Every year, people resolve to improve themselves through exercise. They pay the dues to join a gym, work out a few times, get bored and then have to try to keep the gym from charging their credit card every month once they’ve stopped going. Then there is the fabled treadmill which gets used briefly as a treadmill and then for years as a clothing rack.
This really is a good time for exercise around here but not so much because of the new year, more that it is finally cool enough to not overheat when exercising outside. People often think about exercise as something that has to be done in a special place wearing specific clothing and involving certain kinds of activities. I think that this is why a lot of people don’t want to exercise. There is a lot of time, effort or expense involved and it’s not worth it.
I look at exercise differently. It is simply doing a little more than you normally do. You don’t have to go to a gym or buy fancy clothes or expensive equipment. If you like walking on the beach, walk a little farther than usual. If you have difficulty lifting a gallon of milk, lift it a few times over. It is just a matter of making a little effort. Over time, you will see improvements in the distance you can walk and it will be easier to lift heavy objects. If there is a task that is difficult, continuing to work at it will make it and other similar tasks easier.
Plenty of people think that they are frankly too old to exercise. I often say that age is no excuse. There is the issue of wear and tear, injuries, etc. and one must be cautious of injuries and various medical conditions that can be a problem with activity. But if your doctor does not have a problem with you exercising, there is no good reason not to. Research has shown that older folks can make proportionally the same gains that a youngster can. In other words, our seniors can get just as much out of exercise as the youngsters.
Exercise can and should be fun or at least not tedious. I don’t have anything against a good aerobics class, but going for a walk in a local park with friends can be enjoyable as well. Find some community activities that might be enjoyable such as ballroom dance or pickle ball. There is something to be said for gardening and yard work as well or even simple household chores.
Let’s not forget about water. This is Florida. There are public pools all over the place, some of them heated. During the summer, there is also the Gulf of Mexico. You don’t need to swim laps forever to get a good workout. Just do what you can and keep working at doing more. Or find some friends and play some water volleyball.
Which brings me back to the reason I enjoy this time of year. I like to bike and run on the beach and the weather this time of year makes it all the more enjoyable. Many people use the occasion of the new year to make a commitment to make a change. I believe self improvement is a good thing. But if we think outside the box as to ways to make this happen, it can be easier to start and more likely to last. So it’s winter in Florida! Get out there and get moving!