What form of exercise should I try?
June 9, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm bored with the treadmill and want a new form of exercise. What would you recommend? I'm 42 and healthy. I hate yoga.

I don't like swimming, tai chi, or running. I have exercise-induced asthma. My depth perception is lousy and I flinch when things come near my face.

I live near Seattle, so could be outside most of the year. I'll need to do it during the day while my kids are in school. I like classes or appointments, to keep me going. Co-ed or just women. I don't enjoy competing. In the past I've liked TRX, weight lifting, step aerobics (don't judge me, it was the 1990s), and figure skating.
posted by The corpse in the library to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I hate running and going to the gym, so hula hooping pretty much changed my life. There are tons of great resources online for getting a hoop that fits you and learning how to keep it up (and do tricks!) I can't imagine ever getting bored with it.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:27 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

rock climbing?
posted by srboisvert at 9:28 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by rhapsodie at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only exercise I've ever enjoyed is running and I'm looking to switch things up too - I signed up for Crossfit on-ramp.
posted by pintapicasso at 9:34 AM on June 9, 2013

Why don't you try running on some of the wonderful trails around Seattle? It can be much better than running on a treadmill. Now's the time to start, while the weather is just starting to get nice.
posted by montag2k at 9:35 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I should add: if you can say what it is you like about a particular form of exercise, that would be helpful. Spinning, for example, looks horrible to me, but I know people love it -- what am I missing?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:36 AM on June 9, 2013

I came in to say hooping, because so many people seem crazed for it lately. (I'm not one of them.) Ditto Zumba.

I like to do exercise videos (convenience, privacy). I like combinations of weights and aerobics, boot-camp type videos and also hip-hop dance videos. (Don't judge me, I was a hip young adult in the 90s.)
posted by loveyallaround at 9:40 AM on June 9, 2013

What happened with weight lifting? I've been reading all your requirements and just thinking "weight lifting, obviously!" til I hit the part that you'd already tried it.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:41 AM on June 9, 2013

Crossfit -- I love it for how it uses your whole body, all at once; how it challenges your concepts of your own ability (you think -- I can do that, it looks easy and haha, you can't do it; or alternatively, you think, I can never do 150 wallballs -- and then you DO!); the community / friendship aspect of strangers encouraging you even when they're done with a huge amount of weight and you're barely managing a naked bar; all in all, it's just plain awesome and fun.
posted by mibo at 9:41 AM on June 9, 2013

Also I would NOT recommend crossfit to anyone who hates competing and stuff flying at their face.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:42 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

zoomporhic: the only problem with weight lifting is my lack of self-discipline -- I do better when there's a class or something external to keep me on target. I did well with it when I was in a weightlifting class (which is something I could take again, so it's still an option).
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:48 AM on June 9, 2013

Crossfit, for all of the same reasons mibo suggests. My particular gym is not very competitive, but that can be different depending on where you go. You don't need too much depth perception but you do need to run occasionally. You can learn a lot about weight lifting, skills and mobility in the classes and the community is insanely supportive and fun.
posted by teslacoilswoah at 9:53 AM on June 9, 2013

Does bicycling interest you at all? It's much less stressful to the body than running, and much more fun than spin class.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:55 AM on June 9, 2013

Try some dance classes. Pretty much any serious urban ballet studio has classes for adults.
posted by sammyo at 9:56 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

There are a couple of places you could try stand-up paddling in Seattle. I love stand-up paddling because it's a great all-over work out, you can control the difficulty by setting your own pace and/or basing your trips on weather conditions (more wind=more challenge), it's not competitive unless you are racing, and no one is throwing anything at you. You will get to see places you have been from a totally different angle (Gasworks park looks pretty incredible from the water), and with regular workouts, you will develop great muscle tone, especially in your back, arms, and core. I have rented boards from Urban Surf and Agua Verde. You can also rent them on Greenlake; I haven't used this one, but I bet Greenlake would be a fun place to paddle too. I'd recommend getting a lesson the first time you try it. Urban Surf probably gives lessons, there is also the Northwest Outdoor Center that looks like it has classes.
posted by ezrainch at 10:05 AM on June 9, 2013

Spin class looks boring, but from the inside, when you are doing it, it feels great. I got really into it a while back, and I LOVED it. For me, making exercise fun! and not boring has been to really focus on how my body feels as I exercise.

Focusing on your body, how your legs feel, how your ankles are feeling, how warmed up you are, how different parts of you body feel good and other parts not so good, etc. made spinning a fascinating journey.

Nowadays, I'm doing more and more bicycle riding and as I improve my condition, all my the things I learned in spinning about breathing, keeping your back straight, maintaining a constant rhythym and so on are coming back to me. When I was doing spinning I never really thought about it's relatioship to real life bicycling (duh!).

So, spinning and/or bicycling.
posted by Locochona at 10:06 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just realized that the seven-minute workout that was in the NYT recently (and on the blue) was basically one of those jogging/exercise courses you used to see around parks. They had stations for each exercise set evenly around the park/course, and you would do the posted exercise (it often consisted of a post with instructions) and then jog or sprint to the next one. I've been doing parts and pieces of the seven-minute deal, and would love to find one of those courses nearby—maybe look around your neighborhood for one? Or make a new one?
posted by carsonb at 10:08 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding dance classes, especially ballet. It really works out your legs. Also, you might want to check out pilates classes. Joseph Pilates had asthma, and some of his exercises are designed to alleviate this health issue.
posted by dovesandstones at 10:19 AM on June 9, 2013

See if you can find an adult gymnastics class. I started going to one a few months ago at a community center in my city. It's attended by people of varying ages and skill levels, including people with no prior gymnastics experience. The coaching isn't fantastic, nor is the equipment, but it's enough. Gymnastics training will improve your strength and flexibility, and much of it can be done outside of the gym.

