Ballet Austin Community
Posts Tagged ‘fitness motivation’
Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
Can you stand on one foot for 15 seconds with your eyes closed?
Before you even think about answering, try it.
How did you do? Were you able to last 15 seconds without opening your eyes or holding on to anything? Were you surprised that it was more of a challenge than you thought? Here’s the facts: After age 25, our sense of balance slowly begins to decline. Standing on one foot may seem fairly simple. At age 45 the ankles start to shake and you may find this a bit more of a challenge. When we reach our 60s, balance declines rapidly. Standing on one foot for 15 seconds with eyes closed without holding on is tough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States and 20 to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries.
September 22 kicked off Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Why set aside a week to bring awareness to falling down? Because preventing a fall is much more effective than treating a fall; a public health problem that is largely preventable. A fall can change an individual’s life instantly and although associated with getting older, a fall is not a normal part of aging.
Our bodies have an amazing and complex balance system that requires attention throughout life to keep it healthy and maintained. Most of us don’t think about exercising our balance when we think about healthy aging. In fact, balance is the most overlooked element of fitness; overlooked until we have a problems.
So what’s the easiest way to reclaim balance and prevent falls? For the most part, it’s child’s play. Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember challenging friends to see who could hop the longest on one foot? Or who could walk on the edge of the sidewalk the longest without falling off? Hopscotch, jumping rope, tossing balls…we didn’t call it exercise or balance training as children, but that is exactly what we were doing. Those activities helped us develop our balance and stability as children, and similar activities can help keep the brain and muscles working together as we age.
A favorite part of my week is teaching the Better Balance & Movement Workshops here at Ballet Austin. The participants range in age from about 40 to 80. I love it! Together we challenge our brains and our muscles to do what we want them to do. And then we laugh when they don’t always cooperate. I especially love to see people coming back each week sharing how they practiced at home, and the improvement they notice in their balance.
Thanks to partial underwriting from Scott & White Healthcare, Ballet Austin is on a mission to bring better balance to adults as part of its core value to encourage lifelong health and well-being. We desire to provide programming that will motivate and encourage people of all ages to be active! I once read this quote, “Movement requires balance. Sitting does not.
On September 13, 2012 the US Senate passed a resolution declaring September 22, 2012 as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a day set aside to promote and increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults.
There are many ways for people of all ages to stay active at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School. Interested in the Better Balance & Movement Workshop? A new session begins October 31.
Sunday, September 16th, 2012
A good workout is better than a half done workout and a half done workout is better than none at all.
We live in a time when it’s all or nothing. We apply the “all or nothing” mentality to how we eat, sleep, and work out. This past week there was a day I was not able to go for my 60 minute. Instead of going for 20 I stayed home and sat on the couch.
Think about that for a minute. For example, does it really make sense that if we eat healthy all day and then blow it with a gooey candy bar in the afternoon, we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well, I ruined my diet for today so might as well eat junk the rest of the day”? Does it really make sense to commit to exercise every day, do great for weeks, and then laziness sets in so motivation goes out the window and you turn into a couch potato again? It happens so quickly! We miss a workout, eat unhealthy, and so on. Defeat leads to derailing.
It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise. Even when we know how good it is for us, we just find it easier to not. We’re too busy, too tired, too…whatever to exercise. And rather than put in even half the time or half the effort, we do nothing.
I know how easy it is to get trapped into the “I give up mentality. If I can’t do it all, then I will do nothing.”
So let’s flip our thoughts.
What if we look at it this way: In stead of focusing on a goal to exercise for one hour a day, we focus on a goal to limit our sitting and sleeping time to 23 hours a day! Sounds a bit ridiculous but it just might work. Out of 24 hours in a day I can only sit or sleep for 23. Maybe I’m not too busy!
