Aerobics at Home

(This is based on Paige’s comment on the Why Go to the Gym? post.  My reply was getting awfully long, and I thought other folks who read this blog would have good input too. )

[J]ust going outside to walk isn’t an option 8 out of 12 months in the year… Reason being, going outside the heat is so intense that I get far too near passing out for comfort. So I’ve been trying to figure out ways I can get my heartrate up in my apartment, but am kind of struggling.

I’m unable to jump (jump rope or jumping jacks) much due to size (and because the last time I tried it, my downstairs neighbors rushed upstairs to make sure I was still alive… and when they saw I was, expressed concern with the thickness of their roof/my floor and doing jumping jacks on it. =\ ) so other than walking circles in my living room, I’m pretty stuck.

Oh gads.  I’m so sorry.  I had a downstairs neighbor complain about hearing me dancing about 11am one morning.  I said I was exercising and asked if he was a night worker, and he said no.  I think he felt guilty at the thought of telling a fat lady not to exercise!

I tried throwing the radio on and dancing but again we ran into issues with how loud it was with me bouncing around on the roof above the lower-neighbor’s heads. I really hope you have a thought or two… I want to get moving but I’m not really sure how to go about it.

The aerobics things I do at home are:

  • Dance, which you note is a problem for you.
  • My low-impact aerobics tape, which I’m pretty sure is out of print.  To give you an idea of what it does, it has some walking back and forth and side to side, including doing the Charleston, and lots of arm movements while walking.   The downstairs neighbor asked if I was exercising in the second bedroom in the mornings, so he noticed it, but he said it wasn’t as loud as outright dancing.
  • My Pedal Excerciser (mini stationary exercise bike).  I find pedaling with it during Jeopardy to be fine for getting my heart rate up to the aerobic range.  It is small and portable, which is nice, but you have to find a chair that’s comfortable for you to use it with.   Also it doesn’t get as challenging as a full stationary bike — my husband complains that it’s not enough of a workout for him.
  • Housework.  It’s not as steady as the others, but — for me — picking up/putting away / washing windows / washing dishes / dusting / vacuuming / changing beds / etc IS aerobic. It’s also low impact.

I’ve also been known to go to an air-conditioned mall, preferably one that has food options scattered throughout. I walk for 30 minutes, stop for a drink, walk for 30 minutes, repeat. The trouble with this is that the general traffic flow is often too slow for me to get to an aerobic range.   I don’t doubt the activity is good for me, but if I want to get aerobic stuff, then faster is good.   Some malls do have specific early hours for walkers — the pace is quicker then, if it doesn’t conflict with work/school.

14 thoughts on “Aerobics at Home

  1. Thank you very much for this! I think I will look into the “mini-peddler” and see if I can’t find some tapes to work with; my only concern is again the issue with the downstairs neighbors.

    They’re older and don’t mind one whit telling us when they feel we’re being too loud up here… and they do have valid concerns with me bouncing around up there. Our floor/their ceiling really isn’t all THAT thick. I can just imagine going plummeting down through the roof a-la Susan in Desperate Houswives. HEH!

    I try the housework bit as well, but I generally get through it so quickly I barely even break a sweat. Perhaps I can try to work through it faster or something, to try and pick up the pace.

    We’re hopefully going to be moving sometime in the coming 2-3 months, so with some luck our new place will NOT share a bottom floor with anyone, so I may be able to dance and move around a bit more without that worry… though that’s of course no guarantee. Anyway… thank you again for such a quick response and for the suggestions. I’ll go take a peek at amazon on the peddler right now! :)

  2. I’m a big fan of in-home walking DVDs. Leslie Sansone has a bunch of great ones (and, despite the weight-loss related titles, in general health and not weight loss is the focus). I recently started doing Debbie Rocker‘s A.M. and P.M. Walking as a prenatal workout (a bit lower intensity then Leslie Sansone’s), and I’m really enjoying it, as well. Both have workouts that are almost entirely low-impact and where any high-impact parts are optional. It’s certainly not silent, but probably not as noisy as jumping jacks.

    However, as long as you’re exercising at reasonable times of day, I wouldn’t stress too much about bothering the downstairs neighbors with noise. Part of apartment living is realizing that you hear other people sometimes. I had a terrible downstairs neighbor once–and this was probably 10 years ago–who used to bang on the ceiling every time I exercised. I finally went to talk to him, explained that I like to do in-home workouts, and asked him what a good time for me to do it would be. We were able to compromise.

  3. I know everyone pushes “go for a nice walk”.

    I am NOT an enthusiastic walker. When I got started trying to get stronger and get moving, I actually started with lifting dumbbells before I worried about much cardio. What was nice was that it got me stronger enough that walking became easier on me.

    Now, I do go to the pool and swim, but if you’re looking for in home workouts, I’d say to go to your local department store and buy a set of 40 lb. adjustable dumbbells. Unless you’re already freakishly strong for a woman, that’ll keep you going for about a year. You will get stronger and more fit and you don’t have to buy a bunch of expensive equipment or worry about gym fees. 20 minutes every other day on those babies will have you tired for a month, and then feeling like a GOD from then on.

