Hah! You didn’t really think you were going to get away without a blog on exercise during women’s month… did you? (No! Power posing does not count as exercise.)
Whilst smiling and complimenting might exercise your soul (as well as those of other people) and laughing might be great for your belly and face, it is important to stay fit.
Exercising releases those endorphins that make you feel happy and lessen the perception of pain. Apparently it does not matter how long you exercise for to release those hormones – the effect is the same, whether you go for an hour long jog or jog on the spot for ten minutes.
If cycling, jogging or gym is your thing – then great – you don’t have to read any further. However, if you are one of those ladies who groan at the thought of doing some physical activity – then this is for you.
Hula hoop people!
It’s the most awesome activity that the whole family can do.
It strengthens core muscles and improves posture no end, in addition to shaving centimetres off the squidgy bits of body and defining leg muscles.
Kids can happily use the normal hula hoops that you find easily in shops.
But ladies… here’s the good part – you can make your own, extra-large hula hoop, very cheaply!
Toddle off to the local hardware store (or nursery) and buy five metres of 25mm black piping. Yup – the stuff that gets used in the garden or irrigation. At the same time, get a 25mm connector and some insulation tape.
Lay the piping down in the sun for an hour or so to soften it slightly. Then chop off approximately 50cm from either end.
Boil the kettle, pour some boiling water into a mug and quickly dip each end of the piping into the water, then plug them together with the connector whilst the plastic is still soft.
Voila! You have a huge hoop.
You are probably going to look at it and gasp… NO WAYS CAN I USE THAT THING!!
But try it. Go on. Try. You’ll see that hula hooping with an enormous hoop is much easier than one of those small ones.
Taping it up to look pretty is optional. It does make it a little heavier, which is even better for losing weight.
Whilst you are hooping, you can do arm exercises to further tone up.
Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!
Yip – we’re talking about exercise.
It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.
Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.
Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.
Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.
Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.
You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?
It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.
Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.
Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.
Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.
All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.
A year or so ago my daughter, Emma, came to visit. She’d only been here for a day when she started whinging that she was missing her hula hoop.
I rolled my eyes and said we could go trawl the shops and find her a hoop (thinking to myself what kind of nonsense is this – being addicted to hula hooping).
She sighed, then remarked that we would not be buying a hoop – we would be making one.
So off we went to the hardware store and bought all the necessary paraphernalia to make a couple of different hoops. I looked at the roll of five metres of irrigation pipe… how many hoops can you make out of that then – two or three?
Just one – she replied.
Opened my mouth to argue but the look in her beady blue eye told me to shut the hell up as I had no idea what I was talking about.
I was flat out busy organising a conference at the time so took myself off to my office and left the business of hula hoop making to Emma.
When I emerged a few hours later I was amazed to see a circus creature dancing on our lawn.
The general misconception is that hula hooping is for kids. You see those little hoops for sale in the stores and don’t even give them a second glance. Yet there was my child (okay, she’s 25 but she’s a tiny skinny little thing) rocking this enormous hoop – taller than she was.
Doing tricks nogal!
I watched in amazement. She was so good at it. Flipping that huge hoop around and about. So graceful.
Here, she said. Have a go.
It looked so easy.
I grabbed the hoop and waggled madly. It plummeted to the earth. I tried again. And again… and again.
Hmmm… handed the hoop back to Emma – hula hooping is not for me.
Don’t be a wuz Mom, the nasty little weasel scoffed. She took the hoop and demonstrated where my feet should be and how I should stand up straight, shoulders down, tummy tucked in tight.
I had another go. Then stomped back up to my office in disgust. Next morning I noticed there were bruises on my ribs. I was horrified but according to Emma this was perfectly normal.
It took me two weeks to get that wretched hoop to stay around my middle. And there was none of the graceful hands thing either – rigid dinosaur paws more like it.
Gradually I relaxed and let it flow. Fudgie (the dog) and Ralph (the cat) could stand under the hoop without getting clonked on the head every few seconds. (They consider this a new form of play.)
One day I hauled out a skirt that had gone from being loose and comfy to a tad on the tight side. Zipped it up and immediately noticed that the squidgy bits of body that used to hang over the sides of the skirt had considerably diminished. In fact, it looked halfway decent again.
Realised that I must have sneakily lost a centimetre or two.
I’m not a gym person – have never set foot in one and don’t plan to either. Can’t do yoga because Fudge thinks I’m playing with her and running would surely make my heart attack me. I like walking – but not uphill. The best exercise I’ve come across to date is rebounding – or jumping on my mini-trampoline. That’s great for building leg muscle and toning your butt!
I was totally delighted. Just when I’d resigned myself to being 52 years old and taking up more space in the world than I’d ever done before – here was a magical way of doing something about it.
In my own yard and in my own time!
And let’s be honest – it’s not like I’d been doing it all day every day either – maybe 10 minutes a day in several small sessions.
Emma smirked. See – hula hooping is not just for kids. It’s great exercise.
Gave her the evil eye – right – now show me how to make these flabby arms not-so-flabby in time for the conference.
She gulped – the conference was less than two weeks away. She demonstrated some arm crunches and stretches. Three sets of those – three times a day. Get going Mom!
My eyes lit up – I envisaged going to the conference with nice firm, brown arms – you can’t help but get tanned whilst hooping outside. (Of course it rained almost the whole conference and my half-toned, tanned arms never even saw the light of day.)
Emma was here for two months. In that time I shaped up – lost a couple of kilos plus a good couple of centimetre’s around my middle and upper body. My arms look better than they have done in years my back has those nice muscly bits. I have improved my posture no end.
Last year our dog was sick and I had to lug all 29kg’s of Fattie Fudges up the stairs to my office – I could do it – thanks to hula hooping and strengthening my core muscles.
