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Singing the praises of kettlebell fitness

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I despise all exercise machines, including treadmills and ellipticals.

I like walking, I like running, there is definite pleasure to lifting other kinds of weights. But I love kettlebells.

These cannonballs with handles look like some atavistic throwback to the 1700s, when they were developed for use in the Russian army.  They became popular in North America in the beginning of the 21st century but have been a real sport in Russia since the 1960s.

The asymmetric shape of the kettlebell lends itself to swinging, squatting, deadlifting and the classic clean and jerk, with either one hand or two; even holding two kettlebells at once. I’m not sure why but there is something incredibly satisfying to me in swinging a heavy kettlebell. Currently my record is swinging a 60-poundkettlebell a total of 225 times, in 15-swing increments over the course of an hour-long class, and deadlifting 80 pounds.

I am woman, hear me roar.

A good kettlebell workout is weight training and high-intensity interval training rolled into one, so when you’ve finished a session you don’t have to do anything else. That’s an important plus for people with busy lives, especially moms. You lift, you swing, you squat with different weights according to your abilities, and your muscles respond with love.

I’ve been playing with kettlebells for a couple of years now, and I’ve had people tell me I look younger — I’m certainly in better shape than I was in my 30s and early 40. To be fair, I produced three children in seven years during that time, so I’m not too hard on myself. I’m hoping to escape the batwings of my heredity, or at least reduce them severely. The nether parts of the female anatomy also respond well to this kind of exercise.

It’s not just vanity, though. It’s great to be strong and healthy in everyday life. I can pick up a potted coffee plant that’s as tall as I am and put it out on the deck without any help. I have lifted my fourteen-year-old, much to his chagrin, so I know I could get him out of a burning building, God forbid. My mother lost her battle with the complications of diabetes at the age of 69 and that is not going to happen to me.

So who wants to come to kettlebell class with me? I promise we will give you a small one to start with!

Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog.

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