And as I have a lot of experience with CrossFit, I will say that if you lack the ability to motivate yourself to exercise, you can afford the fees, and you luck out and happen upon a gym with competent coaches, it can be a good thing. If not, you're liable to get injured and/or led into some very dubious training and nutritional practices. As with anything, give it a try before you sign up for anything, you'll probably be able to tell whether it's for you.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2013

Pilates. Works your core like nothing else, and helps with coordination and posture, too.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:54 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Rock climbing is mental and physical. I got far stronger climbing for a year than I did doing weights. You can do bouldering (low to the ground with mats) on your own, or top rope with a partner.

It's also very social if you want it to be.
posted by backwards guitar at 11:13 AM on June 9, 2013

If you liked step aerobics, I think you'd really enjoy Zumba (and all of its variations). It's non-competitive, nothing is flying at your face, you can modify moves to accommodate your asthma or your joints, and it's a scheduled class, so self-motivation is balanced by the notion that you can feel like your newfound friends will be expecting you. Basically, it's like going to a dance class without any fear that you won't be able to do the steps, and it's fun. I'd start with searching for the classes nearest you. The only thing I noticed was that in addition to official classes, my parks & rec web site listed a variety of classes that ended up being $3 or $5 per class, so you don't necessarily have to join a gym.

(And now that I've read these answers, I want to start hooping!)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

You might enjoy Indo Row and/or Shock Wave. It's a fun, communual activity. The classes I've taken have been enjoyable, motivational, and welcoming to beginners and people at all levels of fitness. You also get a great workout. It's substantially different from, but complementary to all the other sports activities I do and it's fun to do with friends. And I say this as a person who generally doesn't much like exercise classes and prefers to workout either alone or in a team environment.
posted by skye.dancer at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2013

Why don't you try running on some of the wonderful trails around Seattle?

OP said "don't like running". Although that acknowledged, I do find running outdoors to be a very different experience to running on a treadmill (OMG SO BORING). And running on trails is yet another different thing: you have to concentrate harder on foot placement which makes it more of a mental challenge.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:19 PM on June 9, 2013

Just popped in to nth Crossfit. Been doing it 2 years now, so pleased with it.
posted by prentiz at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are Les Mills classes a thing on the west coast of America?

I'm thinking not, but if so: get thee to a Body Pump class (free weights and cardio combined). it changed my life.

(FTR, I loathe things flying at my face and am completely uncoordinated, but I've been doing Pump 3-4x per week for over a year, and love, love, love it.)
posted by Salamander at 5:00 PM on June 9, 2013

I have found recently that I enjoy my outdoor walking *so much more* when I find new places to go, every day. I use g-map pedometer and find neighborhoods in my area that new to me. I love looking at the way people landscape their yards or paint their houses. I try to go two miles every day, unless I'm Contra Dancing, which is the most fun ever and will make you sweat buckets.
posted by jvilter at 5:47 PM on June 9, 2013

Another for CrossFit here.

One thing I will say is be careful when you choose a gym. Seriously, shop around because there are some terrible terrible places where the coaches are terrible. Because you will be doing weights, it's really easy for you to hurt yourself if you don't have good coaches teaching!
posted by astapasta24 at 7:52 PM on June 9, 2013

If you need external motivation for your weightlifting, you could sign up for one of the 6-week challenges at Nerd Fitness. If you liked step aerobics, you'd probably like Zumba, which you can do either in person or at home with Zumba for the Wii (good when you're first getting started to help you learn the movements).

I'm another hooping fan; it's a stealth exercise, because while you're having fun hooping, you're also burning calories. Twirling a 2-pound hoop over your head or off your body is a stealth weight workout as well.
posted by mogget at 8:39 PM on June 9, 2013

Fitbit + podcasts + walking.. a winner!
posted by cowmix at 8:59 PM on June 9, 2013

Three things that I am a huge advocate of:

-Kettlebells. RKC style, or traditional Girevoy Sport (you don't have to compete) style. Either is good. Other than that, there is a lot of crap out there. Even though I prefer GS, I would start with the book/DVD "Enter the Kettlebell". Kettlebells are good for gaining/maintaining a basic level of strength, though they will not get you really strong or gain much muscle. But they are awesome for high intensity cardio and strength-endurance conditioning.

-Nordic Walking. Basically it's cross-country skiing on concrete with running shoes. This hasn't taken off in the US really, and I'm not sure why. When I was forced to quit running, I thought I would never find a workout as good as running. Now I feel like this is much better. It's as good or better than any other aerobic exercise that you can do, and all you need is a pair of athletic shoes, a $80-150 set of walking poles, and (preferably) a heart rate monitor. And it requires very little instruction. And you get to be outside. It's essentially, like an outside elliptical machine (nevermind elliptigo).

-DDP yoga (formerly called YRG). I know you said you hate yoga. But this isn't really "yoga." It's restorative calisthenics with some yoga poses. There is no finding your inner peace or anything. I'm not really into that either. Fact is, especially as we get older, mobility is a very important part of fitness. And this is a great and easy mobility program. There are other mobility programs out there that do not involve yoga at all, I just feel like this is the most accessible, so this is what I recommend. If you're adamant about not doing yoga, you could do http://www.mobilitywod.com or Pavel's Super Joints. There's another really good mobility training system out there, called something with a "Z", I can't seem to find it now though, and I haven't used it myself.
posted by robokevin at 5:55 AM on June 10, 2013

« Older Virtual Bullproofing my Life   |   Heavy heart. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.