Adding a bit of practical advice to this thinking; when you are in a slump, catch yourself quickly and choose to get back on track right away. So you have slacked off a bit lately; no big deal! It happens to all of us. Accept it as a part of the ups and downs in life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key is to get back on track before it becomes a lifelong habit. When it comes to food, instead of eating the whole carton of ice cream, feel terrible, defeated, and give up, realise you made a bad choice, and then follow it up with a new one; a better choice. Put a stop to your defeated thoughts before they stop you! Sometimes it’s harder to do than others, but once you recognise it’s a problem, it gets easier.
Start again and move on. Your success is the accumulation of continual good choices and effort over time. The key is to make sure you have more good days then bad ones! Don’t let a bad moment, day, week, or month undo all your hard work. Start each day fresh. And remember, doing half as much is still better than doing nothing at all.
What kind of a workout will you have this week? What will you do each day to limit your sitting and sleeping to only 23 hours? Make a choice!
Looking for something new and fresh to motivate you this week? Check out Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School’s dance & fitness classes and state-of-the-art Pilates Center!
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Vicki Parsons, Director of Schools Operations & BCS Program Director
You have heard from several Ballet Austin staff members about their likes and dislikes and challenges when it comes to working out. Now it’s my turn.
Let me go on record. I do like to work out. My story begins with a quote I posted last month on the BCS facebook page: “Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
The quote was for me. While my body loves a good workout; needs to be challenged physically, my brain and my body don’t always agree. My brain has a mind of its own. My body loves to move anywhere. My brain knows the importance of a good workout, but has a people and group exercise fear. The staff fitness challenge to get Ballet Austin staff into BCS group classes was my idea. I went into it knowing that I am not a fan of group exercise. I love to run and hike, but I go solo. I exercise for the physical benefit, the stress relief, and time to get away and think. I don’t need people around when I sweat. It’s out of my comfort zone. But…I had committed to this challenge.
Dreading it for a week, I finally went to Turbo Kick®. And that’s when the conversation began between my body and my brain.
Brain: “Will they wonder why I am there, try to talk to me?” Out of my comfort zone; I felt the fear.
Body: “Do it anyway! Yes, there were other people in the studio, but stand in the back and nobody will notice you.”
I tried hiding behind Kody Jauron, Ballet Austin II dancer and BCS instructor. Music started, instructions were shouted out, and there we went…hard core cardio-burning 45 minutes!
Body: “Doing okay…although this is a mean workout.” I discovered I am a bit uncoordinated (my colleagues might laugh at the phrase ”a bit”) I was definitely challenged!
Brain: In intimidation and resist mode, assuming that everyone already knew what to do, “Turbo Kick® is easy for them; they are probably laughing at me.”
The intimidation factor is why I dragged not only Kody, but my husband Mark to the class. We could all struggle together; I would not be alone in my inadequacies. Brain winning the battle? Almost! But Brain begins to come around…
Brain: “Everybody else in the studio is far too busy worrying about getting it right to notice me. No one is trying to talk to me. Maybe if I am so self-conscious, imagining every eyeball is focused on me, somebody else might be thinking the same thing.”
About halfway through the class I looked around and realized that everyone was sweating and breathing hard. We were all in the same place…sweat dripping, muscles screaming, dying!
Brain overcoming! “WHO CARES what other people think? Maybe in their heads they also hear, ‘I’m embarrassed! I think I may throw up! I can’t do the moves right. Is everyone staring at me? Why am I here?’
Brain and Body: “In the end it doesn’t matter. I got one of the most awesome workouts of my life! I felt the fear. I kept kicking and boxing and pushing my muscles. I burned hundreds of calories.”
The 45 minutes flew by and at the end…I was ready for the end…I walked away with memories of the fun music, the encouraging and challenging words of Tara, BCS Turbo Kick® instructor. I survived! And I felt a sense of camaraderie with my fellow survivors. Admittedly tired, my body felt great. When I stepped outside and felt the 100 degree heat hit my face it crossed my mind that an indoor workout is a great thing during summers in Texas.
Whatever your challenge, find the workout that fits your fitness personality, your interests, and your schedule. The workout where your brain and body will agree.
“Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Friday, July 27th, 2012
I do not have another colleague at Ballet Austin who has more enthusiam than Eric Caruthers. Eric worked in the Schools Office at Ballet Austin as the Registrar for several year before recently joining the Production Department, but not before winning the staff “Woo Hoo” award! But Eric is the first to tell you that the spirit of “woo hoo!” is not enough to conquer his many excuses for not working out. As a participant of the “Get Moving Challenge” Eric figured out what it would take to get his workout in…
Eric Caruthers, Ballet Austin Production Assistant
“I am too busy…I don’t have a clean workout outfit…I just ate…I’ve done enough exercise this week…I’ll start tomorrow…I’ll start next week…”
These are my excuses. I own them. I use them daily to tell myself to avoid or put off exercising.
Funny thing is, if I don’t listen to myself, and I actually do workout – whether Zumba®, running, yoga or biking – I love it!
I especially love group exercise. This might be partially due to the fact that I am an extreme extrovert. A room full of people completely energizes me. But if that’s true, then why is it I’m hardly ever in class…a room full of people exercising? Because there’s a voice in my head. It feeds me excuses – and I listen! It’s that voice that stops me from getting my move on.
So knowing what I know about myself – that I love people and that when I actually begin my workout I have a great time – I have figured out how to conquer the voice. People! If I invite a friend to go with me (or 2 or 3 – the more the merrier) it not only makes it a whole lot more fun, it adds accountability to the mix. I am not going to let a friend down!
That became my strategy during the staff “Get Moving Challenge“. I roped in Melissa, Tim, and anyone who would join me to take a class. And it worked! I went and had a blast!
Now I have figured out that is what makes the BCS a perfect place for me to exercise! It’s full of people! I have taken Beginning Ballet, Feldenkrais®, Theater Dance, Zumba®, Jazz Fit, Body Sculpting, Ballet Fit, and Turbo Kick®. My personal favorites are Zumba® and Turbo Kick® because of the energy and sense of fun.
I am not the most graceful person when it comes to dancing, but that’s ok because for me it isn’t about grace – it’s about moving! It’s about having fun! It’s about moving and having fun with friends. I love it! That’s what I love about taking classes at the BCS.
It is time to STOP the excuses, call a friend and commit! Dial 512…
Want to come take a class with me?
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
If you haven’t noticed, the Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” has revealed the challenges people face in their quest to to to be active on a regular basis. Today we get to hear from my colleague Eleanor Bartosh who works in the Marketing Department at Ballet Austin.
Eleanor Bartosh, Digital Media Manager
I am a planner, through and through. Whether its meals for the week, Saturday morning errands or vacation agendas, you name it and it’s probably on my calendar somewhere… most likely a few weeks in advance. Because of this – on top of being just plain busy – it’s often hard for me to just “hit the gym after work” on any given day.
Enter in the BCS Staff Challenge. I filled the role of your typical 20-something overachiever: I work a lot, and outside of the office, my free time is usually spent running to happy hours instead of running on the trail. Clearly things had to change.
For the challenge I took Zumba® (insert hip shake), Body Sculpting (not as scary as it sounds) and I tested out a workshop called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch (my favorite).
All of my friends and co-workers are well aware that I’m not cardio person (my gym time is spent on a yoga mat), but I’ve been dying to try Zumba® for months now. It looked like a fun way to work up a sweat and target your ‘problem areas’ – and, yes, even 24-year-olds have those. It proved to be both of those things and more. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but it didn’t matter as I shook my hips and wiggled across the floor for 45 straight minutes. Our instructor Rebekah Fowler was sassy, sweet and totally inspiring. Tip: Bring a water bottle and a friend and laugh at yourselves in the mirror.
The next day found me in Body Sculpting, another of our drop-in fitness classes. Thankfully I spent the morning on a mat rather than tripping over my tennis shoes, doing a variety of Pilates-inspired exercises designed to target muscles ALL over your body. I loved the full workout and my hips and shoulders were pleasantly sore later that evening. Tip: Dress comfortably (workout tights are great) and don’t worry about wearing sneakers.
