Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Healthy Jaded Week: Physical Activity

Whenever people talk about getting fit, one of the main suggestions they make is to exercise. This is what I understood to be one of the main, if not most important, ingredient to turning my couch-potato ways around. And by exercise I meant the kind of workout that hurts and makes you sweat like a slave in the fields at high noon and leaves you sore and broken for days. I thought this was the only way to fix myself.

Let me save you some time and painful, IcyHot nights: that no pain, no gain motto is a farce.

I began my fitness journey with boot camp classes after being diagnosed with plantar faciitis and let me tell you- OUCH! I hurt from top to bottom not just from the workout but from my broken body parts, which included a bad back from having babies, bad knees & feet from poor footwear decisions and weight gain and a ball of tension strangling my neck and shoulders. I was miserable. But because I saw the pounds melting away I kept going, applying heat pads and buying all manner of devices to keep the pain at bay long enough for me to return to class. I even went so far as to take a painkiller. ME! I took a freaking painkiller!

At this time I was also taking pilates, yoga and socacize classes, but it was the brutal boot camp classes that were doing the most damage. Then, after having to purchase sleeves for my shins, which were throbbing in constant pain from boot camp, I decided there had to be a better way. It all felt counter-productive. I hated the workouts, hated going to class, dreaded the feeling I'd have afterward and that made it easier for me to quit. After all, constant pain and injury is a valid enough excuse for me to stop doing something.

Around this time I discovered Mark's Daily Apple, a website by the author of The Primal Blueprint, and his theories on physical activity helped me see that yes, I should listen to my body and stop doing bad things to it. I decided to quit boot camp right then and there, opting instead to continue the activities that brought me joy and allowed me to be in tune with my body: dancing and yoga.

After I left boot camp I still managed to stay in shape and lose some weight, proof that I didn't need to be in pain to fix my body. Also, my knees, shins and feet weren't in constant pain anymore so I started doing things like walking home from work and taking the stairs at least once a day. It was a whole new fabulous world for me and what you'd call exercise. Except it doesn't feel like exercise, to me. I'm just moving around to allow fresh blood to flow to all parts of my body and it's pretty awesome.

This is my long-winded way of saying find something that works for you and stick with it. Swim, jump rope with your kids, play basketball with your friends on the weekend or get a good sweat going on the dance floor during happy hour while everyone else is drinking. Or maybe for you boot camp feels right. Whatever the case, move for enjoyment and forget about what the scale will say as a result. And most importantly, listen to your body. It knows best.

*smooches...inviting you all to come dance with me every Saturday night*
you + me + the dance floor. be there or be square!