Things work out best for those that make the best of how things work out.John Wooden
Good Food Mood.
Exercise. Well, if I must. And if I must, I should look good doing it, shouldn’t I? After all, looking good is part of the motivation, isn’t it? LOL . . . Yes, I see you rolling your eyes, shrugging your shoulders and chuckling at/with me.
One of the prongs of my new healthy lifestyle is exercise. Any movement is good movement, as they say. There’s a lake near my home, and it’s exactly one mile in circumference. That’s a good barometer of how far I can go, and will go. And a good place to start.
If you were there, you’d see some stiff stretching. Is that a contradiction in terms? Likely so because I’m not the most graceful or coordinated. Back years ago when I was a size 6, I took a yoga class for some flexibility and strength. And lo and behold in the middle of the class, the teacher walked to the back of the room, to little ol’ me, and proclaimed to everyone: “Look here, this is what not to do.” I was horrified, and needless to say, I didn’t try yoga for a long while afterwards. Alas, I digress.
At the beginning of my new journey, my nutritionist has indicated that it’s good to get moving and do what I can. I’ve been struggling with lower back and sciatica problems of late, so getting moving some days proves more difficult than it should be. I’ve managed to do 2-3 loops around that lake the last couple of mornings. I may be doing it more at a snail’s pace than a speedwalker. But, I’m moving! That is what is important right now. It even feels good. And, as an added benefit, it gives me some personal time to reflect and chill-out.
As much as exercising is “painful” and arduous, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will admit that we feel so much better after a workout. Yet it’s also true that, for many of us, life gets in the way. Many days, unless I get up at 5AM, I feel like the day takes control and I don’t have the time for the exercise that is needed. Let’s face it: by the time I get to that lake and back, plus the exercise time, nearly two hours have come and gone.
Working out at home is a great alternative to throw into the mix. I’ve been armed with some exercises that I’m excited to try and integrate into my day. With so many of you working from home as well, these are likely to be great options for you too!
In honor of Women’s Health & Fitness Day on September 30, I am pairing up six great at home exercises and athleisure wear for working out at home. All items that have been recommended and vetted by various friends and certified fitness coaches, including my nutritionist (who’s a competitive marathon runner).
A recent article in Business Insider discussed how sales of luxury fashion brands are fast declining since COVID-19 began. However, with people wearing more comfortable clothing while working from home, sales of activewear and athleisure brands are on the upswing. In fact, among social media influencers, athleisure brands have a 331% increase in engagements in the first half of 2020 as compared to the same time a year ago. That’s big!
You don’t need fancy athleisure wear to exercise. But, they are great inspiration when you are starting a new routine. And many of them look so good you can wear them easily as you nimbly move between Zoom calls, kids’ lunches and an occasional jaunt up and down the stairs. They also offer moisture-wicking advantages that allow you to work-out at home whenever you find yourself with an extra fifteen minutes to an hour to get some extra movement in.
Exercises & Athleisure Wear #1: Planks & Pullover
Planks are hard! In fact, right now, fifteen seconds each is all I can do. But, they’re as basic as it gets and a great way to strengthen your core and stabilize your spine. Start with 15 seconds, or whatever you can do, and work your way up to a minute or more. They’re an easy activity to do when you have just an extra minute or two, like while you’re brewing coffee in the morning, or during the commercials of your favorite show. Or you use an app like the 30 Day Plank Challenge to add more structure.
Patagonia’s Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover adds fun to fleece with vibrant color schemes like Vela Peach and Scotch Pink. Try it out for those walks on cold weather mornings. Plus, it’s made from recycled fabric and is certified fair-trade sewn, so that’ll make you feel good too.
Exercises & Athleisure Wear #2: Home Trampoline & Sports Bra
If you have kids and they’re learning remotely while you work from home too, you may all be bouncing off the walls. Take “bouncing” to a whole new level with this Stamina Rebounder Trampoline. Not only can it help the kids burn off some energy, it will allow you to get in a low-impact cardio workout even if it’s raining. Cost: $84.99
There are certain parts of our bodies that we don’t want to bounce, so a supportive sports bra is a required component to our exercise apparel. This medium impact sports bra from Fabletics will provide the comfort and support that any girl needs. And your “girls” will thank you for it! Cost: $20.00
Exercise & Athleisure Wear #3: Resistance Bands & Graphic Tees
Resistance bands take up virtually no room and can help you develop long and lean muscles. Bodylastics has produced a top-ranked set ($49.95) that has more than enough to get you started. And here are some beginner exercises that you can do literally anywhere.
Find yourself an inspirational graphic tee for your exercising. Etsy is loaded with stores in which you can find anything that suits your personality and mood. I love this one: “Squats: Because no one raps about tiny butts.” ‘Nuff said. Cost: $15.00 and up
Exercise & Athleisure Wear #4: Yoga Mat & Leggings
You can pay anywhere from $5 to more than $100 for a yoga mat, but if you think you’re going to be doing a lot of Pilates or Yoga it’s hard to beat Lululemon’s Reversible 5 mm Mat. At $78, it’s pricey, but it’s the one mat my friends have tried that, no matter how sweaty one gets, it never ever lets the hands or feet slip. Once you have your mat, you can experiment with different apps (there are thousands), but I’ve found that you’ll get the most diversity at the best prices (free!) on YouTube. Here’s a great one!
Prana’s Pillar 7/8 Leggings make me excited for fall with shades like Jadeite Heather and Spiced Wine. In fact, I can imagine wearing them for a yappy wine hour with a girlfriend—after a pilates or yoga session, of course. $69.00.
Exercises & Athleisure Wear #5: Foam Roller & Transition Sweater
You may think that the humble foam roller can’t do much for you, and you’d be wrong for thinking thusly. Keep one close to where you work and use it throughout the day to relieve tension and pain, especially if you’re working on a laptop. This Can-Do High Density Roller gets the job done for $17.00. My nutritionist highly recommended this one, and I can already tell the difference on my sore hips and calves.
Athleta never fails us with their huge collections of athleisure that’s built to last. Surfing around, I have my eye on the Lincoln Park Sweater in glacial blue. It’s ideal to wear on endless conference calls, and super chic to throw on over leggings and a tank after a walk or for a quick trip to the grocery store. Cost: $98.00
Exercises & Athleisure Wear #6: Pilates Ring & Sporty Leggings
A Pilates ring is today’s equivalent of the ThighMaster, only it can do so much more. Sure, you can use it to tone your inner thighs, but you can also use it to work your abs, arms, hips and butt. This Mantra Sports Pilates Ring ($25.97) comes with a poster showing you all the ways to do so. Good ol’ Suzanne Somers would be so proud!
Old Navy’s line of athleisure offers comfort and performance—at a very reasonable price. Check out these High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft Color-Blocked 7/8-Length Leggings, available with sporty stripes running down the leg. They’re great motivation for me to get racing—even at a snail’s pace! Cost: $28.00
I’ve never met a workout look I didn’t like. The workouts themselves, well, that’s another story. Check back with me in a future post for updates on the exercise:sweat ratios.
Whether you’re doing at-home exercises or attending a class at your nearby gym, you’re doing something amazing for yourself. Join me in prioritizing your wellness, however that looks and feels like for you. #goodfoodmood