Here on Kaua‘i, it’s not about the stuff!
We are so lucky to be living here, where you can run, walk, swim and play outside all year long. No need for indoor exercise bikes or steppers, we have the trails and the mountains. If that sounds too hazardous, we can walk the path or the beach. If you think that you need to train “scientifically,” get yourself a pedometer and see how many miles you can go. Some of them will calculate calories burnt and all sorts of other wonderful information.
The rates for calories burned from these natural and normal activities may surprise you. Walking at a brisk pace for example at about 3.5 miles per hour burns .035 calories per pound of body weight per minute squared. That means that if you weigh 150 pounds and you walk briskly, for every minute that you walk you will burn a little over 5 calories. If you run, you will burn almost double that at a little over 9 calories per minute. Slow swimming is about the same as walking briskly, and fast swimming is like running in terms of calories burnt.
If you are into rowing, you can triple the calories burnt. If you’re into bike riding and you go fast, you can even quadruple the amount of calories and fat that you use to exercise in the same amount of time.
Canoeing and kayaking are other sports that we can do here on Kaua‘i just about all year long. Again, depending on how hard you go, you can really burn through the calories as you have fun and get some fresh air.
Vigorous dancing burns about 10 calories per minute as well, if you weigh about 150 pounds.
Generally, with all of these activities, if you weigh less, you will burn less, since you don’t have as much body weight to move. Conversely, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.
Now of course some of these activities do require some stuff, but my point is you don’t need a gym, you don’t need to go out and get exercise equipment that is solely for the purpose of exercise, you just need to get out and get moving.
As for resistance training or weight training, using your body’s own weight is a great way to train, and you don’t need anything other than to know what you are doing. Yoga and Pilates make use of body weight resistance training, as do activities like pushups, pull ups, sit-ups, lunges, tricep dips and freestyle squats. If you want to get some weights or resistance tubing for added resistance go ahead, but you don’t need to invest huge sums of money in gym memberships, or in home gym set ups to get what you really need.
Free weights are inexpensive and are usually the best way to go, because you are not limited by the parameters of any machine, you have full range of motion and you use gravity to provide the resistance. The weights, the floor and a chair is a perfect set up. This is natural training. It always makes me sad when someone calls me up to ask me to come over and set them up on a fitness program and they tell me that they have just gone out and bought a room full of equipment, so I can now come teach them how to use it.
Of course, I don’t want to dampen their new-found enthusiasm about exercise, so I show them how to use all of their new toys, but really at the end of the day, it is not about the stuff; it is about moving correctly and knowing what you are trying to accomplish, and how fast, and also knowing what to avoid doing.
One of the big reasons for us to move here to this Garden Island paradise was because of the year-round great weather, the clean air, the clean water and the opportunity for clean living. Take advantage of the wonderful gifts of the island and move with it. Aloha nui, Jane.
• Jane Riley, B.A.,C.P.T., C.N.A., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 808-212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.