Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Exercise is a four letter word!

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will
sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Richard Stanley

Well, it’s about three weeks to Christmas so I decided it was time to get the tree and all the various and sundry decorations up.  So I put on some music (heaven forbid - not Christmas carols yet) rolled up my sleeves and started.  I decorate upstairs and my storage area is in the basement.  Its 16 stairs.  In my normal everyday doings those stairs are not daunting, but when several trips have to be made, especially several trips carrying totes and boxes full of Christmas decorations I start to feel it in my legs.  Of course, when putting up decorations one has to make sure the rest of the house is up to snuff and that involved more trips up and down the stairs to put throw blankets and cushions into the washing machine and dryer.  Okay … I am a little bit compulsive.  Putting up the lights in the window and the angel at the top of the tree involves a small stool … yeah … more up and down.  The job got finished; I had a hot shower, made a coffee and sat back to admire the pretty lights.  That’s when I realized my mistake … sitting down.  By the time I finished my coffee and got up to put my mug in the sink, the action of getting up out of the chair elicited an unexpected groan.  I had really started to ache.  My muscles are usually quite content to just lay there and do the bare minimum, but when they are unexpectedly called upon, they sure make no qualms about letting me know.  They scream at me and make my life very uncomfortable.  Their message is very clear … either use us regularly or let us languish into oblivion and give up on doing crazy things … like, oh I don’t know … moving!

I need to get back to exercising.

If you read my last post you know I used to belong to a gym.  Funny thing about belonging to a gym, you actually have to go and use the equipment to see any results.  Carrying around the membership card in you wallet just doesn’t add enough weight to even make it a resistance exercise.  I did go, regularly.  Now I can think of a lot of excuses not to go but my daughter made me!  The other funny thing was that I found I enjoyed it.  Who knew?  When my daughter’s schedule changed and we could not longer go together (that should probably read when she was no longer around to consistently shame me into going) I went only sporadically and then stopped altogether.  I still dutifully paid my dues though … that’s how I know a membership only works if you do!  Doing the math I decided that that money could be put to better use buying a piece of equipment for home.  My best friend M is a shopping goddess and she knows that I hate to pay full price for anything.  I mentioned to her that I was thinking about buying a treadmill and the next day she sent me an email with a posting from her community board at work offering a good used treadmill for sale.  I went to check it out and it was great.  I guess someone had purchased it and it soon became a very expensive piece of non-essential furniture.  Hmmmmm?  How does that happen?  I bought it.

Like a child with a new toy I used it religiously.  For about 3 weeks.  Then I found that I was an extremely creative person … creative in making up excuses that is.  Some of my favourite ones:

… I spent 20 minutes flat ironing my hair this morning AND I was not planning on washing it tomorrow morning AND if I work out tonight I’ll have to have a shower AND wash my hair.  Really inconvenient!

… I go downstairs fully intending to walk on the treadmill and there’s that whole load of laundry sitting on the laundry room floor.  How could I ignore it … better get it done now, or the dusting, or the vacuuming or anything else.

… The battery is low on my MP3 player
… I had to get groceries after work and now it’s too late.
You get the idea.

Since I am turning over a new leaf getting back into exercise is important.  You can eat properly, watch you portions, cut out all the bad food choices and there still comes a time when it is not enough.  Your body gets used to all the good eating and grinds to a standstill.  You just have to give it a kick start and then best way to do that is … ugh … exercise.

I truly do not know why I hate the idea of it so much.  When I schedule it into my day and start I always find that I enjoy it.  The bonus being that when I finish I realize that I didn’t die and there is an amazing sense of accomplishment.  It’s also a little me time.  A time when I do not have to worry about doing anything else, if I allow it that is.  Did I mention I am a little compulsive?  So I have to make it interesting.  I need to play little mind games with myself. 

The first thing I do is call up my “Work-out Playlist” on my MP3 player.  I actually have three playlists each with a different genre of music.  It’s quite an eclectic mix of music but all the songs have one thing in common; a distinct thump, thump, thump that keeps my feet moving at a steady pace.  A friend of mine listens to audio books while he runs.  I would love to be able to do that and actually tried it once.  It didn’t work.  About 10 minutes into my work out I realized I hadn’t registered a single word of the book.  So it was back to the driving thump, thump, thump of my music.

I should mention here that I like to walk.  But, I only like to walk when I have a destination.  That’s why I can’t just go outside for a stroll around the block.  That walk makes no sense to me.  I can walk to the corner store.  I can walk to the grocery store.  I can even walk 5 km to my girlfriend’s house, but I need a destination.  It motivagtes me.  It gives me a sense of purpose.  Of course, on a treadmill there is no destination.

Definite drawback!

So to make it interesting for myself I’ve given myself a purpose.  I picked a destination, one very, very far away.  I stuck a pin in a map and then Googled the mileage.  I have challenged myself to a self propelled journey of 3987 kilometres.  I say self propelled because I also have a stationary bike and I plan to intersperse walking with biking.  I have no idea how long it will take me to get there, but I’ll get there eventually.  I’ll keep a log of distance travelled and throw it in here every once in a while.  As of right now I am just about out of my immediate neighbourhood.

Stop laughing L I just started!

I guess what I am trying to say is do whatever works for you to get yourself moving.  If it starts out as a leisurely 5 minute stroll that gets a little longer every week, or if its taking an aerobics class (not high on the list of choices for me since I am extremely uncoordinated), taking a belly dancing class or Zumba or any other number of things, get yourself moving.  And trust me, it really does feel good when your done!

Oh, I almost forgot the TOPS weigh-in last night.

           I lost 1 ½ pounds.  Yeah me!!


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