One of my friends asked, “Mary, how can I ever get to love exercise? I hate it.”
I was contemplating the answer, and first have to say that I hated to move or exercise until I woke up to physical fitness and health after meeting my husband in 1971.
I was 19 years old, weighed 15 pounds more than I do now, smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and if my feet were not made for walking, my only exercise was going back and forth to the hospital or walking to shop.
Steve was a runner since high school. It was part of his daily routine and he couldn’t imagine not exercising. He also hated my smoking. We fell in love and I decided to get active.
One day, I went outside to the track and just started running. I can remember coughing a lot and not truly enjoying it right away. I also was sore for days after. I stayed with it and before long I was running 3 miles around the track.
As I continued running, I began to enjoy the feeling of a good sweat and also noticed that my weight was stabilizing. I could enjoy my food more and had a more balanced appetite. Exercise became a habit that I could no longer do without.
The smoking was another thing. I did quit for Steve, but that didn’t last long. I went back to smoking on and off in between pregnancies and eventually quit for good when I was 30. It was at that time that I became an aerobics instructor.
Exercise has been part of my life since I was 20. I have been a runner, walker, enjoyed bicycling, cross-country skiing and dancing including aerobic dancing. As I became more interested in my inner fitness, I started doing yoga. In my career I have taught aerobics, yoga, fitness and conditioning and now teach more about spiritual fitness.
The point is I can’t live without it. It is part of my being. It is like brushing teeth and when I don’t exercise I feel it all over. I feel sluggish, full, digestive constipation, mood swings, and low energy. When I exercise I feel light, refreshed, my digestion flows, I am happier, more energetic and while my body benefits, my mind feels more clear.
So – all I can say is you have to get out there and move your body in a way that fits your lifestyle and your interests. Running is a burden for many, while walking feels natural and with the accompaniment of a friend can be more about a relationship than exercise. Some people like the gym and others would rather exercise at home.
Probably the easiest way to make sure you are moving is to buy a pedometer and get out there and walk, or if you are active cleaning and running around in your normal daily work and activities, you may just need a short walk to get to the goal of 10,0000 steps. 10,000 Steps a day is equal to about 5 miles of walking. If you do that everyday, you may find that exercise becomes intrinsic and easy.
I will continue to write about the Joy of Exercise is future blogs. For now it would be great to hear from you.