An apartment community that can boast having an exclusive gym on-site is often a highly sought amenity – and just as often a highly underutilized amenity. I get it. I have entered that “metallic” stage in life. That age is when you notice silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, iron in your blood, and lead in your posterior. I believe it is the latter that contributes to the non-use of apartment gyms throughout the nation. So, what can we do to overcome this trend and get back into shape?
Most apartment gyms have the same type of equipment. Treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical runners for cardio; Dumbbells, bars, bands, and bells for building muscle mass. One trick I have found to be able to keep working my routine is to keep it from becoming routine.
A New Approach from an Old Guy on Enjoying Your Apartment Gym Workout:
- Gradually warm-up instead of stretching before exercise
- You do not have to impress anyone
- Listen to your body
- Enjoy the experience
- Be creative
- Train your whole body, mind, and spirit
- Find the cardio interval that works for you
Getting the kinks out
We all recall the advice of our gym teachers and coaches, “Stretch before you workout to prevent injury and soreness.” Times have changed and the recommendation for stretching has gone the way of medicine balls and flying rings. Now before you commit to the complete workout, work your way into the routine. A light warm-up will get your blood flowing to all the targeted muscle groups and loosen up joints. Starting at a lower setting on the treadmill or elliptical runner, beginning your lifting routine with lighter weights or bands will all allow your heart and muscles to get “back in the swing of things” and remind them there is going to be a demand placed on them shortly.
This is not a competition
We all have goals in starting on the path to improving our overall wellbeing. Whether we are looking forward to loosing a few pounds, improving our stamina, or planning on regaining our youthful vigor, the goals we set should be for ourselves – not driven by others. Contrary to large public fitness centers, you can enjoy your work out with fewer judgmental eyes observing how long you are running, how much weight you are lifting, or how many reps you complete. The joy of having access to a private gym is that you can select when you exercise. You may even find a workout buddy to share the torture!
My Body Spoke to Me and It Said, “Ouch!”
Once you start exercising again it is easy to fall into the trap of attempting too much too soon. We all do it. We find ourselves reinvigorated, clearer of mind and more sound of body and fool ourselves into believing that we are seeing results better than we had anticipated. This is when you stand the chance of really doing serious injury to yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. Do not try and convince yourself that you are now Superman or Wonder Woman. You are not. Scale back, reassess your goals, and gradually increase the level of your training if required.
I wasn’t expecting this to be fun!
We have already touched on some of the obvious benefits of starting to challenge yourself physically; increased stamina improved overall sense of well-being, and an overall new, invigorated outlook on life. Along with all of those, there is the often-overlooked fun factor of working out. I know that may sound contradictory, we often picture workouts as being a group of sweaty, grunting, over-muscled hulks laboring away in the gym. That is not the type of workouts being discussed in this article. Here we are examining a way of gaining the most fulfillment out of your fitness training. And that can be fun.
I will be the first to admit, I used to dread working out on the treadmill or even the elliptical runner. Even with my headphones plugged in and blasting motivational rock music to keep my blood flowing, I would eventually find my mind wandering and losing motivation for the workout. Enter the world of YouTube hiking with musical scores. These videos have taken me to a whole new level of enjoyment on the virtual trails of our National Parks, worldwide wilderness, and major metropolitan settings around the globe. The videos can either have the sounds of nature or musical scores playing in the background. I have even gotten to the point where I don a backpack and set out on the trail right in the gym. Okay, sometimes I get weird looks, but others are also starting to follow suit!
You really are one with the universe
There is a spiritual side to working out that many who take the time to improve and challenge their physical well-being stumble across. No, I am not talking about reaching some mythical stated of Nirvana in which you suddenly find yourself with the answers to the meaning of life. Instead, I am referring to that period after the workout when you have started the cool-down period when everything around you seems brighter and in better focus when you are able to examine troublesome problems from a new perspective and perhaps reach a solution. Mind, body, and spirit are intertwined and exercising one will have a positive impact on the others.
Walk it off
Cardio is that boogey-bear who comes to haunt us as we grow older. Sure, we may consider ourselves in “great shape” for “our age.” Then reality strikes and you suddenly find yourself waking up in the ICU after surviving your first heart attack. A wake-up call of that magnitude will certainly necessitate lifestyle changes. Paying attention to diet, quitting smoking, cutting down on the intake of adult beverages, and most importantly – working out your heart muscle. Creating that “good” level of stress in your heart will strengthen it and contribute to your longer enjoyment of the time you have left on this planet. Walk, jog, jump on the bike. Each will aid in building up your stamina and strengthen the heart.
So, get out there and challenge yourself. Remember, a sedentary lifestyle is often a lifestyle choice. You decide.
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