Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Exercise Advice for Fellow Princesses

I've done a good amount of discussing body image lately, as has the entire lolita blogosphere, and I think I've beat the mental side to a pulp by now. While I'll always have more to talk about as far as the evils of society goes, for now I'm going to turn to the lighter side: ways to get healthy.

Whether you're overweight or underweight or average in your body type, most of us could probably use a little push in the fitness depratment - at least, I know I always can. Even if your weight is healthily maintained through metabolism alone (you're one of those girls who can eat an entire pack of Oreos in one sitting with no regret, aren't you!), it's still important to exercise and eat right, and here's why. Getting your blood pumping improves general health by improving bone density, sleep quality, and reducing your risk of heart disease, as well as improving your mood and relaxing you; eating right will increase your life span and lower your risk of obesity and other conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. It's very important to view exercise as a way of loving your body and doing what's right for it, with weight loss being a happy side effect - if it happens, it happens, but even if it doesn't, it's improtant to remember that it's a nessecary part of a healthy life. That's the reason I find people who give up after two weeks and no visible results to be failed attempts - not because the participants gave up, but because they gave up for the wrong reasons. If you feel like you're gaining asbolutely nothing from your workout, there's no shame in giving up and finding one that's more suited to you. If you find the right activities, getting healthy can be a lot of fun instead of a chore - which I found very surprising!

I've never liked exercise. A slew of physical problems has always made it more uncomfortable for me than for most people, and not gonna lie, I'm also pretty lazy. I've never been the type to go the gym or go jogging, because it's too high-impact and, let's face it, boring to keep my attention long enough for it to work. I've always been on the lookout for more interesting ways to get moving, and since I'm a goddamn princess I needed any workout routine I do to be low-impact, quaint, and moderately lacking in the sweat department. Here are my solutions:

  • Hooping: Hooping will always be my number one workout. It's low-impact, interesting, and you probably won't break a sweat with it unless you're getting really crazy. That's part of the fun: it's entirely customizable. You can just stand in front of the TV with it revolving around your waist, or for a little more of a workout you can use it on your arms by rolling it over the back of your hand with your arm held out to the side or in front of you. There's also a crazy amount of creative leeway, in that there are hundreds of different tricks you can learn. My favorites are using it on my hips or thighs instead of waist, over my head with my hands (this move being aptly called the Halo or Lasso) while alternating between my right and left hands, passing it from hand to hand in front of my midsection and around my back in a circle, and the aptly named "booty bump," which I don't think needs much explanation. If you're planning on working out your torso with a hoop, leave the poof aside for now and go for a tanktop and shorts - Victoria Suzanne pointed out to me and I agree that the less clothing you're wearing, the easier hooping seems to be. As far as effectiveness goes, I'm famous among my friends for swearing up and down that I saw improvements in my waist after only ten minutes of hooping (dammit, I did!), but hooping is really great for working out your torso and legs just by using it around your waist, and it's really easy to target specific areas, too - just hoop with them!

  • Dance: Of course - this one should be obvious. I danced for a good portion of my life and my entire childhood, and it was only because of skeletal problems that I stopped at all - it was too hard on my knees and hips, and I have bad genetics as far as joint pain go which weren't helped by an accident as a child. However, I know plenty of people who've had amazing results with ballet, jazz, or tap. It not only works your muscles, it is varied on levels on intensity, so you can take a beginnger level ballet class once a week or turn to dance-themed exercise programs a few minutes a day (I know a lot people who've had great success with both). Not interested in your standard regime? Try ballroom dancing, or if you're feeling exotic, bellydance is a fun but very challenging alternative. Similarly, gymnasitcs or tumbling are also wonderful if you can find a really good class/studio.

  • Video games: I know, I know, video games are villainized as contributing to the obesity epidemic here in America (which I don't argue with at all) - however, for years companies have been trying to get gamers up and moving, with varied results. While games like those offered on Wii Fit are criticized as being repetitive and boring, the ultimate and first fitness game I've seen is and always will be Dance Dance Revolution. It's so effective and fun, in fact, that there are schools in America (specifically in West Virginia schools; Caltech also supports it, even counting it as a PE alternative) and Norway it's even been registered as an official sport! I know family members who've used DDR to substitute a more structured exercise regime and have lost eight to ten pounds after a month with no over changes to their activity levels and diets. Wikipedia even says that people have purportedly lost a max of 85-150+ pounds! It's also fun, satisfying, and competitive, which is something that all weight loss regimes strive for.

