Tag Archives: fun exercise

I’m bringing sexy (or something like it) back

Like a lot of people I am less active in winter. I don’t belong to a gym – never have – so this means I have to find ways to keep moving, to keep exercising, usually outdoors. Long walks, bike rides and so on, suffice, but geez-o-flip, it’s COLD and WINDY and UNPLEASANT outside. Plus, it’s BORING out, nothing much to see. There are so many more interesting things to look at in nice weather, flowers and birds and people doing stuff.

I’m not sure why a mini trampoline or “rebounder” caught my eye on Amazon last month. Was I looking at hand weights and saw one advertised? I don’t know now. I didn’t understand them, let’s start there. A rebounder?? What was that? I’d never been on a trampoline, not in childhood, not as an adult. I’m pretty sure my parents would have considered trampolines dangerous and I never had the opportunity to bounce on one anywhere else, be it school or at a friend’s house.

I liked the idea of JUMPING just fine. What kid doesn’t have a go at jumping up and down on their bed until they get yelled at to stop?

As I am wont to do, I started reading customer reviews and doing research about the benefits of using a mini trampoline. There are even videos. Some people take “rebounding” VERY SERIOUSLY. I liked what I saw. Trampolines are considered easy on the joints, suitable for any age, and give a good aerobic workout, plus some other high-falutin’ claims about cleaning out your lymphatic system that you can surely read about if you decide to look into it yourself.

I don’t have room for exercise equipment beyond hand weights and pushup bars. There’s nowhere for a treadmill or rowing machine. Unless I got rid of my bed. Or the couch. Or the refrigerator. At just 3 feet across, the mini trampoline appealed for its “low profile.” I know all too well if you store something like this (as opposed to say, a chocolate cake or a massage chair) away where it’s inconvenient, it’s out of sight and  out of mind.

There are two types of mini trampolines, one with metal springs and another with bands. I opted to go with one with bands because it cost less and apparently ones with springs are noisy (and I want to be considerate of neighbors, even when they aren’t considerate of me AHEM). My thinking was if I spent around $20 on a low-end Stamina model and found I liked it, I could always upgrade down the line.

Balance is one of the things that begin to decline in middle age. I truly didn’t know how I’d be at jumping. One suggestion online was that you needn’t even have your feet leave the trampoline surface; you could just move in place and get some benefit. Some of the models come with “balance bars” that you can hang onto while jumping. I figured even if I wasn’t comfortable really jumping, any movement would be better than nothing.

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When I first tried my trampoline, I was tentative, afraid of falling through it even though I don’t weigh much. I told myself that even if it broke it probably wouldn’t break all at once and send me flying onto my face on the floor but in stages that I’d notice. The next day, when I put the radio on, and Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” came on the radio, I had gotten over my tentativeness. I was jumping baby! Hop, hop, hop. It felt good. I was bustin’ some moves. Justin and I were bringing sexy back. “Them other boys don’t know how to act. YEAH!”

Is it fun? Yeah, yeah, it is, certainly as compared to other exercises. It’s suggested that you start with short intervals, gradually increasing your time. At this point I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and jump away. I mix it up, sometimes jumping up and down, sometimes running in place, or maybe doing little side steps. There are exercises online but I haven’t found the need to look them up yet. Right now, I know I’m getting an aerobic workout and doing something good for myself.

Finding a place to stow in when not in use was a challenge but I came up with this. I moved the couch/love seat out from the wall, leaving just enough room for the trampoline. The slight rearrangement made the living room seating area cozier and more intimate too. Who knew?

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I want to share one more winter thing I do each year to help make sure I don’t let my fitness levels slide too far off. A couple times a winter I try on my “keep me honest shorts” to make sure I can still get into them. It’s a lot easier to STAY in shape over winter than to try to get back there on the first nice day in spring when you want to wear shorts!

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Can’t hide in these “keep me honest shorts”

I bought a toy (or is it a game?)

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There’s a very cool local “online yard sale.” People post photos, descriptions and prices of things they’re selling. The items stay listed till sold or the seller deletes them. This new (unused), regulation 18″ size dart board with 6 darts for $10 caught my attention. Which is not to say I’m a darts aficionado. We had a toy board when I was a kid and somewhere along the way, I must have played a time or two as an adult. But never regularly and not in a very long time. I’m not sure why it suddenly appealed to me, except I want more fun damnit! Not to mention I am always on the lookout for exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. This would use arm muscles, right? Plus walking back & forth to retrieve darts.

Still, I’m a frugal sort and my spending philosophy of late is that I’d rather spend money on food treats – like pesto, artichoke spread, dates, and kalamata olives – than more stuff. Lucky for me, the seller dropped the price to a tidy $5 and I pounced. The way it works is buyer and seller arrange a meeting time at a public spot for the exchange. I was surprised by how heavy the board was. I had googled it and knew it was a low-end brand (another reason not to spend much). The way I’ve started to look at this sort of thing, i.e., purchases, is to buy an inexpensive or moderately priced whatever first; then if you love it and use it, upgrade later when you’re sure it’s worth it to you.

Did you know the regulation height for hanging a dart board is 5’8″ from the floor to the bullseye? Or that the distance to stand away is 7’9.5“? Yes indeedy. I’ve been practicing outdoors to start (I pictured any number of misfortunes indoors) and while my measurements aren’t exact, they are close enough. I looked at the instructions for a game and they seemed complicated and involved math, so since it’s just me learning how to throw for the time being, I made my own goal. Which is to get all 6 darts inside the interior red/green ring on one “turn.” Um, this is not easy. I did accomplish it the first time I set up the board, which is the picture above. (The many holes – this board was unused – show some idea how many tries it took me.)

I have, or have had a tendency to overwhelm myself with too much information when learning something new. (It was an exciting, new day in my world when I read only ONE online article on blogging when I started this one.) So I decided not to read anything and just start throwing darts. I think at first I was tossing too much like throwing a baseball (not that I can actually throw a baseball, mind you, but how I’ve seen other people do it), with too much overhead wind-up. Then I experimented with easy, light throws and harder, more aggressive ones (for some reason I was picturing Odd Job in the James Bond film as inspiration).

There is a real satisfaction in throwing darts. Who knew? I like it! The darts make a pleasing sound thwack when they sink into the board too. I had an idea I might have aptitude for this skill and I like competing against myself (that’s been true always; I recoil from the phrase team sports). Should I ever consistently get all 6 darts inside that interior red/green ring, I have other goals/ideas in mind, but for now there’s no threat of achieving the first one. I am improving, however. Here’s yesterday’s best throw:
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I’m trying to get all six darts in tighter, closer to the bullseye. However, the closer the darts get to the center, the more likely they are to hit metal (or whatever the silver dividers are) and ricochet off and fall on the ground. I don’t know if that’s always an issue; I’ll have to look at higher-end boards to see. It hardly seems fair for the darts to ricochet off when you’re so close! It’s like a cruel booby-trap. Despite this, I’ve managed a total of 5 bullseyes with deft marksmanship; yeah SURE. They were all accidents in dozens of throws. One other problematic issue is the tendency of the (cheap?) darts to unscrew and loosen during play. Maybe a little glue is in order…

I puzzled over the flags but maybe those were the only 3 colors they had?

I puzzled over the flags but maybe those were the only 3 colors they had?