18 July 2008

Exercise

So, I've taken up exercise again. Over the years I've been an on again off again exercise buff. When I was growing up I remember liking the feeling of my body in motion, the power and strength of the muscles and the ease and grace of flexibility. But I was too shy to actually participate in any exercise regimen, with the exception of riding my bike as much as possible. Instead I waited until I felt like I had the privacy I needed to work out, wishing I had the courage to just do it.

When I moved out of my parent's house and in with the man I was dating (who later turned out to be my husband, then even later my ex-husband) I wanted to do aerobics. I didn't know how to work his VCR so I asked him how to set it. He kept asking why without helping so I told him about a show I wanted to tape - Everyday Workout - and he laughed at me, saying it would be useless. I taped it anyway but didn't really shake his attitude about it and felt shy about following the show. I gave it up after trying to follow the program and hide in my own apartment (you know, curtains drawn, door locked, expected to be alone for a few hours) at the same time. I also found aerobics to be so difficult! Trying to get my arms and legs moving in different directions made me feel like a flailing banshee.

About six years later I took up flyer routes to earn extra money. This was just under a year after my first son was born (c-section birth, very icky) and I didn't have any strength at all. Just lots of fat. It took me an hour to complete my first route, a year after that my route size doubled and it took me less than an hour to finish it. I also found out I love walking in the early morning. I had to give the routes up when we moved into this house only three years later.

I wanted to walk again but somehow felt I needed external validation to do it. I got it about two years later - doctor's orders to exercise off the extra adrenalin in my system to keep my heart beating regularly. Oh my how I loved my hour-long morning walk! It was the perfect start to my day, it kept me in balance and helped me work off all the stress in my life.

The other thing I did was join a gym with a friend. Now that was a horrible experience. Turns out she was a very negative person and would berate me if I lost even a pound or was showing muscle definition. By the end of the gym contract I was going by myself, basically just to use up the time remaining. I really didn't like having to drive to go to a workout, or wait for a machine to be available, or feel like I was being watched. Oh, and she's not a friend any more. People who don't allow me to succeed are no longer allowed in my inner circle.

Then my marriage broke up and I had to get a job outside the home. I love the job I have as a scaler in a commercial bakery, but I start at five in the morning. That doesn't leave much time for walking anymore. I could adjust my start time, but I really do like getting off work at 1pm. Just not willing to give that up yet.

Around two years into the walking I started yoga as well. Perfect exercise for me! I am not at all coordinated so moving slowly in and out of poses is ideal. I loved the long, lean muscles I was developing and the return of flexible joints (funny how age stiffened me up very quickly). The reason I stopped was because the daily program I followed on tv went off the air and I just couldn't find something I liked as much :( I tried to do it on my own but found I was much more relaxed at it with a leader. I tried going to a class for it, but it was loud and crowded. Now I've found a program I like - Namaste - and I have the two seasons on dvd. So as often as I can I pull it out and follow one of the programs on the dvds. Every time I do it I am reminded of how much I like it :) I keep intending to make it a daily routine but I haven't been able to keep at it enough yet.

I also took up skipping :) Yep, good old-fashioned jump rope. I got this idea from my younger sister who has (admirably) taken it up in an effort to lower her blood pressure and get a bit healthier. Well, I figured if she can do it so can I, so I bought a rope and skipped away......for about five minutes before my heart felt like it would beat right on out of my chest. Starting a bit of a slower pace, the next day I was able to do about twenty minutes of skipping. Considering how much energy this takes, I don't do it every day. Or even every other day. I think I missed a whole week, but at least I do it :) I even time it so that I skip right after work before my shower, that way I can get all drippy (and I really do get drippy and puddly) and have a hot shower when I'm done.

So there you go, I'm doing my best to keep some sort of exercise regimen in place in an effort to lose weight and just be healthier. At least my boyfriend S doesn't laugh at me when I talk about it, he even thinks it's a good idea and is helpful about giving me space to do it :) He also has his own routine which, like mine, is off again on again :) I look at my two boys and see how youth is on their side. They are thirteen and eleven and blessed with healthy, fit bodies. As with many parents though, I watch what they eat and cringe. I know if I adopted their eating habits I'd put on the poundage fast.

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