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health // no membership required


dance 2

Since the age of three, I understood the positive effects that adrenaline & endorphins could have on not only my body but also my mind.  I was born with turned-in ankles, a result of being squashed in my mother’s womb, which is common among multiples.  The doctor prescribed dance as a means to train my legs to turn out.  As a dancer, I came out of my evening classes feeling, even through my awkward teenage years, as though I could conquer the world.  Oftentimes, it was the only thing that could bring me out of my teenaged angst-filled fervor.  As an adult, now years removed from my dancer days, I am still able to use movement as an outlet to release my anxiety & stresses of the day.  Though, admittedly, it hasn’t been as easy as an adult… When I was young, being forced into a dancer-carpool-mom-of-the-week’s-minvan only an hour after school, every-single-day wasn’t exactly intrinsic motivation.  Once I was there, I had not-a-complaint in the world, but getting there always made me force to be reckoned with.

Today, nothing has changed / except for this time, there is no minivan.  / WHERE IS MY MINIVAN!!??

dance 1

{I’m wearing black tights at the right end // FYI, that’s the teenaged Melissa Rycroft from The Bachelor & Dancing w/ the Stars whom I’m draping my legs over… // & a shout out to fellow blogger Bowers Baking and Babies right behind us! // my uber talented twin sis is dead-center in the back!}

Since moving from Dallas to Austin one year ago, I have not even joined another gym.  Post-dancer days, as a Dallasite, I was obsessed with spin classes, & frequented them nearly every day.  However, as I am sure you are fully aware, gym memberships are EXPENSIVE, so these days I am attempting to conquer cheap exercise.


Walking/Running. Getting a dog about four months ago has been the best thing for me to just get out of the house & walk.  Georgia & I’s dog, Buddy, is not congenial without his three walks a day {yes, yikes!}, so sweating it out in the sun has quickly become my favorite source of exercise.  Not only do my morning walks help to energize me for the day, but they are also my form of meditation.  I am able to formulate what it is I need to get accomplished each day, & oftentimes it is the time of day where I become my most creative.  Even though thinking about those very things during the day often creates stress in my mind & body, there is something to be said about moving while thinking about them.  Instead of allowing those to-do lists & tasks to stress me out, the more I move, the more it motivates me to get those things started.  Sometimes I run, but I love a workout that is stress-free on my body {my tight calves are the only part of me that hates running}, but still makes me sweat & feel as though I had a good workout.  When I am walking or running, I get into a zone about halfway through where I feel as though I could go on forever.  Buddy wears out way before I do, & I come back to the apartment full of ideas of what to write next or for my next project.  During the summer, I am also able to take Buddy on lunchtime walks, but during the school year of course, this will be eliminated {with me at least}.  My nighttime walks are probably my favorite though, as I get to wind down the day with two of my favorite guys {Georgia gets to join us}.

Cycling. I am putting some serious thought into purchasing a cruiser {must add a basket!}, like the one here: the gold is my favorite. Georgia already rides his bike for exercise & takes advantage of the time to get to know the city better while snapping photographs for his blogs.  Yes, I know, buying a bike of my own requires money, but it’s on my long-term to-do list, & at least it’s not a monthly commitment.  Austin is a bike-friendly city with many bike lanes & a large number of people who bike everywhere.  Though, I’m a bit of a scardy-cat when it comes to riding in the street.  Although once obsessed with spin class {which makes me think I would love it}, I’m fearful of running into parked cars {don’t laugh // okay, you can laugh}.  Current & ex-dancers alike are known for grace on their toes & a lack-there-of everywhere else.

Outdoor Yoga & Pilates.  I truly need to start taking more advantage of the fact that my sister is a Pilates instructor {see here}!  However, I also have Pilates videos that my sister gave me after her training years ago that I often play in my living room while doing mat work.  With Buddy, this is becoming more & more difficult without another room to shut him in {otherwise, I’m certain he’d think I was trying to play / as a puppy, this is his go-to interpretation for EVERYTHING}.  I also have some experience with both yoga & Pilates, as when I was dancing in a company, my teachers made us take classes for strengthening.  I’ve always thought of these two activities as ones that pair well with the outdoors.  The outdoors seem to magnify the relaxation the exercises & stretches lend to the body + mind.  Using my backyard, which is nearly the size of my tiny apartment, might be a good solution since these are both lower impact, & I won’t put up as much of a risk of melting in the sun!

