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yoga
So are you one of these people who have to trick their bodies into exercising like I do or are you one of the lucky ones who love it? My sister and friends all laugh at how I try the newest fad in exercise but I say whatever works for you, bring it on! I thought I’d share a few types of exercise I like.

Yoga
I was lucky enough to discover yoga early on and I loved it. I tried many different types and classes and teachers until I found the one that suited me. I still remember getting the leaflet with red butterflies on it through my letterbox and thinking that this would be perfect and it was. It happened to be Hatha, the more gentle yoga [typical, huh?] focusing on strength building exercises and poses. I have been practising for ten years or so – still not as flexible as I’d like to be but I dread to think what I’d be like if I hadn’t found it.

If you’re looking to practice, I’d recommend Open Mind Yoga in Pearse Street if you’re near Dublin City Centre. In recent times, I have branched out to try some new trends in yoga such as Anti-Gravity or Aerial Yoga and Bikram Yoga. Unfortunately neither are for me – the anti-gravity yoga was far too energetic and acrobatic for me but if you like hanging around like a bat and doing backflips then it might be for you. Bikram yoga was far too hot and disciplined but if you like to sweat it all out while trying to contort your body into various shapes then it may be the one for you. Yoga really is for everyone – you just have to keep trying until you find the perfect fit for you.

Pilates
Another exercise I swear by to keep my body operating is pilates. I discovered pilates purely through necessity after having both neck and back problems, my physio recommended it to try and tone or at least locate my core! I still haven’t found it completely but thankfully my neck/back problems have lessened through regular practise. I’d recommend the Pilates Centre in Clontarf. As well as offering mat classes, they offer Reformer [using the machines] and Barre Blitz [a combination of pilates and ballet using the Barre]. I’ve also tried Arc Pilates using a step barrel to ensure proper posing. My favourite has got to be the mat classes but I would recommend trying the Arc or Reformer classes if you haven’t done pilates before to get you into the correct postures and Barre Blitz if you want something at a faster pace that is more of a challenge.

Dance
Another exercise that I love is any form of dance and I’ve tried them all from Salsa to Zumba to Bokwa! It’s like the fun way to exercise. I started off with salsa dancing classes and progressed to trying Salsa Slims with Stepping Out. I then progressed on to Zumba when the Zumba craze started. Having the attention span of a flea, I have now moved on to Bokwa, which is movements based on sign language using numbers and letters. I even dragged a friend to a workshop with the creator of Bokwa, Paul Mavi – she was convinced we were joining a cult! It is definitely lots of fun. My newest fad is Piloxing [not the nicest name, I grant you] – a combination of pilates, dance and boxing. All a great way to work out and highly recommended for the fun way to exercise – get your body moving.

Aqua Aerobics
I’m not a huge fan of the water not being a strong swimmer but aqua aerobics is another low impact exercise routine and good fun. I tried Aqua Zumba over the summer and found it great fun and great exercise.

Trampolining
Lastly, I fell in love with trampolining through Boogie Bounce. It involved bouncing around on a mini trampoline. Unfortunately our instructor, Emma, went to Canada for further fitness training so my Boogie Bouncing days were cut short. I did try Jumpzone, Ireland’s largest trampoline park located in Sandyford Industrial Estate, Rebounding classes. This was more like trampoline bootcamp and is not for the faint-hearted. I almost passed out with shock – it was definitely more cardio than I was used to!

I think once you put exercise to music and do it in a group situation, it is much more enjoyable and the hour flies by. I wonder what exercise fads 2014 will bring but whatever it is you’re sure to find me there! 🙂

zumba


Dublin city centre is filled with fun and at times free things to while away your lunch hour. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Merrion Square – September on the Square
Every Tuesday, there is lunchtime music breaks while every Thursday there is lunchtime talks. To see the full line up of events taking place, click on the following link:
http://merrionsquare.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/MSQ_Sept2012_A4.pdf

2. Irish Film Institute – Archive at lunchtime
The Irish Film Institute moved into its present Temple Bar location in September 1992 and, to celebrate 20 years in that spot, the organisation will be hosting a month of special events. As part of IFI20, they present one outstanding Irish short film from each of the 20 years that the IFI has been open. To see the full listing of films, click on the following link:
http://www.ifi.ie/film/archive-at-lunchtime-ifi20/

3. National Gallery
The National Gallery offers lunchtime lectures or just spend time visiting their latest exhibition. To see a listing of what’s on, click on the following link:
http://www.nationalgallery.ie/whatson

4. National Concert Hall
Sometimes the National Concert Hall offers lunchtime concerts. To see a listing of what’s on, click on the following link:
http://www.nch.ie/Online/default.asp?menu_id=5DA1DC82-C10C-4406-906A-19F7C09BFE51

5. Bewleys Lunchtime Theatre
Bewleys Cafe on Grafton Street puts on a lunchtime show where you can have a bowl of soup while watching a play. Currently showing is Village Wooing by Bernard Shaw. To view their website, click on the following link:
http://www.bewleyscafetheatre.com/

6. The Science Gallery
Visit the award-winning Science Gallery. Their latest exhibition, which runs until 8th September, is ‘Hack the City’ To view their website, click on the following link:
http://sciencegallery.com/

7. Take an Exercise Class
Lunchtime is an ideal time to fit in some exercise. Maybe visit the gym, go for a swim or take an exercise class. If you’re looking for some time out during your stressful work day what about a yoga class. I’d recommend Open Mind Yoga on Pearse Street.


