I’m learning to like it

October 22, 2011

Apparently, once you reach your mid-30s you can no longer rely on youth and genetics to keep your blood pumping through your veins and your body from falling apart. 

Over the course of the last year, several health care professionals have told me that I need to start exercising. 

In my case, it’s a problem with bone density and posture.  I’ve inherited a propensity towards hunched shoulders and small bones.  I’ve been told I need to ‘strengthen my core,’ whatever that means. 

Something called ‘weight bearing exercise’ is the recommended treatment.  Sounds like a form of torture to me.

It isn’t that I don’t like being active.  I love going for long walks and playing in the back yard with my son. 

Although my garden didn’t look like it this year, I love gardening and being outside. I don’t do well with down time.  I like to be busy.

And it isn’t that I shy away from hard work.  I don’t mind getting my hands dirty.  I used to think I didn’t like to sweat, but that isn’t really the case. It isn’t the sweating that bothers me.  It’s sweating for no apparent reason. 

Working out has always seemed like a giant waste of time to me.  Treadmills and stationary bikes are like roads to nowhere.  

If I have a destination in mind when I set out for a walk – like the ice cream shop, say, or a sprawling vista at the top of a mountain – I have no problem going for a walk. 

And I’m very eager to run under certain circumstances, such as if I am being chased by a bear, or a giggling five-year-old with a squirt gun.

Conceptually, I understand the many benefits of exercise.  I know it is good for me.  I know it’s supposed to give me more energy.  I know people who exercise routinely are said to be happier, healthier, more well-rounded.

But as I’m spinning my wheels on the road to nowhere, all I can think about is all the other things I could be doing with my time.  My house needs dusting.  Laundry needs to be done.  Photos need to be organized.  My toenails need a trim.  I have paint to watch dry.

With each passing year, it gets harder and harder to stand up straight.  If I don’t do something, in a few years I won’t be able to straighten up no matter how hard I try. 

I know it is time to address this problem.  But don’t expect me to be happy about it.

It’s been two months since I began attending a Pilates class. The instructor is friendly and knowledgeable.  My classmates are lovely people. 

After so many stubborn years of eschewing exercise, it is begrudgingly that I admit that I might enjoy my Pilates class… just a little.

I bought yoga pants and recently paid for eight more classes.  I’ll follow through at least that long to justify the expense.  Two days a week I stretch and twist and sweat, for the sake of my son, my husband and the doctors who want to see me stand tall.

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on October 22, 2011.