Keeping Fit

I’m not at all sure why I want to blog about this topic. I’m the kind of girl who steadfastly refused to do the crunches the midwife recommended after giving birth. I figured that if one needed abs to walk (and when you have well and truly blown your abs giving birth, you realize that this is the case), then walking would strengthen my abs.

So I don’t go to the gym.

Basically, if it isn’t fun, I’m not going to do it.

A couple of weeks ago a friend asked if I wanted to go to an African dance class with her. She knows the instructor. It is held in a community centre rather close to my house (5 minute cycle ride; unfortunately downhill all the way, which means uphill all the way home and more than 5 minutes). So I said yes. It is great fun. This week the usual teacher was away and we had someone else. It was more of a workout than usual. And still fun. And it exercises odd muscles (like those ones between your shoulder blades).

The other thing I do is play basketball in a women’s recreational league. This is great fun. I’ve learned a lot and really improved my skills. And my teammates don’t seem to care that I don’t notice what the score it. The are practically jubilant if I score (not often; my personal best is 4 points in a game and yes, you get 2 points for a basket). And very encouraging. I’m the oldest person on the team and possibly the least fit. Others play Ultimate, run marathons, and that sort of thing. But no one minds. We have a blast.

I also take an Aquafit class at a local community recreation centre. Because I work for myself at home, I go in the day. I’m the youngest in that class which makes me feel really fit (though, quite frankly, some of those 70+ year old ladies are probably fitter than I am). Again, it’s fun. For some reason aerobics in the pool doesn’t feel as hard as it does on land. And they wonder where I’ve been if I miss a class.

For some reason it appears that everyone has a gym membership and exercise has become this chore that we all have to do. I don’t buy that at all. I cycle (not all winter like some in this household, but now the weather is better we’ll cycle more). I walk. I do fun things that are also good exercise. And I feel pretty good and am pretty healthy.

I don’t aspire to a particular sort of feminine figure. I’m a beer drinker and that has consequences. But I feel good.

Okay this is all starting to sound a bit preachy or something. Like I said, no idea why I felt like blogging about it. I’m going to go drink beer and knit. Replace some of the calories I burned off dancing and then cycling up hill.

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5 thoughts on “Keeping Fit

  1. I’m always bummed out that at every exercise class (or non-class) I do or go to, even though I invariably look fitter and/or am younger than several of the people, I seem to struggle more initially than other people. Then I found out that I have a “heart thing” — an anomaly on the EKG. The initial struggling, though, often very quickly turns into me surpassing those others in strength and endurance in most things I attempt. Very strange, I always think.

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  2. My office is two doors away from the dance studio observation window and I can see and hear people in gym classes all day.

    I’ve done the gym thing and the class thing and it took me a long time to realize that I hate gyms and classes. Now I cycle (first time today–my ass is very sore) and walk and play with the kids and don’t worry about it much.

    I still get body-angst every so often, but I prefer good beer and good food to paying to walk on a treadmill that promises tight abs but then doesn’t deliver.

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  3. I think for me the main motivation for exercise is mental stimulation and a less achey body. Nevertheless, I hate the gym. Everytime I have joined one I end up not going. I loved running, but running did not love my knees. Right now Mr. Knittiot and I are considering joining an Aikido Dojo. It’s something that goes beyond mere physical activity and it is a little more structured, which I seem to need. Also, we are both interested, which will help with the motivation for getting up and out of the house. It’s hard to commit to that monthly cost, however. We’re also planning on getting bikes and spending more time riding around our new city, which will be both good exercise and enjoyable. I still haven’t figured this thing out yet, but I know if it feels like a chore, I won’t stick with it.

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  4. After a childhood devoted irrationally to 3-hour daily gymnastics training, I had a melt down around 19 after I had broken my back in a fall. Having those months off, I realized I hadn’t had any “FUN” in years, not even when I won. I was miserable, and shut down. Of course, years of developing my cooking skills while sitting on my duff has not been a good thing, and I am not twice the woman I was in my teens!
    I have tried the gyms, and the classes, and HATE IT! I can’t even imagine the kind of self-loathing involved for long-distance runners. I much prefer walking and hiking, and rollerskating with my kids. I think I would enjoy that african dance class as well. I may no longer be svelte, but happiness I must more important in my book!

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  5. I – like a lot of Americans, I think – have essentially sedentary lives. There is little useful public transport outside of the major cities and most of the local communities are structured around driving distances that are not practical on foot or bike. So we drive everywhere. I have some neighbors who make a commitment to bike transport, so maybe it isn’t as hard as I think it is…but it is a challenge. I could bike to work, but I’d go through dodgy enough neighborhoods that I’m not going to.

    So I go to the gym. But I actually like it. I like seeing the changes in my body, I like feeling stronger than I did, I like weight lifting (that was a surprise). I don’t like cardio for the sake of cardio, and so I don’t do as much as I “should”.

    According to what standard I don’t know.

    But I’m looking for ways to add more activity into my actual life. It’s good to see one way of making it work.

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