Anytime & Anywhere
My childhood days mostly took place throughout the 1990’s when the Nintendo was advancing in popularity. As much time as I spent with my siblings and cousins playing on it, we spent even more time in the great outdoors. After school we played sports, rode bikes, and climbed trees. And on the weekends my whole family and I would swim in our backyard pool or would explore around our city that was both surrounded by city and sea. We took drives out to the near-by beach town, went crabbing and fishing, and we would fly kites. Though it wasn’t the biggest city, there were so many things to do and my parents were great at bringing us all up as active kids who enjoyed being outdoors.
Back then technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today and I’m grateful for that because it wasn’t devices with screens I wanted as presents but sporting good equipment to play with outdoors. I grew up to crave movement and outdoor activity. This has much shaped who I am today as a personal trainer in the fitness industry. My work is known for basic, functional bodyweight activity, bringing it back to what I grew up with. I teach my clients that they do not have to travel far and wide for an effective work out. Sometimes the best work outs are right in our own backyard, local park, or home. I train the majority of my clients in their apartments or in the park. Outdoors we use what we can utilize as fitness equipment: rocks, monkey bars, stairs, and trees.
The great thing about training outdoors is that these fitness tools are ubiquitous. And it’s not only free of charge, but being outdoors can be freeing in mind and spirit. I enjoy hearing stories from my parents of their upbringing and their invention of outdoor games for entertainment. I like to even think way back in Jesus’ time the physical movement involved. There were no means of transportation other than riding a donkey or walking by foot. We were made to move, at anytime and anywhere. And when we move and exercise we strengthen our bodies so that we can better serve the kingdom of God. Therefore exercise shouldn’t be so hard or complicated as many assume it is. We’re all wired in different ways and may enjoy distinct ways and times to exercise, but we’re all also wired with one purpose - to honor God with our health. Exercise can also be a way to worship God. For me it’s being out in his creation of nature moving the body He built for my spirit.
Recently God showed me that while exercise can happen anytime and anywhere, so can sharing my faith. I was a missionary in Brazil throughout the summer of 2009 and last year I had it on my heart to revisit the mission field. At first I thought this meant traveling overseas again. But after reading the book, Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis, I realized our mission field can be in our very own neighborhood wherever that be. I found an organization in the Bronx that helps combat poverty and preaches the name of Christ and have served with them for over a year now. Just as it is with fitness, mission work can happen wherever we are and at anytime. I realize we don’t need to travel far and wide to be efficient missionaries for God. There are people right outside our doors He is calling us to love and serve.
There can be many attributes to my developed love for the outdoors, adventure, and physical activity, be it my family upbringing, being a child in the 1990’s when technology was not yet big, or having the right resources such as a basketball hoop, pool, or tall trees to climb just right outside the house. But I think despite the circumstances or right resources any person can see their neighborhood as their playground. All gifts come from our God above and if He’s given you the gift to move, that’s all you need.
|Nikki Espina is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist in New York City. She specializes in outdoor and home training and believes fitness is the ability to move, exercise, or train anytime, anywhere, using anything. Aside from her certifications and specializations, she is thankful to be a GoFit Advisory Board Trainer and Indo Board Enthusiast. You can visit her website at www.reactsperformance.com|