Let me just preface this by saying I've always been overweight, fairly active and physically strong. But I've recently entered my forties, and I've definitely lost some muscle over the years.
I used to bike 40 minutes a day, five days a week -- not because I love biking (though I do) but because I hated commuting by bus. But in February I moved and the bike ride to work is 7 measly minutes. It's better to walk it, because then it legitimately feels like a wee bit of exercise. Biking for 20 minutes now feels much harder. In just 7 months, my fitness level has significantly decreased. Grrrrrr!
Since I started tracking exercise on Spark, it's apparent that all I do is bike and walk. I want to do strength training, but I don't ever seem to get around to it. Really, I'm afraid of it. Yep.
I am stretching more, so that's a plus, and I asked a friend to go to a Zuma class with me. But I'm scared of classes! Scared of being the jiggliest, most uncoordinated person there!
But wait! I've done things I'm scared of before -- yes I have! I've taken classes before (but water aerobics with the geriatric crowd isn't as intimidating. No one can see you sweat, and half your body is covered by water.) I took dance classes for three years, which was scary at first (and performing was always scary!) But I was in a troupe called Big Dance, so all the ladies were jiggly.
The point is, I know how to push myself, surpass my own limits, and I like vigorous exercise. I've also taken taiko drumming classes, and I'm hoping to join the local troupe in September. Now there's a workout for the arms and back! I love to hit things really hard!!!! And making music at the same time? BONUS!
So I read blogs by by these CRAZY AMAZING Sparky exercisey people (yes, that means you, Erin) and I get all inspired. But the fear remains, and there's some reason for it. I have health issues and my joints can really hurt sometimes.
When I biked 40 minutes a day, my back hurt less. Just getting that blood really flowing keeps the inflammation down. And walking, even walking rapidly, isn't providing the same benefits.
Three friends and I are doing the 5K walking program; we're in week 3, and when we're done we're going to do a virtual race with a picnic at the end. Fun, right?
And I made this BEAUTEOUS poster board for my 100 day exercise challenge. It's all rainbow-coloured with inspirational words and flowers and such. Every day I write my numbers and the type of exercise I did on it. I get a star sticker for walking and biking. But if I do something different, (maybe some strength training…? maybe someday…?) I can put on a DIFFERENT sticker.
Stickers remind me of being a little kid. We didn't have a lot of money, and stickers were a very special treat. I craved them! I wanted every sticker they had at the toy store, but I could only get a couple…. So when I went to the dollar store to buy stickers for my challenge poster, I went a little crazy. Okay, a LOT crazy. I have stickers with tropical fish on them, stickers with the sun and moon and planets, airplanes, musical instruments, dragonflies, frogs…. YAY!
On day 5 of the challenge, I went running! On day 5, I put on a special sticker!
Okay, it wasn't much running. It was like 40 minutes of walking and 5 one-minute intervals of running. But it's a GOSH-DARNED START! And I did it. And my back feels good.
I was embarrassed to run in front of other people. WHY SHOULD I CARE WHAT THEY THINK OF ME? If they judge me harshly, they're judgemental jerks, so screw them.
But old ways die hard, and I was embarrassed that I'm not one of those girls whose ponytail bounces as she strides along barely sweating. I'M NOT ONE OF THOSE GIRLS…but maybe I could run a bit. So I did.
And then I ran again. It was hot, I got sweaty, and my belly made an embarrassing smacking sound as it flopped around.
And then I ran again, even increased the length of the runs. And then I did some strength training.
And I looked at my sparkly, shiny, sticker-laden poster and was filled with joy. I went running. Shame and fear didn't stop me. I went RUNNING!
These are my changes. This feels right.
There are these words I've always wanted to hear from someone else, but when I've heard them, I never believed them.
Now I'm saying them to myself: I will take care of you.
I finally believe it.