We all know it can be a challenge making exercise a priority. There were periods during my 20s and 30s where I was committed to fitness; I had a variable long routine (1 – 1.5 hours) that included swimming and weight training, and I was in the gym 4 – 5 days a week. Unfortunately, I allowed circumstances to derail my efforts…several times, and now I’m starting over again.
When I struggled with my alcohol addiction, (and even into the first year or so of sobriety), my weight was out of control. At 5’5″ I weighed 160 pounds, just shy of a size 14. When I stopped drinking, I craved sugar constantly. (FYI – this is apparently a “known” side effect of alcohol withdrawal – though it was indeed news to me. In essence, I replaced gin with peanut M&Ms, and I wasn’t exercising at all). Over time, the cravings waned, and I dropped to 135, where I remained until last year.
A renewed focus on healthy eating (lots of veggies, fruit, legumes, lean meat, and fish) brought my weight down again. I’m now a size 2, at 115, which is healthy for my height and frame, but not yet ideal. I lost a lot of fat, to be sure, but I lost muscle, too. I feel weak, and I lack stamina.
I want that muscle back.
It’s said that exercise is easier to sustain long-term when we find routines that we enjoy, that provide variety, and which are easy to implement. For me, this means being able to exercise at home with a minimal amount of equipment, and techniques that align with my personal goals.
Because I suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD, exercise that relaxes me and restores my sense of “centeredness” is a must. Getting back into yoga addresses this aspect of my well-being, and supports my goals for improved flexibility and balance – both of which are critical for maintaining mobility as we age.
I’ve always admired the physiques of dancers; the long, graceful lines, effortless poise, and muscle tone that is lean and proportionate from head to toe. While I don’t expect comparable results, I believe that consistent practice can help me achieve a leaner, stronger body. So, in addition to yoga, I’ll be including ballet barre-work in my routine.
So, I’m giving myself a fitness challenge. It takes roughly a month to form a new habit, so consistently doing what I can is the most important thing. The Challenge? My new workout, every-other day for 4 weeks.
- Warm Up: Sun Salutation & Hip Opening Poses (see below)
- Lower Body: Beginner Barre Workout – VerywellFit
- Upper Body: Quick and Dirty
- Cool Down: Hip Opening Poses & Evening/Relaxation Sequence
Are you ready for a new challenge?
- Three-part series on the hips Jason Crandell Yoga Method
- A list of 23 yoga poses for opening the hips, here Yuri Elkiam
Additional ballet/barre resources: