Simple and Healthy Lifestyle Options: Exercise

Image by Marcin Golbiowski 

Pamela Chan, Editorial/

Do you often encounter online and face-to-face debates about the best way to live your life so that you’ll be slim, happy, well balanced, healthy, and avoid illness and an early death? In recent years, there has been a constant onslaught of shifting opinions and research about these topics in the mainstream media and in people’s private social media posts and conversations. Are there simpler and less discussed alternatives to many of these popular lifestyle choices?

This is a three part series about the Blue Zone lifestyle, exercise choices, the Norwegian concept of Friluftsliv and vertical gardening.

PART 2:  Trying Out Exercise Options

All kinds of exercise can be helpful, including stretching, cardio, stamina strengthening and weight bearing exercise.  You can also meet a lot of your fitness goals through everyday activities such as walking, running, swimming, at home stretching and meditation, or free weight lifting. While I was completing graduate school at UBC, I signed up for a Pilates mat class in the graduate college where I was living. The instructor pointed out that as you age, you lose your ability to be flexible if you don’t continue to use all the parts of your body. She then showed us a simple exercise to lift one toe at a time and said that if you stop doing this, over time it will become harder to do.

While I was still in graduate school, I had the chance to take a Ballet for Adults class, which included a Feldenkrais warm-up. If you’re looking for a gentle way to get back into formal exercise classes, Elise Gulan’s
Ballet Conditioning video is perfect. You can order the DVD or find the full length video if you search YouTube or Vimeo.  (I own the DVD, which is produced by Element.)

Feldenkrais exercises are very gentle and have been used to help people with Parkinson’s disease, for example. In this class, I enjoyed the opportunity to challenge my body in different ways while trying basic ballet moves.  Increasingly, there are more Feldenkrais practitioners in BC.  Check out this web search result to see if there is a practice near you.

In recent years I’ve been keen to learn more about exercise that involve stretching, flexibility and weight bearing exercises. You’d think that the quieter years of the Covid pandemic would have been a boon for my interest. Unfortunately, it was quite the opposite. I had to stop going to the gym 3 to 4 times per week and lost my momentum.  But I did keep up almost daily long walks with my dog in our hilly neighbourhood.  Throwing myself out the door has been my constant and best form of exercise.

The Feldenkrais with Alfons series of videos on YouTube is a great opportunity to learn more about this gentle exercise method.  You might be wondering why I’m going to include a simple video – which isn’t really about the exercises – focussed on the feet.  It’s just another example of how greater awareness of our bodies goes right down to remembering what’s going on with our feet.

What kind of New to You exercises are you trying out as you move along the path of life? You can comment about this posting on the Facebook page. Your contribution matters so don’t be shy!


Part 1 Blue Zone Lifestyle can be found here.

Part 3 Trying New Exercise Options can be found here.

Part 4 Small Holding can be found here.

Have you taken part in Sunday walks in German or British Columbia? Find more information here.