By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
The number one question I get asked about wellness is, “how do I get started.” It’s daunting to read all the trends on this top and plow through all the information and options out there–from health clubs to studios to private trainers and outdoor meet-up clubs. My best answer is to this question is, “what is realistic for your lifestyle.” Let’s be real… if you hate to run as much as I do, then don’t choose that exercise regimen because you are not going to stick with it. There must be some activity you did as a kid or teenager that you liked; start there!
If am going to encourage you to take the plunge into a wellness lifestyle, I guess it’s only fair that I tell you how I “got started.” I was a dedicated and passionate cheerleader, starting at age 11, and it was all going well until my sophomore year of high school. My parents grounded me for some infraction at home and I had to miss two games. The co-captain, (whose name I still cannot say without rolling my eyes), was promoted to wear my captain’s uniform in my absence, and she altered it a size smaller to fit her. When I returned to the team, I had two options: wear a regular uniform or quit the team. So I quit. A brilliant decision at the age of 16. I spiraled from there and never did an ounce of exercise for years. I was the most inactive person on the planet—that is until I was 24 years old. I had just given birth to my son and had gained over 50 pounds. One day, as a new mother visiting my parents, I saw them talking in hushed tones. When the whispering stopped, my mother said to me, “Dad is going to watch Timmy and you are going to Nina’s jazzercise class with me.” OK—whatever. So, off I went, wearing my husband’s brown nylon tracksuit. They were popular in the 80’s and made a nice swish sound when you walked. (Looking back, it may have been that outfit that prompted my parents to intervene.) Anyway, off I went to jazzercise and I loved it! I loved the dancing part. I loved the social part. It was cheerleading all over again without the uniform issues. I found my passion and lost the tracksuit!
The best advice I can give you is to find something you love doing otherwise you most likely will not stick to it. If you like to dance, try Zumba. If you need to de-compress, try yoga. If you love the team spirit and coaching style, Crossfit may be a perfect fit. Love to ride bikes? Try spinning. Love the water? Why not try aquatic classes or kayaking. Loved ballet as a kid? Try barre classes. Love nature? Hiking or mountain climbing may just fit the bill. If you feel like your body is the shape of your chair, try a stretch class. Join a meet-up group that does the types of activities you like to do: soccer, basketball, biking, running, etc. If you want to “get started,” but don’t have anything that speaks to you just yet—get up and walk! It’s free and everyone can find a few minutes in their day for this activity. And don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself doing new things that you never thought you would try. Forget the trends and the magazine’s advice – just go back to your own roots and “get started”.