So often throughout my life, I have looked at getting exercise as a chore to be performed—rather than looking for fun ways to take care of myself. So my main strategy as I’ve been changing my habits from sedentary to active has been to find things that are fun to do, and then keep doing them.
This past week, I’ve gotten more exercise than I have in ages, and all of it has been fun.
I took a trip to Silver City for a board meeting of the New Mexico Press Association. My mom is visiting from out of state, and she went with me, since neither of us had been there before.
There was a Clay Festival going on in Silver City’s beautiful downtown area, with live music and fun events going on. We walked close to 6 miles Friday, just seeing the sights. We stayed on the fourth floor of a hotel. I was resting in the afternoon when I had the oddest urge to run up and down the stairs of the hotel. I did that about half a dozen times, until my legs were burning. I find it odd that this was fun—but it was.
The next day, we took a side trip to the Catwalk Recreation Area about an hour outside of Silver City near Glenwood. That was an easy hike which featured the chance to jump in Whitewater Creek. Fun!
I did break from my usual restriction of sugar Saturday morning, when I was asked to help judge a mud pie contest that was part of the Clay Festival.
My sweet tooth is wicked at night, but not in the morning—and I never eat pie for breakfast. But that’s what I did Saturday. That was also fun, and the biggest thing I noticed was that all of the pies except for one were way too sweet—my tastes are changing. It was all I could do to sample those four pies.
Back at home, the next day my daughter, who has turned out to be the most motivational workout buddy ever, took me to the track in Edgewood for some more exercise. Most of my enjoyment there was in hanging out with her, but this is not a detriment in my eyes. And I love it that now she pushes me to work out more than I push her!
I even had fun Sunday afternoon preparing my meals for the week. Deciding what the menu would be, prepping my snacks, making each meal balanced and beautiful to look at, all of that was enjoyable. Knowing that I’ll eat better this week, and save lots of money while doing so, made it even better.
Also over the weekend, I got a new fitness tracker—this one is the Leaf. I loved my Fitbit, but it quit working, then we scrambled its tiny brain somehow trying to reset it, so it would no longer link to my app or computer. The Leaf is a tracker you wear as a bracelet, or necklace, or like a brooch. Playing with the new tracker has also been fun, even though so far I liked the Fitbit better.
I know this column gets repetitive. That is largely because changing habits requires ongoing application of what I already know. It requires going back to Square One, over and over and over again.
I could quit writing the column, and I could quit trying so hard to get fit. But that lack of accountability to myself is what got me to a state of being overweight and unable to walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing in the first place.
Quality of life is important, and so each week, I push on, looking for what sticks, discarding what doesn’t work. Coming back to things I discarded earlier and trying them again. Trying new classes and revisiting old classes.
I’m looking for what works.
One of the most fun aspects of this past week’s efforts was climbing out of the creek after going for a dip. The rock was nubby, pretty steep, and wet. I found my handholds, found my footholds, and used my legs to lift myself—just like I learned at the rock climbing gym. Realizing that I have new skills, and that I’m far fitter than I was previously—now THAT is fun.
Do you find joy in getting exercise? You can reach me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.