    • I’m not that enthusiastic a walker either. Mostly I walk
      * As a warm-up before lifting weights.
      * Because I think it’s silly to drive everywhere, and the only way to be able to walk a few miles is to do it occasionally.
      * Because it keeps my knee from “backsliding”.

      One of these days I really need to get my butt into the pool!

      I’m going to do a post on weights too. But since the specific question was on aerobics (which may be oversold, but)…

  4. Walking for 20-30 minutes per day, inside OR outside, is actually sufficient exercise to give anyone whatever health benefits can accrue from exercise. No one who is not some kind of competitive athlete needs to worry about getting into any kind of ‘zone’ when moving. And one of those little things you pedal while sitting in a chair should not be likely to bother any neighbors, btw. I do housework, care for, wrestle with, & chase my 4-year-old granddaughter for several hours per day at least 4-5 days of every week. I used to push myself to exercise intensely 3-4 hours daily, & caused more joint damage, progression of arthritis, & just plain wearing out of a body which has been pushed too hard for too long. Now I let myself walk from 20-40 minutes, occasionally some more if the occasion calls for it & feel like it, & I know that I have done enough. Most of those who live a very long life don’t do a lot of regular exercise, & I honestly feel that most fat people in particular, & maybe most especially those who consider themselves part of fat acceptance, feel as if they are honor-bound to exercise as much & as intensely as possible, whether or not it is really necessary or even best for their health.

    In the icy winter months, I walk around a lot inside the house, & usually pace around when I am on the phone. I am too hyper to sit still anyway, & rock in a straight chair, but it isn’t difficult to get enough movement in our lives, certainly not as difficult as many want us to believe. Walking around shopping, taking care of groceries & laundry, things that like, all involve movement. I genuinely believe that we do not need as much movement, in the same way that we don’t need as LITTLE food, as they tell us, & that a lot more people get enough movement in their lives to garner whatever possible health benefits there are than we are led to believe. Study after study has not been able to show any real benefit for more than 30 minutes daily of moderate walking, though I personally have spent a lifetime doing MUCH more. I will continue to walk as long as I can, but if I continue at the rate I HAVE walked, one day soon I will find it very difficult to walk from bedroom to bathroom..partly from aging with cerebral palsy & athritis, but partly from a lifetime of believing that I had something to prove & that there was no such thing as too much exercise.

  5. “Walking for 20-30 minutes per day, inside OR outside, is actually sufficient exercise to give anyone whatever health benefits can accrue from exercise. No one who is not some kind of competitive athlete needs to worry about getting into any kind of ‘zone’ when moving.”

    Just noting that, while this is true, I think it’s important to listen to your body’s cues. I know that I consciously feel the benefits of exercise at about twice this, and at higher pace. Less than that and my body just sort of goes, “OK, now what? So you actually did labwork today instead of bumming on the computer? When are we going to get some EXERCISE?” I also second Noel’s suggestion to do weight training. It is something awesome. Also, bellydance is low impact and you can do a lot while stationary, or at the very least not jumping around. I loves it. And you can do it slower or faster, depending on your focus and fitness level. And bellydance is damn sex-ay.

    • You know, I actually looked into bellydance a few years ago, inspired by an LJ friend who used to take classes, but at the time couldn’t afford any of the tapes / classes or anything and couldn’t find a good free resource for it; the one dvd I did get my hands on ended up being pretty awful and I gave up on it… do you know of any good free or cheaper resources to learn more about it?

      • You may be able to find a class through the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). The SCA is a good source of free or low cost entertainment – if a hobby existed before 1600, and somebody decides to start a “guild”, you can usually attend for the cost of materials.

  6. I actually found (if you are a morning person) that most of the malls open an hour or two before the stores for power walkers to get in and walk without the nuisance of actual shoppers. In fact $Yuppie Mall near where my spouse works does this and I will go after dropping him off if I have the day free. The only thing open there at 7:00 in the morning is the coffee shops.

  7. For movement that’ll raise your heart rate without jostling your joints look into some qigong tapes/classes. I tried tai chi in the past but being the klutz that I am I could never get the foot steps coordinated and would only do the arm movements, but the qigong DVD I bought (rented from NetFlix first to make sure I could do it) is great! My downstairs neighbor doesn’t hear a peep aside from the creaky floorboards and my heart rate goes up nicely (but not quite in target heart rate) and my arms and legs still get a lot of good movement in.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00049QPII/ref=ox_ya_oh_product

    The name is “Qigong for Beginners” and the instructors are Daisy Lee and Francesco Garripolli. There’s a 20 minute basics section followed by 40 minutes with 16 other movements you can pick and choose on any given day.

    Thanks for the link to the foot pedals. I *used to* love the exercise bike, and I just got a used one after being without one for 10 years, and, well, let’s just say “saddle sore” is to good a name for what happened after a 5-mile ride. It’s a good thing I’m done having kids, because it’s been over a week and it’s still sore down there.

  8. Pilates and vinyasa yoga can both be aerobic, depending on fitness level/how advanced the instruction is. If you have Netflix, there’s some instant play stuff on there that’s really nice.

    Swimming is my fav, though.

  9. Pingback: Starter Strength Training Moves « Living ~400lbs

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