To switch things up just a bit, I sampled one of our popular Pilates workshops called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch – and let me just say… it was INCREDIBLE and by far one of the most enjoyable workouts I’ve ever done next to yoga. Despite getting sweatier than expected (sorry in advance to my 2pm coffee date), the 45-minute lunchtime session FLEW by and I found myself smiling the whole time… even while my legs were shaking and my abs were cramping. Taught by Company Dancer Elise Pekarek, it’s quick, fun and effective. I will definitely be back (and you should come, too!). Tip: Bring a towel and your own band if you’re allergic to latex.
It’s Thursday and I can’t believe I’ve already worked out three times this week – or that I can already feel the benefit! With every class I feel stronger, I’m sleeping better and my abs are starting to show some definition again. Which makes me wonder: Maybe this whole ‘exercising regularly’ thing IS worth it after all…
Monday, July 9th, 2012
The Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” ends this week. It’s been fun watching staff take a variety of classes, and especially fun to receive the photos of staff in a class. I am also enjoying the blogs as well! Check out what LuAnn has to say about her experiences…
LuAnn Glowacz, Ballet Austin Communications Manager
A body in motion stays in motion. I have to remind myself of Newton’s law every day as I contemplate the endless excuses I have to skip that 5:30 am power walk or noontime Pilates class. Working at Ballet Austin, I’m surrounded by elite athletes. And I can’t help but covet the apparent gene they possess that keeps them craving blood, sweat, and tears (while I much prefer the couch, kolaches, and pedicures).
So it’s as if the Staff Challenge was custom made for me. During June, I used the opportunity to take Ballet Fit, Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop, and Feldenkrais. I also had the chance to duck into a few minutes of Videodance™ and Brazilian Samba…WAY outside my comfort zone. And here’s what I’ve learned on the road to better motivation.
- Don’t be intimidated. As someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, I’m always the “novice” in most classes that I take. What I’ve learned with near certainty is that your fellow classmates are not there to watch you or judge you. If you don’t believe me, ease your nerves (and paranoia) by bringing a friend or by arriving early and seeking out another person in the studio who seems terrified to be there (introduce yourself and make a quick comrade). Just knowing that someone else in the class who feels as if a big “A” for “Amateur” is written across his or her forehead can be a huge help.
- Commit yourself. While signing up for a full workshop wasn’t requisite for the Staff Challenge, the commitment of a multi-week workshop (as opposed to relying on drop-in classes) did wonders for me. While I struggle with motivation, I do not take accountability lightly. Having a reserved spot in Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop kept me motivated to show up, week after week. And how was the workshop? If you’ve never taking a Pilates course led by a former Russian ballerina (in this case, Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber), you haven’t truly taken a Pilates course. My body transformed within minutes (as well as my ability to gracefully descend Ballet Austin’s grand staircase).
- If you want to dance, dance! I’m not a dancer and anyone who has taken a dance-based fitness class with me can attest to that (Can I hear an “Amen!” my Ballet Fit and Videodance friends?). But dancing fills an hour’s worth of exercise much easier for me than any other fitness class or routine can. Concentrating on choreography or ballet positions takes my mind off of the fact that I’m [gulp] exercising. And the added responsibility of not tripping the person next to me helps. That type of trickery is really the only way to keep me moving for any extended period of time. So if you’re not a dancer but you feel like dancing…congratulations! You’re a dancer! Don’t allow anyone to convince you otherwise.
Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Ballet Austin’s Director of Operations & Finance has become famous during the Staff “Get Moving Challenge“. She has been to many of the classes. I love it! See what she has to say…
Gail Romney, Director of Operations & Finance
First class – Turbo Kick. I am alive. That is good news because there is a chance now I can finish the Staff Challenge. You know me, I’m the busy downtown professional who is in the second half of a century of life and would like to ease into the golden years gracefully. Ha. I am motivated by the fact that my mother and mother-in-law are in their 90’s and, as my mother puts it, still running around loose. My mother-in-law is 95, can walk 3 miles without breathing hard, and takes Pilates once a week. Who needs a staff challenge when I have her around? I tell myself there is an outside chance that if I exercise and keep in shape, the reward will be a long and mobile life and perhaps I won’t lose my marbles too soon. So, back to Turbo Kick…this is a fun and energetic 45 minutes and if you take it for the first time, don’t worry about the jabs and hooks, punches and kicks. If you keep moving, you will sweat – and that is a promise. I can see that after a few classes, the moves become second nature, as evidenced by the synchronized movements of everyone but me. And instructor, Tara Shakleford, is adorable (in sort of a drill sergeant way). But it was fun, and I will definitely come back to it when I am done with all my other adventures at the BCS.
