I have a confession to make, I hate conventional exercise. Logging miles on the treadmill and elliptical are like slow torture to me. Maybe it’s because when I was young, instead of learning a team sport, exercise consisted of dance lessons for hours most every night, which I loved. Dance wasn’t exercise – it was fun. Not so, running around the track, chin ups and all the other tasks we had to accomplish in elementary school to achieve the President’s fitness medal. When I was young, even after those dance lessons ended, I was blessed with a fast metabolism and lots of nervous energy, so I could do little to nothing and not gain weight. My lack of fitness didn’t slow me down, I guess because I was young.
When I turned 22 , like most women, my metabolism turned on me, while I knew not exercising was no longer an option, not eating was so much easier. Since then, I have gone through continuous cycles of exercising and not exercising; falling off the bandwagon much faster than I get back on, despite the fact that I feel much better when I’m “on the wagon.” I have learned that not exercising, and not doing a variety of different types of exercise at that, can impact your everyday life in ways that prevent you from enjoying it and living it to its fullest. For example, while I was training for the Breast Cancer 3-day (a 60 mile walk over 3 days), I could walk 20 miles at a 4 mile per hour pace without problem, but make me go up a hill and I was struggling for breath in 4 minutes. Ditto when I hiked the Cinque Terra with my husband – a smoking overweight French guy was keeping pace with me!
A year ago I started taking pilates. I really like pilates, for the stretching, for the core strength, but not for the calorie burn which is less than 200 per hour. So cardio had to be added, and add it I did, 45-60 minutes of walking on the treadmill (I’ve never been a runner) 5-7 days a week at 4.4 mph and a minimum incline of 3. I was finally back on the wagon and then in June, I was rear-ended and was forced off . 2 1/2 months of forced inactivity led to weight gain, loss of strength and an overall feeling of sluggishness. I’ve received clearance to start exercising again (paying attention to how my neck and back feel) and encouraged to start pilates again, which I have. I want to get on the wagon for good this time, and I want to get to a level of fitness where I can join my husband when he wants to run a 5k, play tennis with my lil sis, or go on a hike instead of whipping out my inhaler and making excuses on account of very mild asthma. I ALSO WANT TO GET BACK INTO MY BIKINI!
The bottom line is the sedentary lifestyle that so many Americans fall into doesn’t just make us heavier, it makes us unable to participate in all the things life throws our way. So, I’m asking you all to make me accountable and hoping some (or all) of you will join me in a little fitness challenge – don’t worry we’re going to start real slow. Let’s set some goals and get to it!
- Cardio 5+ days per week, every week
- Strength-training 3+ days per week, every week
- Be able to do 20 non-girly push-ups (I can’t even do 1 right now)
- Learn a new sport – tennis for me.
- Run, not walk, the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure in Seattle in the Spring. Would love to be joined by all of you who are local!
- Lose the 15 lbs I’ve gained since moving to the Emerald City – not by not eating.
- Washboard abs (one can dream).
Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 4 days per week. We’ll officially start on Monday, but feel free to start earlier – I am.