By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
In this cold weather, the last thing you should do is stay glued to your phone, and being a couch potato. Sure, you have plenty of excuses. “It’s too cold to walk outside or go to the gymnasium,” “I have no exercise equipment at home,” or “I don’t have space in my home to exercise.”
It’s all crap, and you know it. At first, I was upset during freezing temperatures when I couldn’t walk outside. A big part of my daily exercise program involves walking. But I also realized that the more I sit, the more I feel cold. When you move, you warm up your body. Exercise is a great mechanism to fight the cold, not inactivity.
No equipment necessary
Some assume that you need the help of equipment to exercise. Not true. In fact, many exercise machines are not suitable for me such as an exercise bike, which I once owned. I rarely used it as it hurt my buttocks after riding for half an hour.
Finally, we got rid of it.
I do have a treadmill for walking, and never for jogging. It’s handy to have it not only during rainy and freezing days. To tell you the truth, you don’t need the treadmill. I use it because I have one. You can walk or jog in a small space without moving too far. Search Youtube for “Walk at home” and you can see that you don’t need too much room. Just keep moving your body.
My biggest gain during the snowstorms was that I managed to do 10 push-ups. Before that, I couldn’t. When I told my son how I achieved it, he said, “Mom, that’s a fake push-up.”
What? I tried so hard and he said it was fake. The reason is, I have to let my knees and part of my torso touch the ground. A real push-up requires that no part of your body touches the floor except your hands and feet.
Give me another chance in a few more months, I am sure, I would conquer the real push-up!
Just kidding. Even though I can’t do the hard push-ups, I am getting there. By the end of this year, I will have had enough practice to accomplish it.
I confess that without my outdoor walking routine, I reduced my exercise time by 20 minutes each day, compared to our warmer days.
Music is key
When exercising, a little music can lift you up. The more joyful you are, the more likely you will stick with exercising longer.
Lately, I have been listening to Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Michael Jackson. Once the music is on, you enjoy flowing with the music and its rhythm. You can select different pop or dance music every day.
You don’t have to be a good dancer to dance. Dancing can be a rigorous form of exercise. You can dance alone or with a partner. My son and daughter-in-law like to dance for exercise. If you have kids, you can organize them in a group dance.
One of my most memorable moments involving dancing was when my mother and I visited my brother’s family in Austin, Texas. One morning, my 10-year-old niece practiced aerobic dancing with me and mom. Three generations danced in unity of spirit and steps without missing a beat. I was proud of my mom then, being so athletic and energetic, and keeping up with us. Too bad we didn’t take a photo of that precious moment.
There are several inexpensive props you can use to exercise. Instead of dumbbells, you can hold canned food in each hand to add weight during your exercise.
I have a small paper balloon, which I throw high and run to catch it. Sometimes, I play it with my husband. Don’t underestimate a small ball, it gets my heart rate up fast.
I also have a hula hoop and jump rope. It cost less than $10 for the hoop. I don’t use it much. However, I did use it recently during snow days to reduce belly fat. The jump rope is my least favorite. I keep it just in case I want to have variety in my exercise routine — it’s part of my motivation to keep fit.
All you need is a mat for yoga, which doesn’t take up much room.
A friend of mine loves yoga because she can practice by lying down. Yoga is the best way to relax or calm you down.
I like yoga as it increases blood circulation. I practice it every day at home to enhance my balance, strength, and energy. It would be wise to take some classes first before you do it at home.
Make good use of your room
My husband pushes against a wall every morning to build up his resistance and strength. I push a heavy dining table to build up my arm muscles and endurance.
Look around your room and see what you can use as exercise equipment. If you have stairs, climb it during bad weather. It burns calories quickly.
My friend likes to walk in his basement as there is more room to move around and it doesn’t bother other family members. When you are alone, you can also meditate while you exercise.
My home furniture arrangement of two sofas and a coffee table forms a square. I jog around it for about five to 10 minutes every day. The result is immense, I sweat quite a bit.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.