Creative Exercise: You Be Jillian Michaels!

exerciseThe holiday season has official begun—time for rejoicing, rushing, celebrating, shopping, giving, craziness and eating. Lots of eating.

This seemed the perfect time for a post about creative exercising. While her TV persona was a bit much for me, I enjoy the monthly workouts that Jillian Michaels does for the Curves exercise system (no, this is not sponsored—I really do them). One of the things I enjoy is that the routines change monthly so I don’t get bored—and if there is an exercise I really hate I can tell myself it will be gone at the end of the month!

But with the variety comes a certain strangeness. In order to have a variety of exercises, the routines continually combine and recombine exercises to create new moves. For example, here the second exercise combines a plié and a hop. Just hit the advance button to see it. The fifth one combines a squat with jabs. It’s tiring! You can find other combinations in there if you explore.

Some of the combinations are even odder. Those of use who have been doing the routines for a while have joked that we think Jillian puts a collection of moves in a hat and randomly draws out two to combine each month. And then I thought, “Wait a minute, that’s not a bad idea!”

Morphological synthesis, one of the class creativity strategies, combines two dimensions in multiple ways to create new and effective combinations. Why not use it for exercise? So here’s a challenge for PE and Health classes, or anyone else talking about fitness. How about having students list as many basic exercise moves as they can think of, including warm ups for any sports they play, and then combine two—or maybe more—to create a new exercise? If you want more variety, add some basic animal moves to the collection, kicking like a donkey or stretching like a cat. Have students name their moves and then see how they might put them together to create the best full body workout. You’ll have fun, practice combinational thinking, and maybe inspire someone to have a healthier holiday season.

Enjoy—and if you come up with moves you love, do pass them along. I can use some new ones.

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