Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Looking after your body, part 2: walking and pilates

Yesterday I promised to tell you how Marie (my wife) and I are tackling the need to .

The most obvious form of exercise is walking, which is not only rewarding physically, but also a great way to get to know your neighborhood in slow motion (rather than speeding past in the car) and also lets you enjoy conversation. Unless you're walking by yourself, of course!

Walking gets the heart going and loosens up your limbs. I like it because you don't have to think about it too much, and you get to see new things.

It's good to know what motivates you. I found I wasn't that interested in walking somewhere I've already walked. I like to explore, and will walk much further if motivated by curiosity than any other form of goal-setting. It's good to know stuff about yourself like that!

The other exercises we've been trying are Mari Windsor's DVDs. Hard work, but the great thing is you don't really need equipment - it's hard enough fighting gravity, let alone using a whole bunch of gym equipment.

Theoretically, you could get so used to the Pilates exercises you could do them without the DVD. But I haven't done them regularly enough to memorise them, and it really does help to hear Mari Windsor saying well done, even if you skipped some exercises (well, she didn't see me skip them).

What doesn't help is the skinny models who make everything look effortless. Sure, it wouldn't be encouraging to see a chubby person like me puffing and making faces, so I don't know what the solution is there.

I admit, it's been hard to get into Pilates on a regular basis, but a recent visit to the osteopath about back pain reassured me that Pilates was going to be more help than any 'quick fix'.

The great thing about Pilates: it targets specific areas of your body. That means it hurts, but it also means you're being improved all over.

Of course, I have books about exercise too! One that I'm particularly looking forward to getting into is Bodywise: Discover a New Connexion with Your Body by none other than the Royal Australian Ballet.

While I don't think I'll be doing Swan Lake anytime soon, I do like what the book says about learning to wear your body well. Makes a lot of sense. If I can't be the brain in a box like that ancient episode of Star Trek, I can make the most of the body I live in.

Tomorrow, food.


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