I have always wanted to love working out. I’ve joined gyms, hired personal trainers, purchased exercise equipment and enrolled in group fitness classes. The problem has never been that I didn’t have the right resources available for working out. The problem is, and always has been, I lack the willpower and discipline to continue doing something I dislike.
Health and fitness guru, Andrea Albright, suggests that you don’t work out, you “fun out.” To me, that philosophy makes sense (albeit a bit cheesy), but is it really possible to think of exercise as a fun activity? In one of her audio courses I purchased a few years back, Andrea discusses the idea of observing how much fun children have while moving their bodies. Children regularly exercise, without considering it to be “exercise” because it is fun.
As a child, I was a chubby, little couch potato most of the time. I was not raised in a family that hiked mountains or went skiing. Exercise equaled deprivation in my mind because I only did it when I was trying to lose weight. From a very young age (around 9 or 10), I attended Weight Watchers meetings with adults and sweated to my Jane Fonda Workout record alone in my bedroom. After a month or so, my diet would go off the rails and any progress I made would quickly diminish. I made up for lost time by eating peanut butter eggs while watching reruns of my favorite 70’s TV sitcoms. Then a few months later, I would resolve to exercise and lose weight again. I rejoined Weight Watchers, TOPS or any other weight loss group with meetings near my hometown, hoping beyond hope that this time would be different. I would dust off my Jane Fonda record again and promise myself that I would be skinny by the time the next school year started. It was a never-ending cycle that repeated itself throughout my adolescence and well into adulthood.
The idea of gaining enjoyment from physical activity remained elusive to me for many years. As a teen, I surrounded myself with peers who preferred sitting in a diner afterschool, smoking butts and drinking coffee, rather than attending soccer practice or a cross-country meet. Since I grew up seeing exercise as a form of punishment, how could I learn to enjoy it as an adult?
Two months ago I finally found something that brought out the child in me and taught me to enjoy moving my body for the first time. I discovered the Hula Chair.
Okay, I will probably not be ready to don a bikini by the time swimsuit season arrives, and it’s not designed for athletes or people who already enjoy exercise. However, for a couch potato like me, the Hula Chair gets my hips swiveling and my heart rate up. The best part is that my Hula Chair is actually fun! I feel like I am sitting on one of those 25-cent kiddie rides that were planted outside the local K-Mart when I was a kid. My husband teases me because I get this perma-grin on my face whenever I ride it. After you watch the video, I know what you will be thinking. This silly-looking chair does look a bit suggestive, so it can be embarrassing the first few times you use it. However, I quickly overcame the embarrassment and just adopted a sense of humor about it, instead.
When I first discovered the Hula Chair online, I was skeptical. I did not want to shell out $250 on another piece of useless equipment. I searched high and low before I lucked-out and found one for sale on Craigslist for 50 bucks. When this one wears out, I have no qualms about paying full price for a brand-spanking-new one.
I’ve owned treadmills, elliptical machines, exercise bikes…you name it, I’ve owned it. After a few weeks, these pieces of equipment usually turned into big, expensive coat racks sitting in the corner of the room. That has not happened to my Hula Chair. It continues to sit proudly in the living room, without a stitch of clothing draped over the back.