Monday, February 15, 2016

Can exercise be fun?

The bounce in my step has everything to do with exercise — except I don't work out, at least not in the traditional sense.

I don't go to the gym, take fitness classes or participate in any routine that includes fancy equipment, special clothing or patterns of "reps." Yet, I do exercise.

I go for long meandering walks, pull weeds in the garden and take slow rows around the lake. Occasionally, I bicycle at the beach. None of those activities feels like exercise because instead of focusing on working out, I'm working at focusing in. I'm paying attention to the birds, looking at plants or taking quiet pleasure in a stunning skyscape. Instead of having a desire to burn calories, I'm having a burning desire to see what's around the next corner or to find out what kind of turtle just poked its head out of the water.

The kind of exercise I like best is the kind that doesn't feel like exercise at all. That's why I'm excited about stability disks, also known as wobble cushions or domed balance balls. My husband Ralph ordered a pair of the inflatable nubby-surfaced disks for his stand-up computer desk and used them during a period when he was busy with office work.
Eventually he began spending less time indoors, and the unused orbs sat idle until I got tired of seeing them on the floor and brought them into my office.

Like Ralph, I also have a stand-up desk, but my laptop is set up on a treadmill so I can walk while I work. For years, I racked up miles while writing, doing research or wiling away time on Facebook. Eventually, however, the treadmill stopped working correctly. Annoying squeaks made walking less enjoyable, so I stopped using it. I still did my typing standing up, but I did it standing still, which wasn't nearly as much fun.

The day I swooped Ralph's two wobble cushions off the living room floor and brought them into my office, was the day I set into motion an entirely new way of combining fun with fitness. I placed the flat-bottomed, rounded disks on the non-working treadmill and balanced myself on their textured skin, one foot on each ball's springy surface. As I started to type, my feet instinctively found purchase. They shifted back and forth and bounced up and down. My body swayed as my fingers tapped the keys.

Six months have gone by since I first put my feet on the round rubbery disks, and I've been "dancing" on the wobble cushions ever since. Without pattern or prescribed routine, the improvised movement has improved my balance and toned calf and leg muscles. This low-impact activity is said to build core strength while providing weight-bearing exercise, which are both important benefits. However, the main thing I like about using the wobble cushions is how much I enjoy standing on them when I'm on the computer. Just like rowing in the lake, meandering through hiking trails or tidying up flowerbeds, I'm doing things I enjoy.

Exercise is important, but it's not always fun. One way to change that is to choose activities that don't feel like exercise at all. For me, balancing on two wobble cushions fits the bill as another simple, safe way to incorporate healthy activities into my everyday life.


Where to buy wobble cushions - We purchased ours (we have several pairs) online from amazon.  They come in a range of colors and cost less than $15 each.  Check out SUESPORT Air Inflated Stability Wobble Cushion, Banlance Disc, Twist Massage, Fitness and Exercise, Pump Included


  1. I'm with you, sister! If I can't be outside I want to be at least LOOKING at the outside, wobbling would be good!

    1. wobbling is great! i hope you try it, rhonda. i added a link to the article in case you want to check it out online.