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As a kid, I hated all forms of exercise. At school I could be relied upon to have a note excusing me from anything that might cause a bead of perspiration to get squeezed from my brow.
I clung to my exertion aversion like a badge of honor through my teens and most of my twenties. Exercise celibacy was my way of life and it suited me.
But then in my thirties, things changed. I wanted more. That is, I wanted more calories burned to offset my slowing metabolism.
I flirted with various forms of working out, but I was half-hearted and uncommitted and sadly, the dalliances never went anywhere.
Then in my late thirties, exercise and I re-discovered each other and, in a tender moment of sweat, in a softly lit group-exercise studio, we consummated our relationship. Love bloomed.
If you loathe exercise and can’t imagine a future when you could possibly like jumping around and getting out of breath, then I hope you’ll take comfort from my story. Because now, in my (geez, really? already?) mid-forties, I exercise 5 or 6 times most weeks.
Exercise and I are in a long-term relationship.
And, most disturbingly to my younger self, I like it.
This is the weird thing that happens with exercise. Once you find a form of movement that you don’t hate, and you push past the initial excuses, then you find yourself experiencing a kind of pleasure.
In fact, several kinds of pleasure:
- If you go to a class or gym or exercise with a friend, then there’s friendship.
- Your brain chemistry helps out with endorphins.
- You get better at it, so you feel more confident.
- You start to get fitter, more flexible, more toned, so you like your body more.
- You begin to lose weight, so there’s positive reinforcement for doing your exercise.
The thing is, it’s really only awful for a while. Sure, the first few times can be awkward and sweaty and there are limbs in strange places. We’ve all been there. But it gets better.
The tricks are:
- Choose a form of exercise that fits your personality and preferences – a ‘you-friendly exercise‘. This will greatly increase the chances that you’ll be compatible and will stay together for the long term.
- Be prepared to compromise. Let exercise have its way with you even when you’re not in the mood. Be there for exercise. It will foster long-term harmony.
If you’ve been exercise celibate, or a wantan workout flirt, and have lately begun longing for something more lasting, then perhaps it’s time to give exercise another look. The two of you were meant to be together.
[Image by andrewmalone]