As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,
The Story of a Skipping Blondie - A Motivational Story about Keeping Fit
As I was watching my nephews playing that day, I can’t help but to envy a little bit on the level of energy they have.
‘Isn’t it great if we can be like them?’ I told my sister who was sitting beside me. ‘No wonder these kids don’t have excess weight. Just look at the rate they are burning their calories!’
‘Yeah, I know, it is amazing how much energy they use everyday…’ she nodded in agreement with me.
‘We should start exercising consistently, you know…’ I suggested
And that’s when I saw her cheeky smile and as she was about to open her mouth I said… ‘Spare me the lecture!’ and we both burst into laughter.
Later that day, I started thinking.
Exercise… A word that knocks my door frequently even though most of the time I refused to open the door and let ‘it’ in. I asked myself – why it is like that?
Perhaps because the type of exercise regimes that I had with me were too tedious, too serious and no fun at all.
I know that Laura Ramirez was right when she said…
Exercise should be fun; otherwise, you won't be consistent.
Yup, I am a living testimony of that!
But what type of exercise is fun for me?
Among the first thing that came into my mind is aerobics. Yes, I know most of us know what aerobics is, right? If you don’t, let me share with you a definition I truly loved given by Rita Rudner. She said,
The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down."
Funny yet so true, don’t you think? Practically, my nephews were doing aerobics, in a haphazard way, of course!
Then, I remembered a sister I know who offers a different kind of exercise. A fun kind. And the best part, her class is exclusively for sisters only. Sorry about that brothers….
I spoke Sister Naziehah and asked her to share with me some benefits that would come from the type of exercise she offers.
This is what Sister Naziehah wrote to me…
Physical Benefit of Belly Dancing or Middle Eastern Dance also known as Movement Therapy.
Middle Eastern Dance has many benefits for women, both mental and physical. One physical benefit that is very important that it can’t be stressed enough is; that the practice of the dance will help to strengthen one’s core muscle or also called as core strength. Core strength refers to the muscles of our abs and back and their ability to support our spine and keep our body stable and balanced. It is where the body's center of gravity is located and from where all movement originates.
Movements of the Middle Eastern Dance mainly focus on the movement in the lower back and the abdominal area. Therefore, it will assist women in strengthening and maintaining their core muscle’s strength through the gentle and repetitive movement of the dance.
Besides that, Middle Eastern Dance will also strengthen the leg as women will be required to learn how to balance their body well while executing the movement. The often neglected sole of the feet-muscle will be awakened and challenged through the dance. The upper thigh muscle, the knee, and the calf – are all the various parts of leg that will constantly be exercised and strengthened by practicing the dance.
The isolation movement; that is most essential in Middle Eastern Dance will help women to be very aware of their body and body muscles. The dance emphasizes muscular "isolations", teaching the ability to move various muscles or muscle groups independently. This in effect will develop higher body awareness among the practitioner of the dance.
Through this awareness then, women will develop higher appreciation of the many different organs, muscles, body parts and functions of their body and how great are these creations of Allaah the Almighty.
SubhanAllaah, I never realized that this kind of exercise would help women in such wondrous ways. I mean, having a strong lower back and abdominal area is definitely important as most women would be given a chance one time or another to carry a ‘load’ of up to 4-5kg for nine months, right? Not to mention carrying the groceries, kids, neighbour’s kids, books, moving furniture, carrying backpacks loaded with either books (if you are a student or nappies plus bottles and toys for the mummies) and many more!
I think it would help women tremendously to have strong lower back, inshaAllaah.
Also, strengthening of leg muscle? I bet that would be useful especially if we have little ones who are hyperactive Not to mention the running around managing responsibilities at workplace, house chores, community service, volunteer work, helping mum around the house, taking care of our brothers and sisters etc…
And the best part about this type of exercise is that it gives us all the health benefits minus the rigorous wear and tear of our body. Now, that is very critical, I think…
I remembered reading a research once that mentioned how low to moderate intensity exercise is just as good as a vigorous exercise for reducing weight!
You don’t believe me? Look it up in the internet. It is all over the place.
So, the more I think of it, the more attracted I felt towards this type of exercise.
I remembered what our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said once,
It was narrated from Mu’aadh ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Khubayb from his father that his paternal uncle said: “We were sitting in a gathering when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came, with traces of water on his head. One of us said, ‘We see that you appear to be in high spirits today.’ He said, ‘Yes, praise be to Allaah.’ Then the people spoke about riches. He said, ‘There is nothing wrong with riches for one who fears Allaah, but good health is better for one who fears Allaah than riches, and being in good spirits is a blessing.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 2141; Ahmad, 22076.)
This hadeeth has made me realized something. Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah’s blessings and peace be upon him) was a man who exercised too.
And he said that good health is better for the ones who fears Allaah than richness and it is indeed a blessing if we are in good spirits.
Don’t you find yourself agreeing with him?
I know that I am always the happiest after exercising. I would smile more, get amused more easily and I found that my thoughts are clearer too, SubhanAllaah…
So, yes, I know the blessings of good spirits and I totally agree with what my beloved Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said. It is a blessing…
Let me share with you a joke on exercising I read once…
A blonde is terribly overweight, so her doctor puts her on a diet. "I want you to eat regularly for two days, then skip a day, and repeat this procedure for two weeks. The next time I see you, you'll have lost at least five pounds."
When the blonde returns, she's lost nearly 20 pounds. "Why, that's amazing!" the doctor says. "Did you follow my instructions?"
The blonde nods. "I'll tell you, though, I thought I was going to drop dead that third day."
"From hunger, you mean?" asked the doctor.
"No, from skipping."
What?! I know, I laughed till tears came out when I first read this joke.
SubhanAllaah, am I lucky to find Sister Naziehah’s method today else I might just have to try 'skipping' too!
So, my brothers and sisters, let us all think about the benefits of exercising and find the type of exercise that suits us the best, inshaAllaah. Be it aerobics, skipping, Middle Eastern dance, movement therapy, swimming and many other types of physical sports.
Let us all think of this quote from Richard Steele, Sr. who says,
Reading is to the mind what exercising is to the body.
And if you have reached this point, I can safely assume that you have read this story. So let us now give our body what we gave our mind!
What do you say?
Remember, being in good spirits is a blessing…
What more could we ask from Him?
Naziehah is a Muslim Malaysian Middle Eastern Dance instructor, entrepreneur, and blogger. She can be contacted via e-mail email@example.com. Read her thoughts on her personal blog: http:// naziehah.wordpress.com and her dance blog: http://elwardadance.blogspot.com.
Now blogging at http://wisdomthruwords.blogspot.com
Copyright © Sis Zabrina 2007
Sis Zabrina, Author
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