Friday Five: Yes, you CAN get in shape without a gym — here’s 5 ideas to try!

While it’s true I’ve been going to the gym a lot more lately, it’s NOT because I think going to the gym is the only — or even the best — place to exercise. Au contraire, Pierre! As a matter of fact, during this past week, I haven’t set foot in a gym, and yet I managed to get some perfectly cromulent exercise under my belt!

See, out here in sunny Southern California, we have this annual weather phenomenon known as “June gloom.” According to the always reliable Wikipedia entry:

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June Gloom is a Southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.

It’s usually in June (duh!), but sometimes, like this year, it stretches its icky tentacles back into May. The City Council unanimously voted to rename it “May Grey” (though they continue to dispute the “Grey/Gray” spelling), and it seems to have become a more or less permanent fixture out here these past couple of years.

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However, as depressing as all those icky clouds may be, there’s always a silver lining, and that silver lining is that May Grey (Gray) and June Gloom (Glüm) are GREAT for outdoor exercisers! I’ve actually enjoyed bypassing the gym this past week, and ambled all around the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley.

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Old Stagecoach Trail, Santa Susana Pass

And there’s lots of other stuff you could do outdoors, too, thus seguing neatly into my Friday Five list:

  1. Walking. (See above!) In case you didn’t already know, walking outdoors is my all-time fave exercise. Mainly because it’s so interesting — you can walk around the same area multiple times and see something different every time. Whereas on the treadmill, I’m pretty much seeing the same thing: a TV screen and a brick wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, given a choice, I’d prefer this — wouldn’t you?
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  2. Biking. Pull that rusty ol’ Schwinn out of the garage, wipe off the dust and spiderwebs, pump some air into the tires, and roll! More and more cities have dedicated bike paths, so if it’s been a while, you should be able to find someplace to practice without worrying about evil bike-hating drivers.

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    Don’t Shoot the (Bike) Messenger,” by Eben Weiss, Outside Magazine, 05/02/2018 

  3. Exercise with a friend, or perhaps just a casual acquaintance. I go to the Sepulveda Basin sometimes to do my walks. It’s a great place — basically a big giant neighborhood park on steroids. But even in the smaller neighborhood parks, there’s groups of people who work out together. Some groups do yoga or Tai Chi, others do more strenuous stuff.
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    The basic idea, I guess, is that if you’re embarrassed to move your body around in public, you’ll be slightly less embarrassed if a few other people are standing next to you doing the same thing. (Hmm, wonder if that’s how churches got started!)
  4. Get your game on. I’m definitely NOT a sports aficionado, but I understand there are people who enjoy throwing or hitting balls, aiming for things like nets or bases or goals or some such nonsense. Maybe you can find some other like-minded people who want to throw or hit things, gather them onto an appropriate field of some sort, and throw/hit some balls together. It may not be MY thing, but it’s definitely exercise, so go for it!
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  5. Swimming. I left this for last, because honestly, who wants to jump into an icky, ice-cold lake or, God forbid, ocean when it’s cloudy and gloomy? Still, there are a lot of nutty people out there who prefer the cheap showiness of nature to that beautiful, clean (or at least clean -LOOKING!) pool at the gym. So, if there’s some form of water near you that’s big enough to swim in, go for it! That’s definitely some good cardio there, if you don’t get eaten by sharks, which, as I understand from my TV viewing, happens quite a bit.
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So definitely, enjoy the outdoors before the temps zoom up into the stratosphere and we have to go back to the air-conditioned treadmills. Just watch out for the sharks!

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Unused WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Archaic

 

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Quit Your Gym Membership (well … maybe!)

Happy Friday, everyone! As promised, here’s my unvarnished list of five reasons why I keep wondering if I should just quit my gym membership.

