Can’t or don’t want to leave the house to get some aerobic exercise? Want to move “free form,” according to your personal preferences and scope of physical limitations (if any)? If you like to dance, whether on your feet or in a chair, this may be the answer for you! I know it is for me 🙂
I wake up in the morning, and before I’ve even had my daily cup of coffee, I don my long-sleeve shirt, sweatpants and socks (fleece jacket and booty slippers, too, in the winter), twist my hair up off my neck and head to the basement. Why, you wonder? Why ELSE? To BOP, of course!
Sorry to say, but it’s taken me decades to arrive at a place in my life—now having the proper tools, knowledge and mentality—to finally be able to incorporate some positive, lasting lifestyle changes! The road I’m travelling is not perfect ’cause there are still detours and roadblocks, but fewer than before! Yes, I finally “got it” 🙂
GOOD THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT HOW “BASEMENT BOPS” DEVELOPED:
Working in the “working out” aspect of my daily regimen took a while because, as most people can relate to, it’s not easy getting started when attempting to create new habits and finding something that’s sustainable. I had to come up with a plan of attack that would work for me. Something I would enjoy and, even on days I’m not in the mood or up to it, would still—for the most part—be able to push myself to do. When thinking about this, I also had to consider my allergies, sensitivities and other physical limitations. In my case, that eliminated walking outdoors, frequenting a gym or anything high impact.
Many years ago I used to “Sweat to the Oldies,” but that’s not feasible anymore. I need to do things at my own pace and in my own way. Along with the stretches my son gave me (he was a fitness trainer), I wanted to add something aerobic. I wanted to burn fat, help my body and feed my brain with more oxygen. That’s when it HIT me! I LOVE to dance—yet almost NEVER do! The occasional wedding is too rare and dancing all night (I rarely step off the dance floor) in heels (not even high ones!) causes the kind of pain that eventually overrides the enjoyment of dancing. BUT, in stocking feet in our finished basement (so as not to disturb the rest of the household) to music I like for however long or short, sounded really good!
At first I used what I had in iTunes, but eventually moved to YouTube to expand my selection of music. (Thank you, YouTube and all you magnificent musicians!) There’s lots of good dance music out there, but I had to be pretty specific with tempo ’cause if it’s not fast enough, I won’t work up a sweat and really get my body moving for it to be beneficial. I compiled as many songs as I could think of and find on YouTube (and like). The trouble with doing this on YouTube itself was that it was very time-consuming setting up all the videos each morning, and having to go from tab to tab to play each one during the workout was very annoying and intrusive to its flow. I’m all about “easy” and “not wasting time,” and hated that that aspect was a “chore” factor and, as we know, that is not conducive to sustaining a regimen. So after months of that, I thought to compose playlists in blog posts for ease of use. Voilà! 😀 😀 😀
Over the months since I began doing my “Basement Bops,” I settled into how I go about it and my method is working well for me. Since I utilized a private WordPress blog as my main tool for my playlists, I realized I could actually share this life-changing (for me) method on this blog because it may very well be something that could work well for YOU, too* 😀 . That’s why I created this page—for you—along with a companion site with playlists devoted to Basement Bops 😀
SO THIS IS HOW BASEMENT BOPPING GOES:
IN A NUTSHELL:
- dress comfortably
- go to the basement (that’s my place; you choose yours)
- boot up the computer and turn on the speakers (you may have to keep things quiet or even use headphones, if you must, if the cord is long enough and doesn’t cause a hazard)
- pick a playlist for the day
- set them up (only takes a minute—literally)
- begin bopping (specifics explained below), working your way from video to video for about 27-29 minutes, till your done 😀
SPECIFICS ON HOW I BOP:
- I shoot for a good 27-29 minutes total. (Less would be ineffective. Want more? Repeat a song or two!) The first and last songs are a little slower-paced than the rest, and somewhere around 10 minutes in, I try to fit the most upbeat song that really makes me move.
