Five For Fitness
By Martha Barksdale
“This will be the year I get in shape.”
That’s probably the most common new year’s resolution, and perhaps the one that’s most quickly cast aside as the resolve of the new year melts away into the daily routine of life.
But 2010 can be the year you begin a fitness regimen. Just choose something you enjoy, make a commitment and keep it up, say several of your fellow Intown residents, who once weren’t so buff themselves.
A willingness to try new things is what got Dean Rau into yoga 15 years ago, and the benefits he gets from its practice has kept the fit retiree involved even now at age 74.
“I used to do a lot of 10K running and one of my running friends told me he attended his wife’s yoga class and enjoyed it,” Rau said. “At the time my wife was taking yoga classes from Kathleen Pringle and to her surprise, I said I would like to also attend.”
Things didn’t go so well at first. “In the beginning I felt and looked like a real klutz, said Rau, but gradually the stiffness went away and he began noticing the benefits in terms of feeling better and having more energy. Still, he wasn’t convinced. “After about six months I told Kathleen as soon as I can do a handstand, I will probably stop attending her classes. Shortly after, I learned how to do a handstand. It felt so exhilarating that I have become a yoga convert and have been attending classes ever since.”
Heather Wright turned to exercise five years ago as a way to cope with ongoing health issues and a stressful job as an attorney with her own civil litigation and corporate law practice, The Wright Firm. She began twice-weekly kickboxing classes at Atlanta Kick, a local kickboxing and karate school.
“Initially, the classes were very difficult, but the stress relief was addictive. After a long day of dealing with disputes and stressful legal situations, hitting a heavy bag was a great release, and I quickly started noticing a few new muscles,” Wright said.
In April of 2005, she started taking karate at Atlanta Kick. “I attend class three to four times weekly and truly enjoy the benefit to my physical and mental well-being.”
Her advice to anyone with a fitness resolution for 2010: “Pick something interesting and get started. The battle for me after losing fitness for medical reasons was truly just getting started, but the great thing about our bodies is that they adapt pretty quickly, especially to things that make us feel better. Find something that excites you, push through the first few weeks, even if they are difficult, and you will see results that will further motivate you. Who knows, maybe you will end up a black belt.”
Physical fitness has always been part of Melissa Jones’s life. She previously taught step aerobics and studied African dance, but a longing for something new led her to try hot yoga. She said she attended classes at a few studios before deciding to join Decatur Yoga and Pilates.
“To keep fit, I usually take four to five yoga classes each week and include physical activity in my daily routine by taking the stairs and walking during breaks at work and practicing t’ai chi,” she says.
Jones says you don’t have to have a programmed strategy to stay in shape – simply move more and do what you love, whether its dancing, gardening, walking, martial arts or skating. “The goal is to have fun!”
“If it involves a score and teammates, and preferably something for me to chase down, I’m in,” said Kim Dalimonte about the combination of competition and fellowship that got her hooked on volleyball.
“Apart from the rush of anticipating a play, digging an offensive attack and hitting the ball out of the defender’s reach, volleyball is a great workout that includes camaraderie and social interaction,” she said.
Dalimonte has played volleyball at John Howell Park for the last 10 years, adding “I also get to catch up with friends, enjoy the fresh air and even walk away with a suntan!”
She echoed the advice of others when she says your fitness plan must be active, but it won’t succeed unless you find something you really enjoy. “Even though it can easily be all about friendly competition and running down that ball that nobody thinks you can get, remember to incorporate strengthening and conditioning drills, too,” she advised.
Jason Crosby, 38, has been a recreational cyclist most of his life, competing in regional road cycling and mountain bike events for the past 12 years. He is a member of the Quantum Mechanics/Atlanta Pro Bicycles Racing Team.
A busy guy who juggles two jobs along with his family life, Crosby lives in East Atlanta Village with his wife, Amy, and 15-month-old son, Max. He said cycling has been the number one factor in keeping him fit and feeling good in his adult life. “I enjoy the speed of the road and Atlanta offers some great road cycling routes which are all accessible right from my front door,” Crosby noted. He also points out the social aspect of riding with a group and racing with his teammates.
He tells anyone who wants to start a fitness program to be consistent, but don’t overdo it. “You don’t have to work out every day,” he said. “In fact, your body needs time to recover between workouts.” Crosby also said mixing up your activities keeps things exciting. “Cycling has been great for that as there are several disciplines to choose from including mountain biking/trail riding, cyclocross, road racing and triathlon,” he said. In the off season, he throws in some running and weights. “The key is to have fun in order to maintain a long-term active lifestyle.”