Like so many others, when I entered my 40s I started really FEELING 40. For the first time, all my little knee creaks and foot aches and back pains really started to affect my everyday life. As my lower back was hurting from standing in place, my doctor suggested daily exercise and specifically core strengthening exercises. That meant yoga, as it is one of the top core strengthening exercise programs. So I agreed.
The first class I hated. I couldn’t follow the moves, and even though I tried to stand self-consciously in the back, I still couldn’t avoid the mirrors lining the room. I couldn’t focus on meditation during the class and found every move painful. After a week I moved on to other things before FINALLY going back to the doctor one last time, who begged me to try yoga again and practice it 4 x a week for 90 days. At the end of the 90 days, if I didn’t love it, I’d never have to do it again. He recommended I try other things while going through my “90-day punishment program,” so here’s a list of the things I tried:
1. Weight Lifting
I just started lifting weights again, and although I can’t say I’m enjoying it, I do feel much stronger after only a few weeks.
I tried cycle class but found that although I could definitely work up a sweat; I hated the music and started bringing my own headphones to drown out the shouting instructor and their bad music selection. Eventually, I just bought my own bike and challenge myself to go long distances and uphill.
I found that I loved hiking or walking the dogs in equal amounts. I enjoy the hiking solitude and being in nature, and I also like walking the dogs as there is a fair amount of neighborly chit chat that happens while dog walking. I still hike about 1-2 times a week.
I found that when my body ached or was sore from other workouts, the pool and its buoyancy of my body weight felt good to my aching joints. I swam laps and did aqua aerobics. Although I prefer swimming laps so that I can think about important things while I swim, either one is great for exercise. I still swim at least once a week and more often in the summer
I did try kickboxing and just found all the kicking just too repetitive to stick with it. Although a great workout, it just wasn’t for me.
I tried my hand at hip hop dancing class as I love dancing, but didn’t love doing the moves in front of everyone, and also got bored quickly with the ‘routine.’ I guess I’m more of a free-form dancer, which is why I enjoy Zumba, it allows you to throw your own style on top of the moves.
This is the way I lost 40 lbs. in college, so I thought I’d try it again. I found that it’s MUCH harder on the body to get started but I’m still trying.
I found the Pilates machines really helped me get into stretching and lengthening and core strength as much as yoga, without all the posing.