My Free “Gym Membership” ~ by Sam

For health reasons, it is important that I exercise every single day, even if it’s just a walk around the neighbourhood.  I guess we could all say that, really, but, in my case, due to a chronic pain disorder, if I slack off for even a day, I awake stiff, sore and unable to move around the house enough to do even the most menial of tasks.  So, no matter how I feel, I have to get up and get moving.  I found years ago that I was far more likely to do work out if I actually set aside time to go to the gym.  At home, I was too easily distracted, and it was too easy for something to come up to prevent me from working out.  Can’t put in the yoga or pilates video, because the kids are watching cartoons.  Oh, now I can’t go for a walk, because it’s time for lunch.  I’d work with the weights a little, but there’s so much laundry to do…  I am the Queen of Excuses.  

But, at the end of the day, I find that I feel better, get more accomplished and…well, I AM better when I make time to exercise.  It makes me stronger, healthier, and just a better person.  It’s meditative for me, and my brain really needs that.  I still have memory and concentration problems, but, when I take care of myself, I find I am better able to complete tasks (and finish sentences).  I am more focussed, more patient and happier.  And, since I am the mama, when I’m happier, everyone’s happier.  So, it’s worth taking the time out of my day to get up and get moving.  

That said, a gym membership doesn’t really fit in to our budget right now.  I mean, we could probably swing it, but why?  There are other ways I would rather spend that money ~ like, say, on banjo lessons!  and fabric!  and cool socks for Kaia to wear with her uniforms when she starts middle school!  and art supplies!  and music lessons!  and tickets to We Will Rock You at the Ahmanson!!

Sorry.  I digress.  Again.

As I was saying, the gym membership doesn’t really fit in to our budget right now.  Shane rides his bike to work so that helps him satisfy his workout needs, and I was doing okay with trying to do a little yoga every morning and taking walks around the neighbourhood, but I was looking for something a little more challenging and interesting.  I remembered a couple of great local parks (Beeman and Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks) at which I always loved to walk, because, along the track, there is gym equipment.  I have been driving to one or the other a couple of times a week, and it’s great.  I feel stronger than I have in a long time, and I am saving us the cost of a gym membership. Nevertheless, I was sure I could save even more money if I didn’t have to drive so far, so I went online to see if there were any parks with gym equipment located closer to my home.  Sure enough, I found this great list:

http://www.laparks.org/dos/outdoorFitness.htm

I am so excited to check out all of the nearby “gyms.”  I think visiting different locations will keep my workouts interesting.  Once school starts up again (in just a few weeks!), since my two old favourites are close and convenient to stop by after drop-off or before pick-up, my schedule should fall into place fairly easily.  If not, I will just make a new plan.  That fact is, I have to do this.  It’s important to me to stay as healthy and strong as possible, so I can live my very best possible life.

I wanted to share this resource, because I am sure there are a lot of local folks who would love to take advantage of these free outdoor fitness areas.  If you are not in the L.A. area, do a google search for parks with gym equipment in your area.  It might not be as “glamorous” as the gym, but it will save you a monthly fee, and, like me, you might find you prefer being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine for your workouts.  

Have fun, be frugal and stay healthy.

 

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