I didn’t realise how much I liked something, until I couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve had a nasty chest cold for three days, and missed out on doing my scheduled “Week 2, day 3” session of Couch to 5K. I’m really not sure how I could fall in love so quickly with an activity, especially one that is “exercise”, but something really changed in me recently. I’m not sure what the turning point was, but one day I downloaded the app onto my phone, put on running shoes and went out the door.
Here’s the kicker: I don’t like running. Ever since I was a dancer in high school and my knees starting dislocating regularly, I cringed at the thought of anything high impact. I’ve been fortunate that cutting out step dancing has eased the strain on my knees as an adult. Still, fourteen years after leaving the troupe, I hadn’t replaced dancing with another suitable aerobic activity… until now.
My background in theatre and being an expert bullshitter has allowed me to finely hone my excuse-making skills. I have great metabolism. I get plenty of exercise in acting and movement classes. I take the stairs. I don’t overeat, so I don’t really need to work any of it off. I’m too busy. I don’t have the money to join a gym. (And my favourite) My knees are really fragile, so I can’t push myself.
Then I had kids and I got *really* lazy. Lazier than I was before, if that’s even possible. Even the majority of my excuses weren’t any good. I wasn’t taking acting classes anymore. I lived in a single family home… no more apartment building stairs to walk up once a week and pretend it was exercise. My schedule became a lot more flexible without school commitments. I had a moderate income that would allow me to join a gym, or dance class, or buy DVDs. (And my least favourite) I was older and my once-amazing metabolism was turning to crap.
This past year has been challenging to say the least, but one of the major lessons I’ve pulled out of it is that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. I deserve to be happy, I deserve to feel good about all aspects of my life, and I want to be the best I can be for myself (and for my amazing little ladies). I’m tired of feeling tired. My migraines are out of control (again!). I lose patience with my kids way too easily. I’m a terrible role model. How do I expect my girls to make being active a natural, normal part of their lives if they don’t have their primary parent showing them how?
So I got off my butt, I asked for support from my family and close friends. I got out of the house, and I can’t believe how big a change it’s made already. On top of small surprises (lost two pounds the first week; my stomach is already flatter), the major benefits are amazing. Taking 30 minutes of “me time” every couple of days has made a huge change in my patience level with the girls, and to my general well-being. I get a huge feeling of accomplishment every time I finish a session. When I’m upset or frustrated, going out for my run/walk usually turns around my mood. I have more energy. I’m sleeping better. I pay more attention to what I eat.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of them all: I feel in control. Empowered. My knees might eventually turn on me. I might not be able to do this type of exercise in the long term, but I’m proud that I’m at least setting myself on the right path.
I feel better already.