Let’s make physical activity fun again [
Have you ever watched a two-year-old bop along joyously to a favourite song? Or a preschooler dash around a playground with glee? Young children intrinsically know that moving our bodies is fun! And then, somewhere along the way, we lose that. This New Year, let’s resolve to rediscover the joy of movement in our own lives. Here’s how.
We know that we’re supposed to get 2 1/2 hours (or more!) of physical activity a week for our health. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Maybe you still cringe at the memory of high school gym class. Maybe you find the thought of working out at a gym boring. Maybe exercise classes feel intimidating. But who says that exercise has to be spin class, jogging, or lifting weights?
Pole artist and instructor Rebecca Karpus discovered the world of pole after growing up as a trained ballerina. Like many children, she started dancing at a very young age and fell in love with it. After dancing professionally in university, she decided to pursue a different career path. Long days in the studio were replaced with long days at the office, which left her feeling incomplete. She deeply missed the artistry of dance but struggled to find the perfect dance alternative. “I tried going to the gym. I tried yoga. I tried Pilates. Nothing really clicked for me,” she explains.
Eventually, on a whim, Karpus attended a pole class at a nearby studio several years ago. “I thought I would hate it,” she laughs, “but it was so exciting!” She explains that there is a lot of stigma associated with pole dancing. “But pole dancing isn’t always sexy. It can be very athletic or very dance-y. It is a great exercise, an amazing creative outlet, and a wonderful, supportive community. Pole [dancing] filled the void that ballet had left.”
These days, Karpus pole dances in the studio and at home (yes, she installed a pole in her house!). She also teaches, competes, and choreographs pole routines for her students.
Looking for a unique movement idea? Ask yourself what type of activity might bring you joy. Consider something …
If your bestie swears by HIIT classes but you can’t stand them, just let it go. Karpus encourages everyone to try everything once but to move on if it’s not the right fit. “Try it, even if you don’t think you’ll like it. Pole challenged my preconceived notions,” she says. “But trust yourself and your body. If it doesn’t feel right, try something else.”
The nice thing about pole, adds Karpus, is that it’s not an activity that children tend to do, which means that many adults are complete beginners when they arrive at the pole studio. That’s okay, Karpus assures us. Once you push past the fear of looking silly, you may surprise yourself and find community, connection, and fun.
This year, let’s think outside the box and focus on fun and not fitness. Let’s listen to our inner toddler and move our bodies simply because it feels amazing! We deserve it.
Ask your health care practitioner about supporting your movement with select supplements, such as
Don’t let the cold stop your joy! Here are a few ways in which you can have fun outdoors in the winter.
Remember, when you’re adventuring outside, it’s very important to dress for the weather, follow all safety protocols, and never venture out of bounds.
Not sure where to find movement opportunities near you? Check out your community centre recreation guide, local fitness studios and sports leagues, and nonprofit organizations.
Rebecca Karpus explains that it’s important to acknowledge the history behind pole dancing, which originated with night club dancers and sex workers: “They continue to do this work today and push pole forward artistically and athletically, which allows middle-class women like myself to enjoy it as a hobby.”
BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ adults who are curious about adventuring outside can find an inclusive and supportive community with Colour the Trails. Learn how to camp, bird watch, mountain bike, row, and more, with fun events and activities that are perfect for beginners. colourthetrails.com/events