Second Class – Zumba. A terrific class and again, a great cardio workout. Rebekah Fowler is a fantastic instructor and makes all the steps easy to follow, although I am sure I dislocated both hips with all the sultry Latin moves!
Third Class – Elementary Contemporary. I took this even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting into. The description sounded intriguing but I was a bit leery of the hour and a half class time since I nearly expired in the previous two classes that were half as long. Not to worry, there was a lovely warm up involving aspects of Yoga and ballet along with abs and arms work. Then instructor Dane Burch got us moving with choreography that was challenging, but doable, in a jazz/lyrical/modern style. It was great fun and Dane was very patient with us newbies.
Truly, all the classes at Ballet Austin’s BCS are wonderful, my favorites over the years have been Ballet Fit, Arms & Abs, and Body Sculpting (love this one), as well as doing the Pilates Reformer classes. The Staff Challenge was a blast and I even got my picture taken several times – I could get used to this paparazzi thing…
Yes, Gail found herself in front of the camera several times over the past week or so. Check it out on the BCS facebook page! You too could win a FREE class. Staff sightings are everywhere! Love the “Get Moving Challenge“!
Never taken a class? Get Started!
Saturday, June 16th, 2012
This week Ballet Austin kicks off the staff Get Moving Challenge!
I have rounded up a few of my colleagues at Ballet Austin to begin a fun and friendly summer fitness competition to encourage and promote active life; more specifically…to challenge us to get moving right here at the BCS in the 60 plus dance and fitness classes we have to offer on site 7 days a week.
During the challenge, which runs June 18 through July 12, participating Ballet Austin staff will be challenged to commit to taking a minimum of 3 different BCS classes, and to set their own personal goals; and what they hope to accomplish through this challenge. Every one of us has a story that you can relate to. Working moms, busy executives, commuters, not motivated, to look good for a daughter’s wedding, too many excuses, and so on…
We will each blog about our participation and experiences in the classes. Keep reading the BE ACTIVE! blog over the next few weeks for some fun and funny stories about how the challenge is going; how our bodies are feeling.
But here’s the best part. You can participate in the challenge and win free classes! Receive a reward for staff sightings! That’s right! You could win single classes (up to 3), enrollment into a BCS Workshop, or up to 10 FREE BCS classes when you sight a Ballet Austin staff member in a BCS class…and report it to me!
Wanted! Photos of staff, dead or alive, tweeted or emailed to me, or posted on the BCS facebook page. Sight a staff member in a class? Take a picture with your phone and send it to me. Each legitimate staff sighting sent to me will reward you one free BCS drop-in class (limit of 3). At the end of the challenge, if you have sent a photo, you will be entered into a drawing to win 10 BCS classes or a BCS Workshop.
Sound like fun? Of course it does! But one more thing…who are you looking for?
The wanted staff are: Gail Romney, Director of Finance and Operations, Christi Cuellar, Development Director, Brooke Holmes, Senior Development Associate, Pei-San Brown, Community Education Director, Timothy Dillon, Marketing Director, LuAnn Glowacz, Communications Manager, Eleanor Bartosh, Digital Media Manager, Eric Caruthers, Schools Registrar, and me, Vicki Parsons.
See you in a class soon…I’ll be watching for the camera!
Thursday, May 31st, 2012
I subscribe to the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter and recently read an article that gave some staggering statistics regarding the cost of inactivity. The article stated that “according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, inactivity was associated with more than 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2001, at an estimated direct medical cost of nearly $24 billion. Another CDC analysis suggests that because individuals who are physically active have significantly lower annual direct medical costs than those who are inactive, getting people to become more active could cut yearly medical costs in the U.S. by more than $70 billion.” Take that to the bank…or should I say Federal Reserve.
