I have a confession to make. I actually feel much better when I exercise. Shocking, right? Someone please alert the media.
The problem is I have to have exercised for me to realize this nugget. It’s safe to say that I don’t think I’ve ever regretted working out... all two times. Seriously, I so envy my friends who manage to go to the gym or run or hike several times a week as if it were some goal that they can achieve yet is unattainable to me.
Last spring, after sitting on a flight with a fitter-than-fit Army Colonel who had just run a marathon with his wife and a 5K with his six-year old daughter (he starts his kids young), I challenged myself to work out 45 of the next 90 days for at least 30 minutes a day. I managed to do 40 workouts and it was amazing how much better I felt. All the crap about having more energy, focus, etc. is true. Damn it. I also begrudgingly like pushing myself. Six years ago I trained for and ran/walked a half-marathon for the Leukemia Society. That seems like some long ago fantasy.
I’ve learned this much about myself: if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, I’m pretty much not going to do it. I have spent many a day in my workout clothes convinced that at any minute I’m going to hop on the treadmill or put in one of my Wii workout DVDs, and then, before you know it, I’m changing into street clothes to go out or my PJs to go to sleep.
I’m so disciplined in other areas in my life and yet this one area eludes me, despite reading every story that talks about how being sedentary is now as harmful as smoking and I’m cutting years off my life because I’m not walking on the treadmill for two hours while I work (note to self: trying using the little attachable treadmill desk you got again) or at least walking about while I’m on the phone.
I keep hoping that I can land one of those articles where the magazine pays for a trainer and every month you do a little column about your improvement, but then I remember you have to print your starting weight and measurements and post in work out clothes three sizes too small and I lie down and take a nap.
I wrote earlier this year about trying to get back into shape and I generally do something at least twice a week, but it’s not nearly enough to stave off all the sitting and getting older and chip-eating, so once again, I’m going to put in writing that for the rest of the year, I want the discipline that having to file this blog every single day has brought me to spill over into the exercise area. I’m traveling off and on the next several weeks and my treadmill is on the fritz (yes, I already have the repairman coming), but when I get back, I’m going to buckle down and maybe even commit to another 45 workouts-in-90 days. Hell, maybe I’ll be really ambitious and try for 60-in-90.
I was on the swim team and on a soft ball team when I was younger, but I stopped both of those around 12, as many girls going into puberty do, and exercise and staying fit was never a priority in my house. So many of my friends go on bike rides, runs or hikes with their kids; we weren’t that family. I wonder if it would be easier for me now if I’d remained active through high school and college?
Today I’m giving to Project Fit America, a program that helps underfunded elementary and high schools throughout the U.S. by providing playground and sports equipment and training programs to encourage kids to reach fitness levels. Maybe I should find out if there’s a Project Fit America for lazy adult writers.
July 18: Project Fit America
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