- Before I begin, I set up the videos so there’s no break in the flow from song to song, and as I move from one to the next, I overlap them a second or two “D.J. style” 😎
- For the first three-ish minutes, I dance at a moderate pace just to get into it and warm up. Regardless of the length of the first song, about 3 minutes in I pick up my little 1-lb. barbell weights. (That’s all I need and all I can handle; I have fibromyalgia. Use what suits you.* I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to increase the weight and hope to add ankle weights at some point, too.)
- Once barbells are in hand, the exertion level automatically picks up a bit, but then I deliberately pick it up more. From then on my arms and feet are in constant motion. (Even if you can’t really move your feet/legs, this can be arm-centric exercise—do some chair dancing!) For the next 20-22 or so minutes, with no particular order or count, I exercise my arms in however many ways I come up with, typically pumping actions, sometimes swinging, or certain motions from dances I know, like “the monkey.” I get creative ’cause I love to dance and get into the music. As much as I can tolerate and as often as I can, I keep my arms elevated around shoulder/chest height. When I keep my arms more in front of me, it constricts the lungs a bit more which increases the aerobic effect because it forces me to breathe deeper, and it makes me sweat more. This is beneficial because my legs can’t do the kind of exertion it would take to increase the effect enough to be as beneficial. I don’t do ANYthing steadily because I have to allow my arms to recoop, so I alternate. Still, I push myself as much as I can. I’ll do motions with my arms out to the side, angled, straight in front or occasionally swing back, and will alternate the positions of my hands (palms up, down or in). I noticed “palms up” constricts the lungs even more. Play with all sorts of arm positions 🙂 . I try to pick songs that I find almost impossible not to get into, which really makes me pick up my exertion level. I do this until I get to the last 3 minutes.
- When there’s about 3 minutes left, I put the weights down and simply dance (keep chair dancing if that’s your thing 🙂 ). I usually keep my fleece on to keep sweating (dress in a way that works for you), and ironically, once I put the weights down is about the time I start perspiring more profusely. I typically do my “twist” moves during this last stretch. Move over, Chubby Checker! 😉
- As soon as I’m done, if I can, I get into the shower to wash off whatever sweat wasn’t absorbed by my clothing. I like to wash the toxins away 🙂 It’s up to you if you want to actually wash your hair every time. I only wash my hair if it needs it. Otherwise I simply blow dry my scalp and neaten my hair afterwards.
So, that’s how I work my Basement Bops, folks 🙂 I find it’s a great way to begin the day ’cause it gets the blood pumping and wakes me up in a cheerful way, especially since I’m playing music I like. My doing it at least 5 times per week has also made a marked difference in the weight-loss arena!
If you consider trying something like this, you certainly don’t need a basement, and you only really need a few square feet since it’s not necessary to spread out. You can even do it in the bathroom and get some acoustic action going on 😉 Of course, the floor can’t be wet; you don’t want to slip. You need to be careful about how you do these things, being safe and considerate to yourself and anyone else, starting with how you dress (especially footwear). You also don’t want to be disturbing anyone in the household but, for that matter, you may have someone who’d like to dance WITH you 😀 .
…and keep a DJ-like flow is easy. Once you check out the actual playlists on the site itself, you may notice I’ve only chosen versions and songs that have no (or extremely obscure) offensive language, message or inappropriate content, whether it’s lyrics or visual. You can imagine how that narrowed my selection! I hope you find a good number of them you like and will use. The only real glitch is that, on occasion (typically due to copyright), YouTube will shut down a video. If you come across a “missing” video, PLEASE mention it in the comment section on the playlist page so I can try to find a replacement video with a working link. You can still use that playlist if you choose, maybe replaying a video to make up for the missing one, or you can move on to a different playlist for that day’s session.
Also, I would LOVE hearing song suggestions!!! I want more variety and KNOW there are so many songs my brain is simply not pulling up! So, if there are songs that make you want to dance, PLEASE post suggestions in comments here or on the PLAYLISTS page. I’d REALLY appreciate it—just mention songs and artists—NO LINKS, please 🙂
* Of course, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: this is what I do for me. It is what I’m comfortable with at my age and with my health conditions. I am not prescribing anything here. I am most certainly not a doctor or fitness expert by any stretch of the imagination, so should you like the idea and decide you want to try it, it is up to you to take whatever precautions you must before doing so.