Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On Exercise

I used to be able to engage in physical pursuits. Athletic competitions. Active hobbies.

During high school, each year come spring, I went out for track. It is such a forgiving sport because one competes individually. Even when a person does not place, he or she always has a personal best time or distance to try to better.

Later I was on the cross country team when I was a freshman in college. I found it exhilarating to see myself able to run increasingly further and to continually better my time on the shorter runs.

I also did aerobics on and off during those years. I remember once being so pumped up during a work out that I was grinning ear to ear, as I imagined that I would never, ever stop exercising regularly. "It is just so much fun and so healthful. I don't understand how people allow themselves to get lazy."

Ah, those were the days, I guess. I have now reached the grand old age of forty. I have had nine babies. I have been either pregnant or nursing a baby for the last 15 years. I manage a household, albeit ever so haphazardly; and I home school my children.

I guess I have to admit that I have allowed myself to get lazy. At least regarding actual exercise. I am fairly active around the house.

Oh, one more memory. I remember at the time I was trying to decide on a career path, the biggest obstacle I kept running up against was, "How active can I be at this career?" I just never could imagine a job I had to be inside all day or sit still for any length of time. So I guess God led me to motherhood and it is a good fit as far as those qualifications go. I am busy all day long and often end up outside for chunks of the day.

But I find myself making a variety of excuses not to exercise. It is too cold. Too windy. I don't like indoor exercise. I don't want to change into exercise clothes. It's hunting season; someone might shoot me...And so it goes.

I have started (once again) walking and doing pilates. See, I have to tell people this to give myself some accountability.

I live in a very rural area. Very flat. One of the excuses I have used since I have lived here is, "It is soooo boring to just walk half a mile one way and then return."

So now I have a new goal. I would like to get to the point at which I can once again run four miles. Then I could have four choices, just thinking of the four directions I can go around a block (square mile) from here. And I could vary it more by some days going two miles one direction or the other and then return. Or I could go a mile in either direction and then turn either direction for a mile and then reverse my path.

And so I begin to get a whole lot of variety just by increasing my distance to four miles. But it has got to be at a pretty good clip. I just can't afford the time to pamper myself with a four mile walk very frequently.

And once a person can run four miles, it is easier to vary the distance also. So it is conceivable that I could even go further periodically for even more variation.

I guess it is a goal. Something to work toward.

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