During life's most challenging times, exercise has always been my anchor for my physical, mental and spiritual health. When my body pumps and strains to hike those difficult hills in Palos Verdes, my mind reflects on how effort equals strength. This is an incredibly empowering feeling that I've carried over into other areas of my life when difficult situations arise. Each time I climb these difficult hills, I notice progress; progress motivates me to do it again. During life's challenges, I've noticed when I am feeling strong physically, mentally I'm more confident, and somewhere deep inside my soul I am able to carry a quiet inner strength.
As a lifestyle coach, I share with my clients how the mind and conscience work together to create our feelings, and our feelings help us become aware of how a movement or exercise can make us feel in the moment—right now. Noticing that movement and how it feels can be very enlightening. Any creative movement done with the right mental focus can support an overall sense of well being. When we work out regularly, we are much more in tune with our bodies. Exercise benefits our brainpower, improves our moods, helps keep depression away and allows us to develop a deeper connection with our inner spirit. Exercise can help us feel more positive about life and help us create more meaningful relationships with others.
After finishing a yoga session with Michelle Chant, owner of Yogis at Home, I reflected on how yoga, weight training, walking, running and other exercise can offer a new way of embracing exercise—a way of living and moving in our bodies that feels good, natural and effortless. We can see effective results when we choose a type of exercise that is fun and makes us feel good on all levels.
Sadly, some of us do not enjoy working out, so we’re not receiving the maximum benefits that exercise can provide us. Some of us even experience a phase where we are no longer motivated and fall off track. Nevertheless, exercise isn't just for physical health benefits. When we learn to experience the feeling that our body, mind and spirit are one, there is no more resistance. Progress in anything takes believing in yourself, creating an action plan and following with effort.
So if exercise isn't your thing, or you've become bored with the same routine, I suggest trying something new, fun and challenging where you can track your progress. Often when we choose to try a new sport or exercise, we get re-inspired to take the best care of ourselves and to view exercise with all its benefits for the mind, body and soul.
Here are a few ideas to get re-inspired:
- Running, whether it’s on the sand, treadmill, indoor track, outdoor track, hills, parks or beaches. Go solo and enjoy listening to your tunes, or go with a friend or group—keep it mixed-up, fun and interesting. has group runs each week.
- Hiking allows you to meditate and connect with nature, and it can be fun alone, with a group or with a single friend. There are several hiking trails on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
- Walking indoors on a treadmill or outdoors in a park or on the beach can be a low-impact exercise. If you’re on a treadmill, mix up the incline and intensity; if you walk outdoors, try listening to a meditation CD or iPod playlist at the same time.
- Rollerblading or skating gives you time to listen to tunes by yourself or exercise with a friend. The Esplanade in Redondo Beach offers beautiful views along the ocean.
- Yoga has so many different styles, you can try a new one each week! You can take yoga classes through your health club or a Yoga studio in the area. Another option might be to check out a DVD at the to find a style that you connect with best, then buy the DVDs or join a yoga studio that focuses on that particular style.
- Biking outside along the Esplanade. If you must stay inside, set the stationary bike on an interval training session. Spin classes offer a great indoor workout. Gold's Gym offers several spin classes daily.
- Climbing stairs outside at the beach or inside on a stair machine can also give you a workout. Set the stair machine on interval training or choose the fat-burning option to keep things mixed up.
- Pilates are a fairly recent exercise fad. in Redondo Beach offers several Pilates classes. You might also consider checking out a Pilates DVD at the library or signing up with one of the Pilates studios in the South Bay.
- Dancing can consist of a night out with friends or formal lessons. The has offered salsa, line dancing, ballet and jazz classes.
- Create your own workout using body sculpting, static resistance training and strength training in a class, with a private trainer or by applying a mixture of exercises. Learn more exercises by checking out a health and fitness magazines such as South Bay Fit. [Editor’s note: Get personal training tips from our resident .]
- Martial arts or tai chi lessons can be found through local gyms and studios. in Redondo Beach offers martial arts group classes. Often Tai Chi classes are held outdoors in a park or on the beach. Tai Chi Redondo has several class times available.
- Circuit training can be done indoors or outdoors. If you like being outside, try Veterans Park or the beach and use the benches for step-ups, lunges and push-ups; use any of the stairs along the Esplanade to climb. Get creative and have fun! You could even include using a trampoline for rebounding in your backyard, which is really good for the lymphatic system. Use a jump rope in between your sets of push-ups, crunches and lunges.
- Hire a personal trainer to motivate and re-inspire you. Riviera Fitness Club in Redondo Beach has one-on-one, partner or small group fitness training.
- Enjoy your favorite sport or activity—golf with friends, soccer, windsurfing, snow skiing, horseback riding or gardening.
Just considering exercise or trying something new won't be enough to see progress. Ultimately, it is action that will make the difference.
Next on my list is getting back into Pilates. I took action this past week and stopped into a Pilates studio in Manhattan Beach and picked up a class schedule. I am feeling excited about seeing the progress results!