Getting active without going to the gym
Want to get active but hate the gym? Erin Reilly has some ideas.
The first slither of sun through the overcast sky saw a traffic jam of Auckland proportions congregate on my favourite beach.
Young lovers interlocked fingers, posses of active wear-wearing mums raced pushchairs, and parents chased wild-eyed kids who hadn’t been outside for months. A pensioner was even attempting to push his walking frame over seaweed and around driftwood; I stopped short of offering him a piggyback.
The arrival of summer is an incredible feeling, but the mix of relief and anticipation comes with a severe regret that you sat on the couch for the last three months watching Gilmore Girls reruns and eating potato chips by the bag (surely it’s not just me).
Everywhere you look someone’s telling you that you need to get active. It’s good for your weight. It’s good for your mental health. It’s good for your liver. It’s good for the polar bears. But as a self-confessed gymaphobe who’s too poor to buy her own equipment and too gumby to do Kayla Itsines’ at-home workouts without professional instruction, the options for getting active are somewhat limited. Or so I thought.
My best friend lives close to my favourite beach. To kill two birds with one stone, we take a power stroll along the shore at least once a week. Not only do we partake in our fair share of gossiping, we also get active – without wasting our hard-earned cash on unnecessary salmon eggs bene and soy chai lattes.
Then there’s my pushchair. Empty, it weighs about 10 kilograms. Add my 9-month-old and the weight doubles. Pushing that weight to the supermarket instead of jumping in the car and driving it there is a proactive way to choose activity over slothfulness.
A bunch of my friends have kids and pushchairs too. Organising a weekly ‘‘bring your baby’’ walking group is a great way to get hearts pumping while collectively moaning about offspring that refuse to sleep through the night. If pushchair-owning friends are few and far between, ask around on Neighbourly; there’s bound to be someone near you who’s dying to get out of the house.
This one’s for my future self: walk the kids to school or go for a bike ride with them afterwards. The bus might be more convenient but seeing your kids off to school then leaping back into bed for the rest of the day isn’t conducive to productivity or activity. And this one’s for my particularly motivated self (I’m sure I’ll meet her one day). Sign up to an event that you need to train for, like a 10km run or ‘‘swim the harbour’’ meet. Often an immovable date and a registration fee is all you need to get up an hour earlier to pound the pavement or swim some laps.
Still need some motivation? Your neighbours might be seeking the same incentive. Post a plea for an exercise buddy on Neighbourly; you might be surprised who replies.
You don’t have to go crazy, just a gentle stroll with other mums is enough to get you out and active.