I was still training actors, incorporated them into my teachings. I would recommend you start every session with them. So here’s …
STEP SIX: THE ROCK (N’ CRAWL) N’ ROLL
Exercise one: The Rock Get down on all fours (you might want to get knee pads) and rock back and forth like a baby. This opens the pelvis and is the very primal movement we all began with.
Exercise two: The Crawl Now crawl on all fours (you DEFINITELY need knee pads for this … or a soft surface) up and back in the space you’re in. You have to crawl with the opposite arm and leg, however… it takes some time to do this well, so cut yourself some slack. VARIATIONS: The Spiderman crawl … crawl like Spiderman across the floor. To show you how, here’s a YouTube video … The Military Crawl … here’s another YouTube video for this variation …
Exercise three: The Roll Lie on the floor on your back with your hands above your head something like the shape of a pencil. Then roll over on your stomach by moving your arm over your head in the direction that you want to go … don’t use your legs. Think of the way a baby might move that hasn’t walked yet. Then roll back on your back in the same way.
STEP SEVEN: HOW TO START AN EXERCISE PROGRAM
OK … here’s the REAL down-and-dirty about movin’ … you have to take ACTION! You have to JUST DO IT! So ditch the ideas about the right equipment and clothes … you can move whether you have them or not. Just wear something comfortable and follow these easy tips …
1. Set Specific, Manageable Goals. For example, plan to move in whatever way you chose earlier (or if you don’t have a movin’ passion yet, just walk) for 20 minutes, three times a week. And don’t forget to track your progress by writing it down. Or get yourself a tracker such as a FitBit or an inexpensive pedometer, start with 5000 steps a day, and build it to 10,000.
2. Use a Variety of Daily Reminders. Schedule your exercise sessions on your calendar like any other appointment or as an alarm on your smart phone. Also make sure you pack your gym bag and put it in the car, lay out your exercise clothes in the morning so you’ll don them when you get home, or leave your walking shoes by the door to remind you to move.
3. Set Up a Non-Food Reward System. To reward yourself when you accomplish one of your fitness goals … such as staying on track with your exercise for a full week or month … treat yourself to a movie, massage, or pedicure.
4. Invest in a Good Pair of Athletic Shoes. Make sure they’re the right ones for whatever activity you choose, have good cushioning, arch support and feel so good that you’ll LOVE wearing them. Sales associates at many of the sports stores can help you find a good pair. Steer clear of high-top shoes; too much ankle support over time can actually make your joints weaker.
5. Find a Buddy, a Class, or a Group. It’s motivational when someone is depending on you and going for the same goals. Not only that, it’s simply more fun,
6. Start Slowly. Most people try to do too much in the beginning. So begin with 10-15 minute chunks of activity several times daily. Just fit it in whenever you can. But don’t forget to schedule it!
7. Use Whatever Gets You Going. Some of us need a little something extra to keep us exercising from week to week. I must admit that, on my stepper, I watch Netflix or Hulu. You could also listen to music or books on tape as you walk; I used to listen to my beloved musicals (I started my life as a musical comedy actress) and sing at the top of my lungs while running along the river channel near my home in Long Beach, California. Use whatever gets you going.
8. Get a Personal Trainer. I know this sounds pricy and out of your reach but don’t be surprised if you can find a trainer who fits both your goals and your pocketbook. Marianne Williamson, the spiritual guru, once said about exercise that she hated it but that she had “a professional Nazi who works for me”. What she was hinting is that, even if you don’t like movin’, someone can inspire you, honor your age and fitness level, and know how much to push you forward. And like any person that you develop an intimate relationship with, you must trust them and their exercise choices for you. I left a trainer who gave me a computer printout of exercises that I mostly couldn’t do and doubled her prices. My current trainer is super-sensitive to my needs and is also reasonable … they’re out there … you just have to look for them.
Please keep me posted about how well these articles have inspired you to move. Send me pics of you movin’. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself whatever you do!
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Which idea above resonates with you? When are you going to try it?