One of the biggest challenges with implementing fitness into your life is doing it in a way that is real and tangible for YOU. I've recently been appointed a Community Health Ambassador for the Have Faith In Healthy Living project run by Toronto's Women's Health In Women's Hands Community Health Centre, and will be running a series of workshops this month on ways to do just that! If you detest the gym like I do, you may be wondering how can you find fun, unique, easily accessible, and cost-effective fitness options. Look no further! Here are some fitness choices that will help you hit your health goals!
I’ve personally found that dance is a full-body workout that is so fun, you don’t even realize how much work your body is doing. Since moving from a small town to a big city, I’ve been able to take part in different forms of diasporic dance such as Afro-Cuban and West African dance - and I’ve loved every minute. The best dance classes are the ones that challenge your body to move and maneuver itself in ways you likely haven’t before; they encourage you to leave your apprehensions at the door; and they give you a bit of context into the history and culture surrounding the art. Whether you’re into salsa, dances of the Orishas, hip hop, or jazz - see what’s in your area and take advantage - or purchase a cost-effective dance DVD like Yendi Phillipps' In The Dance Fitness!
Socacize is a unique workout created by Trinidad-born, Toronto-based Ayanna Lee-Rivears. Combining cardio, weight training, and strength training with dance moves and music from the Caribbean, Socacize’s popularity has exploded thanks to its ability to be a fun yet effective workout. Classes are available in Canada, St. Lucia, and across the U.S. in both 1-hour class and special 2-hour bootcamp class formats. If you like to “wine and tone” to some reggae or get your heart pumping with some soca, Socacize is for you!
If you have a smartphone and/or a laptop, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to get a good workout in! The digital world is filled with a multitude of awesome and free resources to help you get and stay healthy! The NTC Nike Training Club app is one of my favourites - select a carefully curated 15-, 30-, or 45-minute workout, fire up your music playlist, and get to it! NTC is great for a variety of reasons - one, being that each exercise move is timed, so you can pace yourself and do as many as you can in the given time slot. Two, because the app gives you the opportunity to watch a video tutorial of any move you’re unfamiliar with. Three, because you don’t necessarily need to have any workout equipment to feel the burn. Bonus? At the end of each workout, you’re prompted to set a reminder in your phone for the next one!
Another great free site is The Daily HIIT (high-intensity interval training). I’ll admit - I was a bit intimidated when I first visited this site. The rock-hard bodies of the fitness models and online trainers made me feel that maybe I wasn’t ready for it just yet, but I tried it anyways. Surprise, surprise - I was happy to learn that I could keep up a lot better than I expected! Granted, these workouts are quite challenging, and some do advocate for the use of workout equipment like hand weights or kettlebells - but at no more than 12 minutes in length, these workouts are a great way to squeeze in some quick yet challenging exercise into your life.
A bonus free workout that I never considered until recently is mall-walking. Working at the mall during high school, I often saw groups of seniors power walking through the corridors in the early morning before stores opened. It never crossed my mind again, until I became pregnant and everyone said, “Walking is the best exercise!” Being pregnant in the middle of one of the most brutal winters Toronto has seen makes that a bit difficult, so mall-walking popped back up as an option. If you like to walk (or even do a light jog), and want a free, indoor option, check your with your local mall and see if mall-walking is available!
So, there you have it - a few options for getting fitness into your life in fun and nearly free ways! Want to learn more? Join me at one of my two Have Faith In Healthy Living workshops that are open to the public:
March 8th at 1:30-3pm at WHIWH (2 Carlton Street, Toronto)
March 13th at 1-3pm at Malvern Family Resource Centre (1321 Neilson Road, Scarborough)
Workshops are FREE - snacks will be provided - and you'll get to meet other great women in the community! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP!
Post originally published on For Harriet