Ok, I do belong to a gym. Yet workouts are hard and I’m not a huge fan of sweat. But I do it because it is important for so many reasons. It helps osteoporosis and bone preservation. It is also can help delay the muscle loss that starts at age 30. Exercise burns calories, but more importantly it strengthens the hormonal communication that keeps a person feeling full and stops them from storing excess fat. And as we all know, cardio is excellent for the heart.
There are those that are athletes. They take to athletics young, continue with their sport through adulthood and never need to be prodded or urged to workout. They are able to make the time for exercise no matter what life throws at them because they love it and because it is a priority.
That has not always been the case with me. I’ve tried being a gym rat but failed miserably. Somehow, spending hours on an elliptical machine didn’t give me the results I wanted but did succeed in boring me. I tried jogging. Surely all those people I see running morning noon and night must be onto something. I made it about a mile. I then traded in my running shoes for rollerblades. I wiped-out before I fully stood up!
Finally, I had an epiphany. I’m not by nature an athlete. At my core, I am a creative-type, having been an actress through my childhood and early adulthood. What types of exercise do I enjoy? That would be exercise that isn’t just repetitive but where I actually get to create something.
I first realized this as an adult taking figure skating lessons. Now, learning to figure skate as an adult is admittedly somewhat humiliating. You are in a rink with 8-year-olds leaping to the left and right of you while you are struggling to glide on one foot. I grew up far from any ice skating rink and put on ice skates for the first time as a teenager. I liked ice skating because it involved more than rote exercises. I got to put moves together and make up little routines.
I then tried some dancing classes. My goal was not to be the next Misty Copeland. My goal was for better movement, to become stronger and to challenge myself. I really saw a lot of changes in my body from dancing, especially my abdominals since everything is supported by your core.
Next I tried ariel hammock. The first thing I have to say about that is that I’m terrified of heights. The next thing I have to say is that I had so much fun. I loved challenging myself and I got to put on a little show. Again, the creative aspect of exercise distracted me from the fact that I was working out.
So that is how I got into shape. I’m still not a great runner and I still get bored on the elliptical machine. That hasn’t changed. You don’t get to change who you are. You can change your approach. Doing so worked for me.