10 09/11/2013 life Health & Fitness

Exercise, I Hate You.

It’s no secret. I’ve never enjoyed you in the classic sense, Exercise. And it’s not me – it’s you.

Some people are of the idea that there’s a gain with pain. When it comes to just about all things, my motto is: No pain? No pain. I much prefer pleasure. I’m a bit of a hedonist, you know. *sips from coconut and adjusts lei around neck*

Unfortunately, when you’re walking on this side of forty, adjustments sometimes need to be made, in order to just maintain. But what, oh WHAT to do? Friends have invited me to join yoga classes and things… I think I’m just not much of a joiner.

“Here, wanna borrow this workout DVD?”

Ah… no thanks.

“You should do this hiking/biking/shredder-challenge with me…”

Pardon, whut?

“Hey, I’m signing up for this half marathon thing…”


But, getting toned up has been on my mind. For lots of reasons. For finding-balance reasons. For heart-smart reasons. For fitting-in-your-clothes-properly reasons. And as we ladies age, osteoporosis is also on my mind.

No, I’m not walking around thinking about my bone density all the time, but my father-in-law is a chemist, and one of his late-career projects was working on a drug for those afflicted. It comes up in conversation quite naturally over dinner and things… seeds get planted. Not much of a milk drinker? Wanna fight a loss of bone density? Keep the muscles on your skeleton strong and tight for as long as possible.

So, back to the WHAT. I reckon you have to find something you like to do. Run every day, if you want to. If you enjoy biking, then GET ON that thing. Swim. Play a sport. Or dance like nobody’s watching.


I like to dance. I always have, and I so rarely ever actually go dancing anyplace anymore… but that really ain’t no thing. I dance with the children around the house all the time, but not with any kind of structure. Some time ago, I decided to change that.

And here’s the strange part: the difference has been noticeable. The other day, my neighbour said, “You look great, you’re glowing…” Recently, another friend hugged me and said, “You’re all tiny and hard…?” And on Facebook the other day, my friend Idas wondered if I drank smoothies all the livelong day to stay in shape. Pfft. Do smoothies have bacon in them?

I had yet another conversation recently with a friend who works out daily (and hard!) and we agreed a person should fess up about one’s “activity” – it’s not really cool to pretend you just come like this if you’re up to something. And I don’t believe in being coy. Share with your friends.

So, friends…

Lately, I have these seven songs I’m just bopping around dancing my ass off to while the videos are playing…

I start with Marlena Shaw’s California Soul, because it makes me feel like moving. (It’s the bass-line that gets me.)

Then I cue up TLC’s No Scrubs because it’s still an easy start, but I dance it with 4-pound weights in my hands.

Next is Q-Tip’s Breathe and Stop and I play it twice – once with weights, once without.

Then it’s Jennifer Lopez’s Get Right and often, twice.

The hardest? Is Amerie’s One Thing. All these songs feature hard on rhythm… but this song is based entirely in go-go (lots and lots of drums and percussion) so it’s fast, and it’s tough, and it’s hard on the legs. Believe.

Yes, I dance it like that. Twice. (And yes, that’s Larry Wright, the New York bucket-drumming busker in the middle of all those fine percussionists.) Hit your bongo – POW!

After some water…

Missy Elliott’s Get Your Freak On the first time with weights… the next time, not.

Then I finish with Missy Elliott’s Work It because it’s smooth and slower… plus, I love that song.


I’m not likely to be all muscle-y like my lady-friend here, only because I’m not interested in doing what it takes to be in awesome shape like that. I just want to stay flexible, and fairly fit – and stave off The Thickening if I can. This is working for me. I’m dripping with sweat by the end, but I don’t hurt (much) the next day. WIN! I can do it inside my house, rain or shine, morning or night. TOTAL WIN! It doesn’t cost a cent, it doesn’t require any special clothes or equipment, and it only takes 30 or 40 minutes. WINNETY-WIN-WIN!! And it’s way more fun than doing push-ups and sit-ups.

And osteoporosis can suck it.

Next, I’m going to compile a bunch of videos that are purely ska-based. English Beat and No Doubt… we will bounce.

What do you do to maintain? Spill it…

  • nancy macdonald

    Running, yoga mainly. Swimming. Saying ‘yes’ to activity invitations- even when they are not my first choice (you never know). I like how it thanks the bod, the mind, the everything. Worth it. Besides with my new decade upon me there is no fooling anyone!

    • http://www.grumblegirl.com/ Grumble Girl

      You’re good to try all kinds of different things, Village – it’s good to be open! The idea of “going to exercise” has never, ever inspired me. Not even when I was an athlete. I loved the thrill of competitive races and things, but the training was always a nightmare for me. Fortunately, this doesn’t feel anything like work – only fun.

      Decade, schmecade… you look amazing, woman!! 🙂

  • Julie

    ever try nia? basically, it’s hippie aerobics…look into it, you might like it!

    • http://www.grumblegirl.com/ Grumble Girl

      I’d heard of it before… I looked into it just now, and yes – “hippie aerobics” is a pretty apt description. Not really for me. I’m much more of a pop-and-lock hip-hop kind of lady. Lots of muscle contraction, keeping the core tight. But, it does look like fun, if a person wanted to take such a class with others – I imagine it would be a very “smiley” environment. That’s never a bad thing!!

  • Alice

    I started running just about 2 years ago for basically those same reasons (being healthier and for longer, aging better/less painfully, and fitting into clothes better), and that made a huge difference – especially for someone with NO history of exercise outside of dance classes. I’m into it… but sometimes, I like to play along to Just Dance on the Wii, instead. Because dude, I love to dance, too, and yep, anything that makes me both sweaty and happy is goooood. 😉

    • http://www.grumblegirl.com/ Grumble Girl

      Sweaty and happy… I’m going to leave that right there. *snort*

      Good for you, Alice!! 🙂

  • Sonya D

    Oh I love that Amerie song..I got to dig that one up again! My all time favs…Scream (Usher), Let’s Go (Calvin Harris), Teach me how to Dougie. …oh I could go on.

    • http://www.grumblegirl.com/ Grumble Girl

      Yeah, that Amerie is heavy go-go – that’s why I like it so much – I prefer a lot of complicated percussion for dancing… look it up again, woman. Get your dance on!

  • Emily Wight

    OMFG WHY HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS?! You are a genius. Doing this IMMEDIATELY upon returning home. I already have the playlist in mind.

    • http://www.grumblegirl.com/ Grumble Girl

      People can do all the rock-climbing they want… this is the way, lady – I swear to god. And do it for TWENTY minutes if you want… every little bit helps, I reckon. Just get your heart rate up, and break a sweat. DO IT! And gimme your playlist… 😉

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