Hoola-Hoop/Jump-Rope.  Both of these recreational activities are cheap & remind me of my youth when I could stay outside for hours without even realizing how much exercise I was getting.  Simply showing off to my friends how many jumps I could make without falling on my tush was enough to keep me going for days.  In Austin, there is even a popular Rainey Street bar, Lustre Pearl, known for its hula-hoops in the backyard, so even the drunkards are getting in their exercise via nostalgia.  Hoola-hoops are making quite the come-back.

Indoor Workouts. It’s difficult to workout in the home with Buddy here &, of course, the fact that we live in a teeny-tiny efficiency apartment {see here} limits my in-home workouts.  However, I was able to find a couple of resources with great ideas here: & NY Daily News.

Dancing to Records.  See the about page, it is no lie that I will dance anywhere & at anytime if a Michael Jackson song comes on.  One of my favorite means of exercise {before living with someone} was to dance by myself in my living room while blasting records.  It is a fun & carefree way to exercise that reminds me of when I was a child // growing up, my sister & I were notorious for entertaining each other this way + our poor friends & cousins who we forced to go along with us.  I miss these carefree moments.  Georgia keeps telling me it won’t bother him if I continue…

By writing this post, I am hoping that I am putting it out there as a reminder to myself of just how important exercise is for the mind & body, but I also hope that I can inspire someone else who might find a few useful low-budget &/or small space exercise ideas.  As with most things, balance is key; do what you can, with what you have // work hard & be easy on yourself.

xo, Lauren

Author: lauren

author of // key + arrow // a life + style blog aiming to inspire readers to make the most of what they have today without compromising quality or settling for less than desired {all the while convincing herself} // {austin, tx}

14 thoughts on “health // no membership required

  1. Pingback: 7 for seven | key + arrow

  2. Pingback: walking // without falling into a fountain | key + arrow

  3. Loved this post — and your photos. I’m now doing a modern class (first time) and a jazz class, 90 minutes. Oy! Loving them and amazed my body can do it — at 56, with a left hip replacement. I also walk along our town’s reservoir, do the elliptical and weights at the gym and sometimes cycle.

    Your memory of dancing in your living room brought back such memories for me as well — I used to do it a lot in my 20s. Time to start again!

    In my early 20s, for a story, I was an extra for 8 performances at Lincoln Center in Sleeping Beauty with Rudolf Nureyev. I’ll blog it at some point. It was terrifying but fun.

    • i’m so happy you enjoyed it // i admire your experiences & talent as a writer!

      you’ve inspired me to look into the possibilities of taking a dance class again. i absolutely love that you are trying modern for the first time {my favorite!} & that you are brave enough & strong enough to do it after your hip replacement. how cool is that!?

      your memory of dancing at the lincoln center is fascinating! i can’t wait to read about that!

  4. I love walking too. There were days I would walk in the park about 30-45 min every weekday but I don’t do that now. I also liked to take time pondering about something during walking. Anyway, I turn to work out inside my house due to some changes. But I still think of those days I walked in the park. 🙂

  5. I never had a dance lesson – I didn’t come from that kind of a neighborhood. But once in a 2nd grade school play about The Night Before Christmas, I got to play a SugarPlum Fairy and wore a tutu. I never felt prettier!

  6. Nice arabesque!! I danced in my late teens but teach now. It is still the best form of exercise that I have ever found. It’s hard keeping up with those kids and teens now!


    Fashion and Beauty Finds

    • thank you, amy! it truly is // people are hesitant to call it a sport, but it’s just as tough {in a good way!} on the body, if not more than most sports! // i’ve got a lot of respect for you teaching dance to those teens… i remember how tough we were on our teachers at that age! i teach middle school & though i love them, it’s a rough age!! // btw, i just checked out your blog, it’s adorable! thanks for stopping by! hope you stop by again soon! xo, darlin’

  7. Love these tips! Thanks for some fun work out ideas! 🙂

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