There are really so many fun, captivating ways to exercise - just get creative and you'll realize there's really a lot more to it than lifting weights or doing crunches - clearly evident from the length of this post, and these are just the things that I myself have found to work! After writing this, I think I'll talk about ways to lolify your healthy food selections in another post.

So, girls, what do you do to keep in shape?

(image care of we heart it)


  1. I agree with all the above, particularly nintendo videogames.
    I always loved Pokemon when I was a kid and as a present for myself for my first year of college, I bought the Heart Gold version, which comes with a pokewalker.
    For those that don't know, you can put a pokemon from your game onto the pokewalker, and your pokemon can be raised levels and gain happiness the more you walk with it.
    It is basically a pedometer with a cute little pokemon in it! I carry it with me everywhere.
    Walking is some of the best exercise if you hate exercising. :) Aiming to walk at least 6000 steps a day is always good. A mile averages to about 2000 steps, and an active lifestyle is usually about 10,000.
    My only advice: Get good walking shoes.

  2. A really helpful post! I'm really quite lazy and i have been telling myself that i need to do some exersise but it all seems rater boring...But i shall try all of these that you have sugested!

  3. i love going to the gym and playing ddr to keep me fit and hula hooping is so fun i love doing that all the time too :3

  4. This post was really helpful! I've been wanting to try ballroom dancing and this fall I'll probably take modern dance at my community college, but I'll have to try hooping too. I can sympathize with how hard/boring exercise is made by physical problems and a preference for non-active activities. I stopped ballet a while ago, partly because of my tendency to get tendon injuries. Anyway, thanks again! ^^

  5. I never thought of using a hula hoop. It's been so long though, haha. But goodness, I wish I could still play DDR. I've lost my dancepad and can't play at home anymore...

  6. I have a belly dance workout video set, 4 half hour workouts so I can switch it up to keep from getting bored! And my SO doesn't mind watching ^_~

    I used to DDR pretty hardcore & compete a few years ago, but stopped when college pulled most of my friends away from it. I met my SO through DDR, actually! But fair warning: Lots of DDR (2+ hours 3-4 times per week) makes your thigh muscles pretty huge.

  7. Haha DDR was my first real exercise method back in the day!

    I really started ramping up my activity level this winter. I now love biking, running, swimming and hot yoga! (It's paid off too, I've lost 17 pounds and feel better than ever).

  8. I... I didn't know DDR was an official sport in Norway! *is Norwegian* That's awesome!! XD

    Personally I don't do much at all to keep fit. Except taking an occational walk once in a while. But I do have DDR on my PS2 so I definatly should bring that dance math out more often. XD

  9. This one hit me-I too, always mean to exercise but am too lazy or give up for the wrong reasons (mostly..."I should exercise...but let me just finish this ONE youtube video..." you can probably guess what happens. As a child, I never really did anything, mostly because we moved a lot-and we still do, I will soon be moving for the 3rd time in as many years- but I just never got off my butt and did anything.

    I want to do belly dancing and ballet, so I'm hoping to find a beginners class for the latter, and actually hook up the VHS player and put in some at-home videos for the former. I'd also like to try exercise, like yoga and ice skating, for non-dance things and a good mix of things I can do both at home and somewhere else (because, if you are there, you actually have to do something)

  10. I'm equally lazy, but when exercise I do pilates. Its mainly stretches and core development, but its relaxing which is something I need after a hectic day.

  11. Hi I gave you blog an award here
    Have a nice day!

  12. YES! HOOPING! That's exactly what I do. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one. And I love it ^_^

    I also use it as a jumprope sometimes when i'm bored of hooping.

  13. I dance like a maniac. XD
    I love it. It's the the most fun way to excercise in my opinion. I also run around my neighborhood semi-frequently and try to remember to do 50 sit-ups every night.

    I never thought of hooping for an excercise. I might have to try that out!

  14. I would like to add that I definitely recommend dance. I do ballet and jazz, and used to do tap. I do on average 4 hours a week of dance during term-time, but during the holidays(like now) my lessons aren't running. I see a noticeable difference in my fitness and weight by then end of even a 2 week break from dance (and it's 8 weeks off for summer now, not good). I need to exercise more other than dance for this reason, but it does show how much help dancing can be :)

  15. DDR is amazing, I love it! :D I started playing it regularly around the beginning of spring, and it's just a really addictive game. I've also lost 20 pounds since I started playing it, so evidently it's effective as well. ;D



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