Zen And The Art Of Lazy Exercise

Image by Jörg Möller-Jöhnk from Pixabay

I have no “exercise regime”. Pre-Covid, I went to yoga twice a week. And to say my class was “low-impact” would be an overstatement. I would just go for effect. The first part of the class was the best: we gossiped for at least 15 minutes. Then we got around to do a little stretching, followed by something physically untaxing, such as conscious walking, then a little controlled breathing and a relaxation exercise. Extra calories burned: nil. I didn’t wear yoga clothes. I didn’t take a yoga mat — just a towel that I laid over the centre’s own mats. And I didn’t wear trainers, because I just had to take them off anyway. I went begrudgingly. I didn’t look forward to it, and I was generally in a bad mood when I arrived and would sit scowling for a while because it was 10 am and I was already tired yet with a long day ahead of me.

Sounds fun, right? #SaidNoOneEver

That, alongside walking a couple of kilometres a day and the odd trip to the pool with my daughter, was my exercise regime.

Then came lockdown. And guess what… I found Jo Wicks, lost 5 kilos and am bursting with energy.

That last sentence was a complete lie.

For a while, the world was getting fit in front of their screens across the globe thanks to our time-out and lockdown exercise gurus. People were posting their newly honed and toned bodies on social media. And, as my nine-year-old daughter says in fabulous English (that she’s learned from YouTubers), “that kind of triggers me”.

So the closest I got to this was doing a little Cosmic Yoga and ganga dancing with my daughter. At one point I may have sat down and scrolled through some fitness videos on YouTube, but that was about it. My main issue is that I don’t like being told what to do, so following someone’s instructions on moving around vigorously is my idea of torture. In fact, even during the guided meditation in my pre-lockdown yoga classes, when the teacher said, “imagine you are on a beach”, my mind replies “no” and just goes to a complete blank (which is the end-game of the meditation, luckily) as a rebellion against being told what to do. As I live and breathe, I am a rebel without a cause. I don’t do it on purpose. I just can’t help myself.

So, back to the exercise, this got me kinda “re-thinking” exercise. And I deconstructed it into several points:

  1. I do exercise to stay in shape (roughly translated to not put on weight and fit my clothes)

I was quite shocked when I realized that number 3 was probably the biggest cause. Like seriously. I thought I had my sh*t together a little more than that. So, given my aforementioned resistance to following any kind of structured exercise regime, I decided to work out what works for me. I’ve always loved the concept of “lazy exercise”, but I’ve never really delved deeply into it. Along comes a lockdown, confinement and… lazy exercise as a completely legit alternative to any structured exercise regime.

I love the fact that gyms and swimming pools were closed for so long. It just completely removed all guilt about not going. Alert: the keyword is in the aforementioned sentence: “guilt”.

We’re all well-aware of the amazing, life-changing benefits of exercise, right? Yet the majority of us don’t spring from our beds in the morning to go out for a healthy run, go to the gym, or hit an early morning hot yoga class.

Why is this?

Here’s a good answer: because we don’t have the energy.

And the fitness gurus all reply: well you would if you DID exercise

I reply: THAT, my fitness friends, is a massive overgeneralization.

So, back to lazy exercise. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Get as much sleep as possible. Take a nap as and when needed. This is essential for me because when I’m exhausted, my body feels terrible. I could get away with a lot more when I was younger, but not now.

I shall die happy if I have never done a spinning class. I’ve seen those things through gym windows and they are my definition of hell: exhaustion, noise, sweat and lots of people in a tight space. It’s Lazy Exercise all the way for me…

Northern English lass living in a cave, over the broom in deepest darkest Spain with 1 swarthy Spaniard, 1 angelic daughter and 1 cheeky chihuahua.