Finding the path…..to regular exercise – December 23, 2011
Throughout my almost 35 years I have had infrequent experience with exercise. If you knew me in high school you may remember that I warmed the bench during both volleyball and basketball seasons for a couple of years. That lasted until I got frustrated with my lack of natural athletic ability, gave up, and quit the team. There was a time in my early 20’s that my girlfriends and I got into working out together and would do Tae Bo videos a couple of times of week. Those efforts were short lived and eventually ended. Then about four years ago my husband and I began to work out at a gym together in our attempt to get healthy. As a couple this season was our first real concentrated effort to regularly exercise. I remember getting on the elliptical for the first time and even though it totally kicked my butt….I loved it! It didn’t hurt my knees at all, it was like running in the air, and for once I didn’t suck at it. It was also in this season that we began to explore other avenues for exercise. You see my husband is a natural athlete; he was built for sports and has done some kind of sport the majority of his life. His natural abilities have always been quite intimidating to me when it comes to branching out and trying new things.
For example at this time we got the crazy idea to explore tennis together. We bought all the equipment we would need and top of the line none the less! Walking up to the courts on that first day I was excited, invigorated, and hopeful to find something I would love to do that would help me stay active. When we played I couldn’t get a handle for the racket, the ball was going everywhere, I was embarrassed, got a terrible attitude, and within the first hour just gave up. Are you seeing the theme? So my first day of tennis would be my last.
Then there is the roller blading story. Growing up as a teenager in the early 90’s I practically lived in the roller rink. I would go certain days throughout the week and spend the weekend there as much as I was permitted by my mom. I could roller skate forward, backward, race, and do the limbo (not too well but I did attempt on occasion). So as we considered exploring roller blading I felt confidence rise up within me that this was an activity I could master. You’ll find as you follow this blog that my husband and I rarely give anything less than 100% of our efforts, good or bad. So we bought the skates and pads and ventured off….down the driveway. By the end of the driveway I was already getting discouraged. It may have been the 20 years since I had roller skated or possibly the dynamic challenges of using a blade instead of 4 wheels but something wasn’t working like the good ole days. On our first day out I eventually made it half way down the street before plopping myself down in the grass of a neighbor, taking off the skates, and walking home in my socks completely defeated. PS. also as you get to know me you’ll find that I would NEVER walk outside and dirty up perfectly white socks so that tells you just how desperate and deflated I really was. Our next time out led us to a local park with a smooth walking path. I began with elegance and confidence; maybe my rolling days weren’t over, until….the path took a huge twist and just enough downhill momentum through me into grass a bloody and discouraged mess. As we walked back to the car I vowed to never roller blade again. If I’m being honest the fact that I attempted it the second time can probably be attributed to my acute awareness of how expensive the roller blades were and not wanting to waste the money more than any lingering interest in roller blading.
Four years ago our efforts to get healthy and exercise lasted in total about 6 months. It was not a total loss though as I did discover one area that I could enjoy well and that was working out at the gym. So as we move to the present the gym is where we started. If you recall from my first blog entry “Beginning the Journey” I had been on bed rest basically from June through August so once my doctor released me to exercise I began very slowly. I faced the natural battle that most of us do when trying to get motivated to exercise. I also faced remaining physical limitations from lingering medications and a healing body. This time I was determined to not quit! I decided with God’s help to explore a multitude of areas of activity until I found a few things that I would enjoy for the long haul. I have done the treadmill, elliptical, all kinds of machines. I have worked out with a personal trainer, gone swimming, played racquetball, and tried a bunch of classes. I went from working out a couple days a week to working out 6 days a week (because my husband & trainer are forcing me to at least take one day off). I can honestly say for the very first time in my life that I absolutely unequivocally LOVE to exercise. Maybe I needed to be lying on my back nearly motionless for 10 weeks to put down my defenses and really give it a chance. I have learned that I actually am good at several things and that gives me hope that there is so much more to explore. I have learned that Exercise is NOT Punishment. For years my perception was that I had to exercise as punishment for overeating. I have learned that even skinny people need to exercise. I have learned that exercise is a glorious gift from God intended by divine design to maintain good physical, emotional, & spiritual health. Yes you heard me correctly I making a bold statement here! God created the human body for exercise! In fact as we honor God with our body through exercise it is truly an act of worship and obedience. My exercise journey is by no means over and I do still struggle at times with thoughts of failure or discouragement. However, in those times I am learning to rely more on my Lord and “…press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil 3:12). I convinced that conquering exercise is part of God’s plan for life and it is only in allowing Him into this area of my life that I will truly reach my potential in Him.
Thank you for allowing me to share my personal exercise journey with you today! If you’d like to collaborate on todays theme with me here are a few questions I had for you.
1. What experiences have you had with exercise in the past?
2. What is your greatest struggle in getting started or maintaining a healthy routine?
3. What were your thoughts on the statement I made “Exercise is NOT Punishment”?
4. Have you ever considered exercise as part of God’s plan for your life?