Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adjusting Your Workout Habits During the Recession

A lot has transpired since I began this blogging experiment just over a year ago (an experiment that lasted exactly 5 days, yes, but it was good practice). I'm not just talking about the recession, though it's certainly informed some of my decisions over the past 8 or so months: I quit my health-club job, moved back home with my mom and grandma for a while, and just 4 months ago moved down to Charlotte, NC with my boyfriend and my dog. All of these transitions required a good deal of adjustment to my own exercise habits. I went from working out in a fully equipped, state-of-the-art facility to making due with my mom's treadmill, resistance bands, and lightweight dumbbells, and then to our almost-sufficiently maintained apartment-complex fitness center.

It was when I was living at home that I had to be the most creative. For one thing, I wasn't working, so in addition to improvising my workouts I had to overcome a near-absence of motivation borne of being shut inside my mom's house all day. It was late June when I arrived, so I took my workouts outside for a while, looking for anything and everything that needed to get done---serious, backbreaking work like digging out the firepit on the beach (hello! Wet sand=heavy) and cutting low-hanging branches from the big pine trees dotting the yard. This labor-intensive form of exercise lasted a couple of weeks...until I ran out of things to do.

I had no choice, then, but to go back to modern exercise to keep in shape. The problem was, all I had to work with (other than the treadmill---thank goodness for that) was a single resistance band, a 5-lb pair of dumbbells, and an 8-lb pair of dumbbells. So I made due, sometimes holding 2 weights in one hand, always depending on body-weight exercises to make up the bulk of my workouts. The truth is, it wasn't all that difficult to come up with exercises. I'm a personal trainer; it's my job to improvise.

But it got me thinking about the kinds of concessions other people have had to make in their fitness routines due to changing circumstances. Maybe you've had to cancel your gym membership to save money. Maybe you've moved back in with your parents. I suspect that an increasing number of us are on our own these days when it comes to our workouts, working out at home or in parks, on the beach or on the sidewalk or in front of your television.

This is why I'll be dedicating a lot of space on this blog to the types of exercise you can do outside of the gym, whether outdoors or in your living room, on your own or with a buddy. I'll often relay this info through my observations of exercise and the people who do it, in a way that I hope is both relatable and informative.

I hope you'll also check out some of my articles on Suite101.com at http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/shelbymiller, where I offer specific (and usually free!)ideas for improving upon your fitness and nutrition habits.

So here's to staying active...in whatever way you know how.

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