I now hula around the grass each day. It’s a great way to relax, have fun and keep in shape at the same time.
And it’s not just for ladies either – Chris, my husband, is also busy mastering the art.
The big hoops are great for toning up and losing centimetres – but if you want to lose more weight the smaller hoops are better – because you expend more energy keeping it up. However, the kids hoops that you buy in the shops are good for doing tricks, but are too light for weight loss – you need a heavier larger hoop.
It’s really easy to make your own hoop too! Not expensive either.
I even managed to sneak into the South African Book Fair by promising to read Sibo in Space while hula hooping in my giant space ship.
If you want the hoop making receipe… email squigglez(at)telkomsa.net and I’ll tell you how .
If you are writing matric – then this is probably too late for you – but for the rest of us, it might help.
Do some exercise before you write you exam – according to scientists, exercise boosts brain and memory power. They reckon 20 minutes of exercise before you write your exam can help a lot – try hula hooping!
If you read something out loud (okay – don’t try this in the library where you are supposed to be quiet) you are 50% more likely to remember it, than if you read it quietly to yourself.
One of the best ways to make sure that you have learned and understood something – is to explain it to somebody else. Ask one of your parental agents, a sibling or a friend to hear you out.
Create mental connections – Steve Jobs famously said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something”. Worth a try hey?
Draw diagrams to help you see the information. This creates a visual memory in your mind – which is easier to remember than just words.
Make yourself flash cards for a quick memory buzz. Then you can quickly test your knowledge of key concepts, definitions, quotes and formulas using these flashcards. You can look at them when you wake up in the morning – or while you eat your breakfast.
Take short study breaks. After 45-50 minutes – take a 10 minute break. If you study for longer than this your focus is diminished.
Strangely or not – they recommend changing the places where you study. Don’t always sit at your desk or the dining room table. Sometimes you will learn more if you go and sit under a tree outside!
Do not stay up all night before an exam studying. Getting a good night’s sleep will reinforce all the stuff you have learnt during the day.
Study in a group. This can help you gain extra knowledge or insights.
Reward yourself for studying with a treat. For every so many pages you read (out loud) you can allocate yourself one smartie (because… you are becoming a smartie pants of course!).
Good luck in the exams!
Cool career of the week: chemistry teacher
A chemistry teacher can inspire students to explore chemistry by challenging them to create an effective, eco-friendly cleaning solution.
Many people would not really have known about the EcoMobility World Festival which is currently running in Sandton for the month of October if the catastrophe of the pedestrian bridge collapsing had not occurred. That’s so very sad and my heart goes out to the family of those people who lost their lives and were injured.
The whole point of this festival is supposed to underline the fact that the Sandton area has simply become too congested. There’s not enough parking, too many cars are making the roads just nasty.
So certain roads have been closed down for the month and people have been encouraged to use public transport – like buses and the Gautrain. People have also been encouraged to ride to work on bicycles and indulge in a bit of exercise and walk or run to work or the shops.
Of course, you can imagine that there was lots of chaos the first few days. In fact, some people are still complaining. Others are having fun and enjoying the opportunity to be able to cycle easily around the place.
Tucked away in a little nookie – a spot run by @ColouredCube, is a pop-up museum that brings to life “Our History of Transport”.
If you come on the Gautrain, at the top of the stairs (after the turnstiles) you turn left into West Street, follow the green stop signs and look for the white tent entrance on the left. Go passed the test track through a gate to the little grey building that says “Our History of Transport”.
This is uniquely activated as an interactive multi-sensory exhibition – the transit time-line traverses key turning points in our history, examines our current situation and shares exciting news about future transport possibilities.
It’s a moving exhibition and includes cool stuff like life-size vehicles, audio visual materials, storytelling and game playing. This means… it’s something for everybody!
My friend Ginny is going to be reading Sibo Likes Life in that very spot on Saturday 24th October whilst she hula hoops using a huge hoop. She has the 15h30 story telling slot, but this particular expo is open from 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends with guided tours at 10h30, 14h30 and 16h30.
If you want to find out more information you could call 082 4503356.
Don’t know if you’ve heard this, but they say that we use more of our brains when we are sleeping than we do when we watch television.
Eish! That’s a scary thought. We all know how much kids like to watch television. We’d probably sit and watch it all day if we got half a chance. My mum is quite strict. I’m only allowed to watch TV for an hour every day. So I have to pick my programmes carefully.
Often our parental agents tell us to go outside and run around. Like we were dogs or something?
Of course, if you have dog – you should go outside and spend time playing with it – throwing sticks or a ball, or taking it for a walk. I hope that your dog is allowed inside too – those people who think that dogs should be left outside, no matter what the weather, make me very sad. I don’t even want to even imagine how the poor dogs feel.
Sometimes people forget – they have lots of things to do, TV’s to watch, jobs or school to go to, families to talk to… but a dogs’ whole life revolves around his owner. Dogs are family too. Sadly, people tend to forget this.
Back to exercise… I got a hula hoop for a present and I’m having such fun with it – I don’t even mind when mum tells me to go outside and get some exercise. Some of my friends also have hula hoops – and so we all play in the garden together. We put some music on and have great fun.
To begin with it was quite hard to keep the hoop spinning around my waist – but I’ve got the hang of it now. It’s actually quite easy. I googled hula hooping and I see that there are some sites where you can learn cool tricks.
I think that my mum might quite like to do it too. I read that it’s great exercise. And you know how mums are – always trying to lose weight. Only thing is – she needs a bigger hoop than the one that I have.
Luckily my friend Ginny knows how to make these hoops. If you want to know you can contact her.
Cool word for the week: Dank
Meaning: Unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly.
Example: I feel sad because the poor dog across the street has to sleep in a dank shed and is never allowed inside.