Exercise is good for you – there’s simply no doubt about it! However, I still meet clients on a daily basis who’ve vowed to dedicate themselves to an exercise program, only to quit after a month. Let’s face it, North Americans start and stop their fitness programs more frequently than they change their underwear.
I understand that buying gym memberships and large pieces of fitness equipment is downright unaffordable to much of the population – especially when that membership looses itself in the back of your wallet or that high-tech treadmill is being used as the most expensive clothes rack your basement has ever seen.
When I became a certified personal trainer I soon learned after talking to clients, and seeing them come to the gym for a while only to suddenly disappear, that the key to a successful fitness program is fun! That’s right exercise should be fun. I mean who ever said it should be a boring, tedious vacuum of your valuable time?
For some reason fitness has negative connotations for many new clients that I’ve met recently. I hear “exercise is just too boring” and “if I exercise I’ll have no social life” all the time when I meet new clients. The fact is that we all lead very busy lives and exercise is often figured into it as an afterthought behind work, family, social outings and even poker night. So let’s face it if exercise is just another leisure activity on your weekly schedule it has to be something you’ll look forward to or you simply won’t stick to it. That’s why I encourage everyone who visits my website, fitnessgear101.com, to switch up the word ‘exercise’ for ‘leisure activity’. After all, you would be certain to pen a social outing with your girlfriends into your daily planner, so why not get the girls together and go to a spin class or on a power walk?
In this day and age, fitness takes up on average an hour, 4-days a week of the average person’s time. So basically it has to be fun or people simply won’t put in that extra hour. The good news is that entertaining workouts have hit the fitness scene in a big way this year. Many are largely dance-inspired – including belly dancing, cardio strip, pole dancing and salsa dance workouts.
I tried a pole dancing-strip cardio workout with a few of my girlfriends a couple weeks ago, and trust me it had me laughing so hard, that alone gave my abdominal muscles a workout. We started with pole dancing – which is far more challenging than it looks. Believe me, it takes a large amount of upper body strength to keep yourself suspended from a pole, and swinging yourself around it is reasonably cardiovascular. The cardio strip was more like the sweaty high-intensity cardio workouts that I’m used to. The workout mimicked exotic dance movements, so the hip thrusts, kicks and abdominal twisting works parts of your body you didn’t know existed.
See, there’s absolutely no reason why fitness can’t be fun. Start by searching your local community centers and gyms for an activity that you really enjoy. Try tango lessons with your significant other, a bonding session of mother/baby yoga, a high-octane cardio kickboxing session with your best friend – all followed by a healthy lunch. By turning simple daily activities into something more rewarding, you get your fun social gathering and your workout in too!