Zip-lining made her realize fun can help with new year's resolutions

Even with a less-than-stylish crash helmet, zip-lining among the treetops in Costa Rica made Charlotte grin — and made her realize yoga comes in handy.

Photo by Logan Mabe

Even with a less-than-stylish crash helmet, zip-lining among the treetops in Costa Rica made Charlotte grin — and made her realize yoga comes in handy.

So here we are at the end of January, and if your new year's resolutions are fading as fast as just about everybody else's, this might be a good time to review why you made them in the first place.

Maybe you wanted to drop a clothing size, get off your medication, stop that smoker's hack, or just do whatever it takes to get your carping doctor off your back.

All worthy goals, but if none of them are quite working for you, how about this one: having more fun.

This thought occurred to me last week as I was suspended from a couple of slender cables strung between two trees 1,500 feet apart, high above a ravine in Costa Rica, just east of the Pacific Ocean.

Okay, so this may not exactly be your idea of fun, but stay with me for a moment.

This was my first attempt at zip-lining, and it most definitely will not be my last.

Here's how it works: You are strapped into a body harness, which attaches to a double cable by way of a pulley mechanism that, my ever-romantic husband noted, is heart-shaped.

After you're briefed in the basics of getting going, slowing down and steering, it's literally up and away you go. Our guides at Parque Aventura, about 90 minutes outside the capital city of San Jose, were highly reassuring, making it clear that they were there to bail us out, should we have any trouble.

All was well until we hit the longest of the eight runs. I think I was a little too focused on the view. I mean, river, trees, big sharp rocks — how could you not look? Anyway, rather than keeping my right hand loosely around the upper cable to steer, I gripped a little too hard. This had the result of stopping me a few yards from my destination.

So there I was, dangling, trying to remember what to do.

Oh yes, I thought, turn your body around so your back faces the landing platform. Then haul yourself in by gripping the cable hand over hand, sort of like on a jungle gym.

Or just hang out and wait to be rescued, but that seemed a tad humiliating.

So I turned and hauled, quickly returning to the platform and cheers from my companions. And as I did so, I sent out a silent "thank you'' to my yoga teacher and her relentless insistence on all those poses we hold until our arms shake and collapse.

I thought I was doing yoga for the sake of serenity and a cranky lower back. I hadn't imagined it would also help me have a blast at high rates of speed in Central America.

If zip-lining sounds like fun to you, I was glad to discover there are opportunities closer to home, in Central Florida (check out www.FloridaEco-Safaris.com for details).

But even if your idea of a great time keeps you solidly on the ground, why not try connecting your health goals with your fun goals? Maybe you want more energy to play with the new baby in the family. Maybe you've always thought inline skating looks like a good time. Or kayaking.

Bottom line, try letting fun, rather than fear, be your motivation, and see where it takes you.

Zip-lining made her realize fun can help with new year's resolutions 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 3:30am]

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