Wednesday, January 14, 2004
No Public Displays of Effort
Body maintenance behind closed doors
Gyms are not for everyone. Neither is outdoor exercise. Some people's modesty just won't allow it. For some of us, sweat on display is plain distasteful, or potentially painful. Or just plain wrong.
I have an uncle, a retired doctor, who is in his 80s. He lives in a not-huge apartment. And he walks a mile a day. Inside. While watching the stock tickers. He's worked out his pacing, the distances up and down the halls and around his livingroom furniture.
And then there's Mel, a regular reader who lost more than 25 pounds last year, doing her exercises faithfully. Mostly upper-body, mind you, because her lower body is in a chair with wheels.
So if you're too shy to sweat in public, don't despair. Clearly, we have options. Shoot, even supermodels and celebrities have exactly the same problem you do. What they do is find a way to make home workouts work for them.
Home aerobic conditioning and strength training are great tools for dedicated home exercisers and gym rats alike. We all could use the skills and resources to maintain highly functional bodies past the age of, oh, say, 30, within easy reach of our homes.
Here are options to consider, from the least cost on up:
You and gravity
Pushups, sit-ups, crunches, lunges. Walking in place, around your house, up and down stairs. These make up a spectacular workout.
Gym class television
Free with a cable subscription, channels like The Health Network run exercises classes from very early to very late, almost on the half-hour. You'll want to have a strong stomach and a lock on your wallet to endure some of the advertising here for products that are beyond dubious. But I assume if you're able to read this, you're able to avoid spending your hard-earned dollars on anything that promises weight loss without effort. So do the workouts with the instructors then turn your back to the television during commercial breaks while you jog in place.
Leslie Sansone will get you up and moving, Karen Voight will chisel you, The Firm promises to carve your derriere into a form that pleases you, Tae Bo will give you heart in at least two dimensions. Start with one, add the next when you get bored. Build your library, trade with friends. Do them with your kids. Find them in your local library, at bookstores, wherever you rent your videos and DVDs, or online.
Mini Home Gym
My ultra-mini gym even travels with me: Therabands and an inflatable Pilates ball. Your home mini gym might include a large inflatable exercise ball for good ab work, some light, medium, and heavier dumbbells, a "sticky" mat for yoga and Pilates and floor exercises. These are enough to do great strength work at home. Try used equipment stores for your dumbbells if you're on a budget, or buy them at sporting goods stores to get matching sets in designer colors.
Major Home Gym
A good piece of aerobic equipment makes a great addition here, if you have the budget. And it will mean a serious chunk of change. A good exercise bike is likely the most durable, reliable, least space-consuming, and least expensive option. Treadmills with enough quality to last more than a season will start at around $1,000 for a good walking model, and will quickly climb to more than $2,000 for one that can endure the pounding a regular runner will put on it. An elliptical trainer, the low-impact aerobic trainer, will run about the same cost as a treadmill. Want more out for your strength training? Add an incline bench, or spring for a multipurpose weight machine or a Pilates reformer.
A Personal Trainer
You don't have to sign on with a trainer for life. It isn't necessary to have a trainer wake you each morning with a wheatgrass and alfalfa sprout smoothie to gain great benefits from working with one. Try a few sessions to see what these people can bring to your workouts. Consider having a trainer in to work with you and a friend to split the cost. Meet with a trainer once a week or once a month or every few months, if need be, to develop a workout program, check your form and progress. Look for one certified to work one-on-one with clients. In the U.S., the American Council on Exercise manages a database of certified personal trainers. Call them at 1-800-825-3636 x654.
Working out for the shy and gym-averse is not difficult to manage, expensive, or unreachable. In fact, knowing how to exercise in your own home is a great way to remove all excuses for not getting a regular workout.
posted by Julie |
Great video shopping
The Couch potato workout, Chicago Tribune
Find an ACE (American Council on Exercise) Trainer