I’m a fully-paid up member of the “It doesn’t have to hurt” school of fitness. Phrases like, “No pain, no gain,” or “Going beyond the pain barrier”, or “Going for the burn” put me off gyms and “working out” a long time ago. I am most definitely not the sporty type. I tolerated school PE lessons, except when one forward-looking teacher threw in a keep fit, dance or yoga session – at last something I loved – but unfortunately those classes were few and far between.
I did try aerobics in the 80s and again briefly in the 90s, but found it soul-less, impersonal and regimented. I decided I was better off walking and dancing as much as possible and with a couple of dance sessions a week, as well as walking or cycling to work, keeping fit was never a chore and fitted easily into my daily routine.
My philosophy is still that keeping fit – i.e. being sufficiently flexible, mobile and strong to do the things I want and need to do – shouldn’t have to hurt and better still, should be enjoyable. For the last three years I’ve been privileged to teach Nia which gives me the opportunity to help other people to stay fit and flexible in ways that are fun and pain-free. Nia is an amazing blend of martial arts, dance and healing arts that can be adapted to any level of fitness: classes can even be done sitting down (scroll to the end of this post to see how).
One of the Nia mantras is: “Through movement we find health” and it’s true. The human body is designed to move. Moving in ways that don’t hurt or strain the body, mobilises the joints, conditions and tones the muscles and improves circulation and strength. Moving to music that touches the soul and spirit, as we do in a Nia class, is a way of maintaining wellbeing that affects the whole person. Classes are enjoyable and become a social event too. So stop exercising and start moving!
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