Monday, December 31, 2007

Six in six

2008 will be the first year in a looong time that one of my New Year resolutions will not need to be "lose weight." Which, really, is freaking amazing. However, because "weight loss maintenance" is such a boring and static idea, I am challenging myself to become fitter than ever in 2008.

I will of course continue to do the activities that helped me get to where I am today. That would be walking (20 miles a week minimum), weight lifting (mixing up my exact routine every 6-8 weeks to keep my muscles guessing), bellydancing (live classes and DVDs) and yoga (which I want to actually do more of).

Each of these activities is fantastic, and I love all of them enough to spend many hours a week doing them. But my personal idea of fitness means having the strength, endurance and flexibility to move any which way with relative confidence and little-or-no delayed-onset muscle soreness the next day.

I arrived at this notion gradually over the summer and fall. We did a heavy renovation of our garden, which involved digging and hoeing a lot of heavily compacted soil. Let's just say that traditional ab workouts have got nothing on sustained shoveling. Then this fall, when I had been weight lifting for several months and was looking and feeling pretty darn good, I was humbled by the load of Zoo Doo we shoveled into, then out of, the back of a pickup truck. This time it was my shoulders. No injuries, but lots of the kind of pain that says "you got a serious workout."

At first, I thought I might have trouble coming up with six activities (I chose that number because it meant an average of one new activity per month). I ended up needing to cull a few (although I might do them anyway). Here are my winners:

Snowshoeing. I can't cross-country ski without falling on my behind continuously, so I think this winter activity might be more up my alley. I've read that "if you can walk, you can snowshoe." We'll see about that.

Hooping. A woman I watched hoop at an event last month was fit and toned and sleekly muscular. Plus, you can make your own hoops and decorate them with pretty, sparkly tape. A hot bod and DIY possiblities? Sign me up!

Shadowboxing. I use this term because I have no interest in actually sparring with another person. I bought an 80-pound heavy bag a few months ago on sale, and J finally installed it in the basement for me yesterday. I tried out some basic punches and kicks (with two books for guidance on form). Fun, fun, fun.

American Tribal Style bellydance. This is one area where my bellydance education has been lacking. Now that there is an officially certified ATS instructor near my neighborhood, I figure I have no more excuses.

Shovelglove. This set of exercises, created at home by a guy who was itching for a non-gym workout, uses a sledgehammer for weight, working muscles in a way that traditional weightlifting exercises won't. I think working these into my routine will pay off next time I have to unload Zoo Doo.

Kayaking. When I'm walking along the shore of Lake Washington during pleasant weather, I always envy the glide of the kayakers across the water. Plus, I figure it will be a killer arm workout.

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