Yoga for the novice

12 11 2011

photo credit: Teecycle Tim

I have come lately to yoga.

I have always liked the idea of it – stretching, balancing, energy flows etc. But somehow in my busy lifestyle I have never quite had the time to do it.

I did try Wii-Fit Yoga once. I discovered that while I am unable to balance on one leg (either on or off the Wii-Fit board), I am the undisputed champion of sitting still. In a house full of children, no-one can plonk on their bottom and remain immobile like I can. Are we surprised?

Me sitting still does not look like this. photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Anyway, a dear friend who is also a yoga instructor invited me to one of her beginner classes, and I happened to be free at the day and time, so I went along. I was thrilled to find a group of women who were of similar age to me, and older. Good start. I still have flashbacks to high-cut shiny lycra in the gyms of the late 1980s. And leg-warmers and sweat-bands. OMG – that was Olivia!

I was also thrilled to find that despite being more yoga-experience than me, no-one else was an expert or a bendy-flexible nymph. Accommodations were made for bad knees, bad shoulders, bad backs. And it has to be said, weak muscles (particularly upper-body strength – I am talking about me again here) and poor balance.

I quite enjoyed it. The fascinating thing I found was that some of the stretches were the same stretches my exercise physiologist had prescribed for me, and also very similar to Pilates stretches I remembered from a sadistic Pilates instructor from five years ago (still recovering from the experience!)

And I was good enough to go back two days later to the “slightly more advanced beginner class”.


Fitness campaign

22 10 2011

photo credit H@rpoon

Despite very convincing previous postings (12,000 steps and Reasons I should be exercising), you will be surprised to find that I have not in fact been inspired to exercise. Perhaps the recent posting Reasons I should be allowed to eat what I want may have been the give-away clue.

So I have finally bitten the bullet and seen an exercise physiologist.

Now I have to say, I am a relatively educated person, and I have worked in the health industry for many years. I know about Type II diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cholesterol, lifestyle risk factors, Syndrome X etc. I’ve read the women’s magazines, taken the quizzes and enrolled in Weight-Watchers (a number of years ago when, in retrospect, I really didn’t need it). So I think I know quite a lot about diet, exercise, metabolism etc. Fundamentally, I know what I am supposed to do, I just don’t do it.

I have also seen the various internet adverts promising the “secret exercise tricks” that can help you lose weight rapidly without having to spend hours exercising. Now much as these ads had my name all over them, I did resist sending any money to find out the secret exercise tricks. I am sceptical about miracle cures, much as I would really love to see one (use one and be the living proof).

Well, turns out there is such a thing as a secret exercise trick – and I will reveal it here! With no guarantees, as I haven’t actually tried it yet, but a very convincing exercise physiologist showed me the graphs and some pretty diagrams which he highlighted appropriately as he explained it. So I am convinced.

The trick is actually to exercise like a sprinter, not an endurance runner. And since I am starting from a very (very) low level of fitness, this means interval training. Five repetitions of 30 seconds working at maximum capacity, interspersed with two minutes of low level exercise. All done and finished in fifteen minutes.

Apparently exercising like a sprinter means you use sugars while you are exercising, but your body resets to burn fats over the next two days. So I only have to do this 3 or 4 times a week. I can probably manage to motivate myself for that!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to send your money for this amazing fat-burning secret, please drop me a line and I’ll send you my PO Box.