Zumba – Ditch the Work Out Join the Party!
Description: Fitness, Dance and Party Fanatics, Listen Up!

Zumba – The fitness craze that has taken America by storm is holding a special event in The Wright Venue on Saturday 23rd October. One of Europe’s leading Zumba instructors Donna Giffin is flying into our shores and will have you dancing the easy-to-follow moves with a little help from the infectious signature Latin and international rhythms.

Admission is free so bring your friends along to ditch the work out and join the party! Free admission to The Wright Venue that evening for anyone who attends this event! There are 7.5 million Zumba enthusiasts taking Zumba classes every week in more than 60,000 locations in over 105 countries!

Start Time: 5pm to 7pm

For further information, check out Zumba Ireland.

A while ago a friend, let’s call her V, shared a story of the reason why she never returned to an aqua aerobics class in her local pool mainly because it involved partner work and as she put it touching strangers. Oh how we laughed – how bad could it be? Surely she has a deep-seated problem stemming from childhood that needs therapy to be put right. Well I wasn’t laughing on Tuesday night when upon entering my Salsa exercise class, our teacher announced instead of our usual solo sessions where we throw ourselves around the floor with gay abandon, we were to partner up and throw perfectly good strangers around the floor for the hour instead. Okay, I say perfectly good strangers which they technically weren’t considering I had been dancing beside them for four weeks previous but did I want to touch them – hell no!

And to make matters worse, the more we danced the sweatier we became – I shudder now with horror to think back on clasping sweaty palms and sweaty backs. Oh dear lord, an hour seems like forever when it is a tortuous exercise. The teacher gleefully shouted out steps while we all grinned maniacally around the dance floor – perhaps everyone else was having fun! I almost danced right out the door at one point but as we had even numbers I think I would have been spotted and wasn’t particularly sure what excuse I could use. And then to make matters even worse, as the class is 100% women, 50% of us had to switch gender and then she got us to switch around – at that point I think I was suffering from gender confusion. Also one woman howled upon seeing me, “How did you get to be the man – sure you’re tiny?”, I nearly went all ninja on her ass. Then she threw in turns to make us feel even more uncomfortable, not a pretty sight having sweaty women of all shapes and sizes shimmy towards you.

To cut a long story short, I discovered that yes I too have an aversion to touching strangers and will never laugh at V again. In fact, we may get a two for one deal on therapy. Now am sure there are some strangers I wouldn’t be averse to touching but that’s another story altogether!

exercise_sflb
Exercise to me is akin to torture, not to be entered into lightly so I have taken to trying to trick my body into exercising by distracting it with loud music, the promise of treats or by disguising it as fun activities! This has been working nicely so far so good -my body hasn’t yet noticed! My rule is if it hurts well then you shouldn’t be doing it. So last night I took to the pool to throw shapes to ABBA. Yes we might look odd bouncing up and down, fighting with waddles and bumping into each other like badly driven bumper cars but hey it’s a work out.

And part of this new healthier, fitter and hopefully thinner me, so begins the month of abstinence. Yes I am trying to abstain from chocolate, cakes and all sweet things which is hard for a chocolate fiend like me. It is kindda like building a dam, totally unnatural but has to be done to prevent the disaster of flooding! It also does not help working in an office where on a daily basis we get cake to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, mondays. I tend to rely on sweet things to get me through the day so am having to reply on willpower alone. I think though there is a plot against this new healthier, fitter, thinner me – probably led by my evil twin the chocolate fiend. On day one as well as having to contend with birthday cake at work, the aftermath of Halloween ‘trick n treating’ (courtesy of girls in the office – there was even a whole tin of Roses for goodness sake) and a lunchtime table quiz complete with muffin treats, so the chocolate taunting continued into the night. Firstly got paid a visit from a member who brought her dog, a chocolate poodle (who knew they created those tempting creatures) named Rolo and then later that night while settling in to watch the Apprentice, what did their weekly task consist of only the dream job of creating a new dairy milk bar for Cadburys and even the ad breaks were filled with chocolate advertisements! Even my dreams that night were filled with chocolate. It’s a conspiracy but so far I’m resisting. I even refused another cake at tea break – go me! Long may my willpower last.
exercise-cartoon1

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