Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun Fitness for Free

In a health conscious world of personal trainers, fitness centres and specialized sport, so many of us feel ill equipped and ignorant regarding our own exercise requirements. So we become dependent on the 'experts' to show us how to optimize our fitness. We book ourselves into expensive classes, or waste away the hours transporting our children back and forth to organized sporting activities. Dare I mention the vast sums of cash lying gathering dust in the form of accumulated, unused sports equipment, or flashing for favour out on the field.

What if the budget cannot stretch as far as fitness tuition?

What if instead of providing the stress release that we crave, the sports schedules drive us dilly as we drive our darlings to matches and classes?

What if being indoors in a sweaty gym with sweaty people just doesn't do it for you?

What if the majestic outdoors feeds your soul?

What if you can combine precious time with your little ones, or the love of your life, with time spent getting fit?

What if fitness can be found for free?

I concede that fitness can be a science, but face it, most of us are not top athletes in training. We just want a way to keep trim, healthy and strong. Here are a few of my favourite FREE FUN FITNESS ideas: 

My all time best is to head uphill, snack in a pack, loved ones around me. It could be a simple afternoon tea trip to the top of a local koppie (rocky outcrop in South Africa). How about a hard, butt-busting slog up the highest peak you can find? Mountain air exhilarates me. Nothing beats the view from the top, wherever that top may be.

The scents of mountain plants from childhood hikes are imprinted in my pleasant memory bank. If you want to build up strength in the process, then add a child to your shoulders, or a backpack to your back.

A brisk walk with a friend or loved one is a great way to get that heart pumping and those legs moving, whether it be through a forest, along a sandy shore, or even in the concrete jungle, if you have to.

Oh, and what about your furry best friend? Get that tail wagging with delight as you invest time in your precious pooch, and fix your physique at the same time.

A pair of running shoes is the only real expense for a faster form of fitness. Just take it slowly at first, or the physiotherapy bills will outweigh the benefits of the exercise. That was a hard lesson for me.

 Running at sunrise is my favourite way to greet the day. Now, as soon as my leg injury heals....a bit of too much too fast in my recent past. Running builds fitness quickly and fills your brain with happy hormones.

Remember those dust-covered bicycles in the shed? Make them work for a living. Find a nearby hill and get those legs pumping.

Feel the wind whooshing through your hair as you speed down the other side.

Scratch around in your home. If is is anything like ours, you will be sure to find bats and balls, roller-skates, skateboards or even a skipping rope. Instead of tossing them because they are gathering dust, grab a hubby or child and play with them. The best way to save money and get fit is to USE WHAT YOU HAVE. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from making your equipment work for its worth. Playing with your family builds laughter, fitness and memories. This is true FREE FUN FITNESS.

My senses are thrilled when I exercise in the midst of outdoor beauty, under big skies. My spirit lifts when I deeply breathe in crisp morning air.

 Today we are joining a Fun Walk / Run. Yes, there is a modest entry fee. It is a fundraiser for an orphanage in Lesotho, well worth every cent. I am eagerly anticipating joining with happy friends and family as we all sweat for a cause.

How can you exercise for free today? 

How can you have fun with your family today?

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