The definition of being sedentary or physically inactive is this: expending less than 1.5 kcal/kg per day in leisure physical activities. This is the equivalent of walking a little over two kilometers or 1.3 miles, or approximately 3000 steps in one day. For most people, that is a walk of 25 minutes or less.
I find it interesting that despite all the promotion in this country to get active, “only about 30 percent of adult Americans report they get regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all.”
Yet according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That’s quite a contrast! And while many of us may feel perfectly okay with an evening in front of the TV, as long as we got our workout in, the article published by Harvard School of Public Health challenges our defense. It is not only important to to exercise more, it is actually more important to sit less! And in an article appropriately titled Meet the Active Couch Potato, Dr. Dunstan writes, “It is important the general public become more conscious about what they do in their nonexercise time. Almost everybody should look for opportunities to reduce their daily sitting time and move more, more often, throughout the day.”
I plan to give some thought to this. While my solution to inactivity is to go run for an hour, and then invite you to come take a class or try Pilates at the Butler Community School, it’s what we do with the rest of our time that appears to be even more important.
Check back next week. I’m quite intrigued with the possibility of saving 70 billion dollars a year.
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
One of the best things about my job is meeting the people who take classes at the Butler Community School. I love the stories of motivation, determination, and success. They happen all around me every day. One thing I have learned from listening to these stories is that inspiration and motivation are unique to each individual. What does it take for someone to step into their workout clothing and get active; to keep going? Motivation is a lot more complex than most of us realize. I am intrigued by it. And because I am touched and inspired by many of the people who tell me their stories, I will pass these stories on in the hopes that you too may be inspired.
I received the following in an email a couple of weeks ago. While she chooses to remain anonymous, her story should be a motivation to all of us:
“In December, my husband surprised me with tickets to The Nutcracker, and while we were waiting for it to start, I saw the advertisement for fitness classes at the BCS. The next month, one day after getting on the scale, I decided it was finally time to get healthy. I also saw my 35th birthday looming, and I realized that not exercising would only get harder the more I put it off. I accepted that not exercising was irresponsible and having not done any regular exercise in YEARS (a decade?) was not good. So, I made the decision to change my way of life and signed up for a $99 unlimited pass for fitness & dance classes at the BCS. I had always put off exercising because of the cost, type of activity, or any other reason. Up through college, I was much more active – swimming, tennis team, horseback riding, canoeing, and ten years of ballet. After college, other things took up my life and exercising/activity seemed to fall away.
Using the unlimited pass, I was able to get myself going right off the bat. I tried Toni Bravo’s Body Sculpting, Brittany Harpole’s Below the Belt, Arms & Abs, Body Stretch, and Turbo Kick®. I also tried Zumba® and HAPA. For one month I went to 24 classes and I felt so much better. It was a real struggle at the beginning transitioning from a sessile lifestyle to one where I was pushing my body almost every day. I had absolutely no strength or stamina and I often had to rest during a set or do it at a slower pace. And was I sore! But now I can go to Toni’s class and, while it’s still challenging, I can keep up.
I am so glad I found the BCS. It provides fun exercise, a positive environment, and personable instructors I enjoy. There are no more excuses for me. I recently signed up for the Thera-Band® Stretch Workshop, which I am finding very challenging, but in a good way. All the classes have improved my breathing, flexibility, strength, and overall health. I still have a long way to go, but the positive results I’ve seen so far are a great motivator.
About a month ago, my husband and I also started a gentle, beginner jogging program to add regular cardio exercise. The BCS classes, the jogging, and making subtle changes to my diet have resulted in a 10 pound loss so far. Weight loss is a goal, but I really just want to have overall better health. I have about 15-20 pounds to go until I reach a healthy weight and I am hoping to be close to that by the end of this calendar year.”
What’s your story?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see yourself in Real People – Real Stories.