"News Diet," Yoga and Exercise Modifications


Hi Blog Readers! Did anyone miss me (or even notice my absence!) these last few weeks? I was moving into a new house and a little tied up, so to speak. If you’d like to hear about the 24-foot U-Haul, the narrow driveway, a ditch and tow truck, email me!

I have decided to take this move as an opportunity to start/break some habits. I’ve decided to take my long-standing “news diet” further. I gave up TV news, periodicals, magazines, papers after 9/11 – just couldn’t handle it anymore. So now I’m taking the next step – no more Golden Girls or Nanny, no infomercials, no basic or expanded cable, no nothing!

I was planning on still watching just the occasional movie DVD or VHS tape, so I hooked up the cables to all the electronic components, turned on the TV and what to my wondering eyes appeared – PBS!  The program was a woman that was very limber and had that peaceful look (if you have a yoga instructor, you’ll know what I mean). She was going through some stretches and drew me into continuing to watch because she seemed to be very safe and moderate in her approach.

As I continued watching, I realized the truth in the saying “first impressions can be deceiving”…she rapidly accelerated into some moves that I’m not sure anyone should do, but certainly not anyone with Plantar Fasciitis – or tendencies toward having it, or does not frequently stretch her feet – should ever do! I had a bad bout of fasciitis myself for a time, and believe me, you wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

And while this might seem contrived, you’ll have to take my word for this when I say that my first thought was thankfulness for having had the Green Mountain education and experience in my background…otherwise I could picture myself, still out of shape, being lured in by her calm tone and seeming knowledge, trying to follow along. Of course I would have done all the moves, injured myself (compounding my lack of activity) and worst of all, blamed myself for being a failure, never realizing that it was her failure for demonstrating a high risk move without noting it’s risk or providing a modification.

What a lovely word that is – “modifications” – especially when applied to exercise! My blood is starting to pound a bit harder as I think about all the “exercise professionals and gurus” out there that are negligent in presenting exercise and fitness as something that only a  20-year old hard body can do. I specifically said 20-year-old rather than a professional athlete because athletes do make use of modifications extensively to prevent injury (or re-injury) while continuing their conditioning

So what’s an imperfect body that would like to be healthy to do? How do you start? How do you learn? To be honest, I never found that answer on my own – I had found a lifetime of frustration at gyms, health clubs, trainers, magazine articles, fitness videos, programs, etc. But I think I could have found the right path if I had dropped my attitude that to “work” exercise had to be formal, in a gym, and just right or perfect. If I had thought about moving my body for pleasure, and to feel good, I think I could have found the right path eventually.

So my advice is to take a walk (or dance to the radio, or play in the leaves, or park the car a little further than usual) and think about how it feels to move, listening to your body, stopping before it’s uncomfortable, and by all means NEVER think about burning calories, losing weight or whether it’s going to “work”. Accept the goodness that moving brings, and you’ll continue to do it, better fitness will happen without pain, and probably when you’re not even looking! What could be better than that?!

3 responses to “"News Diet," Yoga and Exercise Modifications”

  1. amykate says:

    A great reminder to us all! All trainers are not created equal! I’d love to hear about the U Haul!

  2. Gina V says:

    Thanks Amy – You’ll have to wait for the movie to come out on the U-Haul story! Hollywood is calling – it’s the most amazing set of circumstances imaginable!!

  3. Solveig says:

    Thanks for reminding us about normal movement and excercise and how destructive it is to try to be pefect…the post helped me dig myself out of just tht kind of nagative thinking! I’m going for a walk now!

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