Alternative Exercise and Health Practices
There are many alternative exercise and health practices out there. I will only focus on a handful. The last two forms of exercise I’d like to mention are Tai Chi and Qigong. These two practices appeal to me because they are mind-body practices (of course, you can make any form of exercise a mind-body exercise if you engage your mind in what you’re doing versus distracting yourself with music or television). I have trouble committing to these practices as my only form of exercise because they are different than what I grew up on as an athlete—but something about them is appealing! I have a dvd by David-Dorian Ross that is very cool…in fact, I might get it out again and give it another try. I also have two Morning Cup books by John Fey—one on Tai Chi and one on qigong.
Interview with Zoe Bray-Cotton
John-Fey has developed his own versions of these two ancient practices, and they are simple and fun and only require about 15 minutes. For me, the problem in sticking with these practices is one of time and confidence…I stay really busy and have only a certain amount of time per day to devote to exercise…and I’m just not convinced these approaches are enough! They certainly don’t feel like work! But maybe exercise needn’t be hard work?? I would certainly recommend them as enjoyable and fun…I just don’t know if they are enough to keep you fit for life. Probably if you believe they’re what your body needs, they would be! In all the New Thought books I have read, the only references to exercise were for walking and Tai chi—for whatever that’s worth!
I haven’t forgotten flexibility as a component of being fit for life! The consensus on flexibility seems to be that you should only stretch warm muscles—so after your walk or bike ride….the best way to warm up for activity is by doing the activity at low-intensity. So you walk slowly before walking briskly or jogging. You do one round of weights with light weights and with less range of motion before getting serious. For weight training you can also just march in place and move all your muscles and joints by lifting your arms etc…one dvd I have (Abs Diet workout) and one book (Wini Linguvic’s Lean Long, and Strong) suggest stretching the muscle right after doing the strength move, but others just recommend a handful of stretches after the whole workout. The important thing is to be sure to incorporate stretching into your days to maintain flexibility throughout your life!
More Alternative Exercise and Health Practices
Of course, some alternative exercise and health exercise practices, like yoga, for example, have flexibility work built in—which is great! I have a 60 year old sister who does yoga and runs (hers is one of the personal stories of fitness). She has found yoga to be great for both strength and flexibility–which is not surprising to the many practitioners of yoga. I think western athletes (although less so today than in years gone by) tend to think yoga is easy because of the slow movements and static holds. Does the pose above look easy to you?! I know it does not look easy to me! I have dabbled in yoga for years. I think there may be some fast-paced versions of yoga, but the ones I have tried are more traditional. I am not “into” the spiritual aspects of yoga, though I appreciate them. I tend to use yoga as a supplemental form of exercise for when I am tired of weights or HIIT. I have used a lot of different dvd programs for my practice.
I have also used one or two programs I found online (Shapeshifters, and Yoga Burn). Just as with everything else there seem to be a lot of different approaches to even age-old practices such as yoga 🙂
Alternative Health Practices
Oftentimes, alternative exercise and health practices go hand-in hand. While some of these may be becoming more accepted by the mainstream, you still have to be open to non-traditional ways of thinking to even consider such things. I am fairly traditional in my approach to health, having been a nurse. But I am open to alternative methods, and have had some success with mind over matter approaches (see my not-so-dramatic-story here). The possibilities intrigue me and have from a young age. I relish stories of unusual and unexplained (traditionally speaking) healings. The Mind Over Matter page of this site explores this area more fully.