The “Poopámon Go” workout: when your horse becomes your Personal Trainer!

In this blog I bring you another clever workout… actually it’s not really a workout, more like turning something mundane and routine into something useful in the context of a weight loss and fitness program. It’s not that I don’t take fitness seriously, it’s that over the years I have come across a variety of clients and the majority of them hate the idea of actually working out and yet they want to be fit.

What to do?!

My challenge, in these cases, is to find every day activities that can be modded into exercise so that in the end we are all fit and happy. Thankfully, this year Pokemon Go has come to the rescue and has allowed me to use the game as an excuse to introduce people to leisurely walking. It’s not that straight forward though and it takes a lot of negotiating skills as people don’t really want to work out, they don’t really want to go for a walk and they don’t want to be seen playing Pokemon.

Pokemon go

The trick is to tickle their curiosity by playing the game in front of them and then explaining what’s going on. Not that I know what I am doing but if I am lucky enough to have a Pokestop nearby I can also show them where the walking part comes in… It recently worked with my other half who, so far, has resisted getting sucked into the whole Pokemon thing despite being surrounded by people who play. I simply handed over the phone while I was driving and asked him if he wouldn’t mind catching some balls from the various Pokestops that we came across. He didn’t mind and was soon catching little monsters too using up all my balls!

From there the step up to walking and embracing the spirit of the game was fairly easy. We stopped at a shopping centre where there were several stops and I must say he was keener than me to go for a walk around the shops to load up on Pokeballs. He didn’t even say no when I proposed to go for a walk up and down the High Street… so long as I held the phone!

This game is pure genius. I also resisted looking into it for a bit because a) I walk every day and b) I felt a bit silly at the idea of playing. I was wrong though. It truly does encourage you to go out and explore your neighbourhood in search of creatures or balls.

What else can I turn into exercise?

Bella spooking at PikachuIf you are blessed to have a horse in your life there is one activity that you cannot escape from: managing the by-products of horse grazing on a daily basis. More specifically, their removal from the paddock so that it doesn’t get contaminated with worms.

When I mention this particular duty of mine most people roll their eyes in despair but what they don’t realise is that it forces me to spend some time outside in the fresh air doing physical chores that require me to be unplugged for a little while.

If your paddock is like Bell’s you are in luck depending on how you want to look at it. The field slopes gently towards a stream an it’s massive in all directions, plus in the Summer the grass is usually very tall in places and it’s difficult to spot the Poopámons thus requiring lots of walking around to spot them.

Poopámon with RattataUnlike the game there are no notifications on your phone that alerts you to the presence of a Poopámon and so you have to find them using old school methods: looking around and in the distance, not at a screen.

If I haven’t had time to exercise properly during the day I make sure it’s my turn to carry out this chore.

Jokes aside, there is a whole branch of the fitness industry that specializes in workouts that involve pushing a weighted wheelbarrow around. The reason for this is that it’s actually a really good exercise for the legs and glutes and also for the core and arms depending on how heavy the wheelbarrow is.

The brilliant part though comes in the shape of postural training: in order to become efficient at pushing the wheelbarrow (especially uphill) we must make sure that all the weight is taken by the legs (in half squat position), the back is straight and we keep the object as close to our body as possible. This will protect the back and engage the core muscles.

Wheelbarrow with ButterFree

The way I look at this task is that I start nice and easy at the bottom of the field and make the barrow heavier as I move up towards the gate at the top. Usually this also involve zig zagging across the paddock therefore pushing a heavy load for longer.

In Winter and Autumn it’s not so bad, in Spring and Summer however, when the horses are out all day, it can easily turn into a mammoth workout. Imagine pushing 40 or 50Kgs up hill sometimes more than once.

I can assure you this raises my heart rate somewhat and my legs and abs let me know that they are working hard. It can take up to 20 min to clear the field and it’s also the one time of the day when I have the opportunity to spend some time in the sun surrounded by nature and observing the wildlife.

Will it make me look like a fitness model? Highly unlikely.

Will it help me stay healthy and contribute to reducing the risk of developing a whole plethora of diseases associated with inactivity? Most likely.

Will it count as exercise when I haven’t got time to exercise? For sure…

When you think about it there are many other little activities like this one that we carry out mindlessly every day and that could be modified to give you a bit more of a workout as opposed to being just work. Can you think of one?

Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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