  1. Expense. Granted, I belong to one of the cheapie big-box gyms (24 Hour Fitness), so my monthly payment isn’t that much – only around $35 a month. Still, I’m on kind of a fixed income these days, what with my job being “outsourced” a few years ago. My primary source of extra spending money right now is freelance transcription, which doesn’t pay that much, but at least it keeps me home, where I’m less likely to overspend. Still, every penny counts!
  2. Clothes. Confession: I wear a skirt almost all the time, except when I’m on a bike or in the pool. The skirts I tend to favor are long, comfy, soft, and most importantly, have nice, roomy POCKETS. I guess you’d call them “cargo skirts,” although they weren’t called that when I originally started buying them or their equivalents, back in the previous century. This all goes back to when I was working full-time in downtown L.A., and had to putter around the office, carrying card keys and actual keys and change for the snack machine, which I visited a LOT, which is partly why I’m dieting today. Now I pretty much live in my comfy skirts, and having to change out of them into quote-unquote “workout clothes” is just a big fat pain in the butt.
  3. Parking. Every! single! location! of my fitness club has a big, crowded parking lot which you have to deal with before you can even get NEAR the actual exercise equipment. Now that I’ve lost a bit of weight and am a bit more mobile, I’m following the classic “passive exercise” advice about parking farther away and walking the extra distance. But ya know, sometimes I just find myself thinking, “Why not just park in the WAY less crowded parking lot at that beautiful, tree-lined PARK a couple of miles down the road, the one with the attractive dirt trails, and just WALK – in my nice, comfy skirt?” And more and more often, I find myself doing just that.

    So*, more and more, I find myself not wanting to even get into the car to make the drive to the gym. The closest location to me is at least a 20-minute drive, and has the absolute WORST parking of all their locations. It’s tempting to just stay home, which brings me to:
  4. Agoraphobia. It’s mild, but I do have kind of an aversion to large crowds. And gyms tend to have lots of people in them. Not so much right now, but give it a few weeks – all those New Year’s resolutions tend to fill up those prime treadmill spots for at least a couple of months.
  5. Non-Gym Exercise. As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot more walking, at least every other day, for my regular exercise. In addition, last week I dragged my abandoned, but still quite functional, Electra Townie Cruiser bike out of the garage, where it’s been waiting patiently for the past few years, gathering cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses; took it up to our local bike shop; and had it all fixed up, spandy new and purty as a picture! After my husband helped me adjust the leopard print saddle – very picturesque and exquisitely uncomfortable – I’ve had three short but increasingly delightful rides around our neighborhood, and am really looking forward to the next one. Plus, I’ve got a whole bunch of free weights (well, they weren’t really free, but they were cheap, nyuk nyuk!) scattered around the back yard, to take care of those underarm wings we fat middle-aged ladies seem to sprout.

So – there you go. My five best arguments for quitting my gym membership.

Still, there are some good reasons for keeping it active, and next Friday, I’ll give you those.

Meanwhile, what do YOU think? Do you belong to a gym? Do you use it, or just keep it in reserve in case you can’t think of anything else to do, or there’s nothing new on Netflix? Let me know!

(*by the way, if you’re also a freelance transcriber, you’re probably shouting at me, “Hey! Never start a sentence with ‘and,’ ‘but,’ or ‘so’! That’s … that’s just so wrong!!” And you’re right. But I did it anyway. So there.)
 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and Dig (Out) That Bike!

Well, good morning, all! Happy Monday to you and yours. Ready? Let’s not waste one more second!

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A little better than before
meh

Only 0.4 pounds lost this week, but hey, I’ll take what I can get! Especially considering that I overindulged a little this weekend (what, again?), this time treating myself to some Taco Bell, as a reward for visiting my gym for the first time in over a month. And it’s so conveniently located, right next door. How could I resist?

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Which is maybe another good argument in favor of quitting my gym membership and just exercising on my own. But then again, I’ve quit twice in the past several years, only to rejoin a few months later, with my tail between my legs, whimpering, since it usually winds up costing a little bit more each time, not to mention having to redo the fingerprint scan thingie with a different digit than before. 24 Hour Fitness has both my thumbs AND my forefingers in their system already, and who’s to say they aren’t reporting my suspicious activities back to the gov’mint? It’s theoretically possible. So maybe I’d better leave well enough alone, while I’ve got three unidentifiable fingerprints left.

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Hmm, sounds like it’d be a good Friday Five kinda thing, though, don’t you think? Five reasons to quit the gym, and then five reasons not to? I’ll let it percolate in the hopper and see what comes up. (I’m sure you’ll be waiting on tenterhooks for the results.)

I may also do some stuff about my trusty, rusty ol’ Electra Townie, a bike that’s been sitting in our garage for at least five years, acquiring a nice patina of dust, cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses (eww). Last week, I dragged Ol’ Blue out of what seemed to be its final resting place, wiped off the spider corpses, and hauled it up to the local bike shop. Three hundred smackeroos later, it’s back, clean as a whistle and waiting in the driveway (behind a fence, don’t worry), waiting for me to toodle around the neighborhood looking geeky.

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I love it, although I may replace the cool-looking leopard print saddle with something less cool-looking and more comfy. (This one might be helpful, if I find myself jonesing for Taco Bell again:)

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Have a great week, everyone!