Right now is the easy time of year in Wisconsin to be active: SUMMER! The longer days provide more sunlight to get outside; it is easier to go for a walk after work and after dinner when it is still light and warm out. The warmth in general makes it easier for our bodies to want to move; joints are a little less stiff and overall, we have more energy in the summer. But as this month ends, the season will change, the days will shorten and what was easy to do in the summer will start to become more challenging.
Fitness in summer is easier because we don’t call it fitness. We call summer fitness “activities.” We don’t call hikes in the woods, kayaking, water skiing or swimming “fitness.” We don’t say, “I’m going to take a hike” with the same tone of voice that we say, “I’m going to the gym.” Why don’t we consider all these movements fitness? Because they are fun. We look forward to these activities. In summer it is easy to find a way to move that we truly want to do. Oftentimes we put the gym on the “have to do” list rather than the “want to do” list and that takes the joy right out of it.
So how do we make “the gym” feel more like the activities you love in summer?
Ditch your regular gym. Fitness doesn’t have to be in a gym as we can see with all the healthy movement happening in summer. Find activities that call to your inner child instead of doing something that you feel you have to but don’t enjoy. If you find an activity that you laugh and have social connection during, you’ll be a lot more likely to attend and stick with it! There are so many options in our area to find movement that appeals to you; there are numerous leagues to join for adult sports, there are tons of different styles of fitness classes, there are Facebook groups for just about any activity and there are boutique fitness studios that offer tons of alternative options.
For me, I fell in love with pole fitness as an activity. When I attended my first class in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, I fell in love with pole not because it would make me stronger, or because I’d lose weight. I fell in love because I felt like a little kid on the monkey bars. Remember that feeling? Remember hanging upside down and feeling confidently invincible? Pole gives me that. Even at the age of 40 I am still able to hang upside down in pole classes and feel strong. I love the spins and the constant variation of moves because I get bored easily. I needed an activity that would have constant variation and change. Pole never ceases to have new moves to learn which appeals to me.
In the 14 years that I’ve done pole, my passion for the sport has only grown because the activity can be so varied. I no longer pursue the crazy hard or bendy tricks; my body doesn’t enjoy that side of the sport anymore. I still do the basic tricks and spins and now my focus is on ways to connect or transition between them creatively. I love the challenge of taking something I know and making it new. I also love the connection pole brings to my awareness and body by making me learn to move in new ways. In addition to helping me stay fit, pole has also kept me aware of and appreciate my body, which is something I truly have needed as I age. But most of all, all these years later, pole is still fun. I have a blast spinning in a move.
Staying active is critical for a long, healthy life. Don’t worry about what it is, just find something you love. Find a movement you can do in the upcoming cold months that you look forward to attending. Find a group of people who will notice if you don’t attend. Find a way to celebrate your body by continuing to ask it to grow and change. And most importantly, have a ton of fun celebrating your amazing body and all that it can do. Finding this type of fitness will keep you going!
Dr. Paula Brusky is the founder of Aerial Dance with locations in Appleton & Green Bay. In addition to Pole Fitness, Aerial Dance teaches adult women to escape to the circus on Aerial Hoop, Aerial Silks and Aerial Hammock. With a robust general fitness & flexibility program too, Aerial Dance is your one stop fitness sanctuary for women to gain strength, confidence and find a community of support. For more information go to www.AerialDanceWi.com or call 920-750-1441.
“If you find an activity that you laugh and have social connection during, you’ll be a lot more likely to attend and stick with it!”