Lessons on working out...

lessons for clara

Dearest Clara,

As the cold days of winter lift away, so do many of the layers that we became comfortable in.  The layers that keep us warm when the chill hits, but also the layers that provided just a little more room to hide under.  Maybe everyone doesn’t hide under them, but I do.  And as the weather gets warmer, I realize the extra layer isn’t always just in the clothes.  So in celebration of the more gorgeous days outside, and in anticipation of the layerless summer to come, this is when I get out and get moving.  Or at least I try to---the transition to a more active lifestyle isn’t always an easy one for me.  Here’s what gets me up and out the door:

  • Just put the clothes on: Once you have your workout clothes on, you’ll feel like a clown if you don’t make at least some of use of them.  Get up and get them on, and everything else will fall into line.
  • Make the time, figure out the money: The easiest thing to say is that you don’t have the time to work out.  Make it.  Figure out how to squeeze it in---walk to school or work, get off the computer earlier, take the stairs.  The second easiest thing to do is to blame it on money---new shoes, a gym membership,whatever is holding you back.  If you really need it, then you need to budget for it; but chances are, we look for things that we don’t need to make it easier to explain why we’re not doing something hard.
  • Find something you enjoy:  Anything that is going to take up time has to be enjoyable to some degree.  With workouts, that can get confusing because the starting in part is sometimes less enjoyable, so we stop doing it altogether.  For me, I learned to love swimming.  I love that I’m not distracted by music and TV and sounds and people---I love the repetitive notion of swimming and that I can’t tell if others are looking at me---and it’s become some of my most valuable thinking time.  Something about the quiet of being underwater . . . But see what works for you, find at least one active thing that you enjoy, but don’t give up on trying new things.
  • When in doubt, walk more: There are lots of fancy things that we can do to keep ourselves interested in working out.  And it’s good to give them a try and change things up, but chances are, a lot of our physical and mental needs could be met if we just walked a little more and sat a little less.  Do you  have the right balance?
  • No matter how slow you might go, you’re still running laps around the person sitting on the couch: I saw that on poster recently and it made me tie my running shoes right back on.  Running isn’t my most favorite exercise, but I love its efficiency.  I ran a lot right before you came along to get better at it, and then never went back because of how slow I had become.  But this reminded me that my speed isn’t want really matters, it’s dedication to movement itself.
  • You owe it to more than yourself: For a long time, I thought that working out and being active was just my business.  That it was for me to decide where and when.  And part of that is true---I can decide where and when, but the decision on whether to do it at all doesn’t impact only me anymore.  I want to be a good example for you . . . And I want to set myself up for the long run to be as healthy of a mother, daughter, wife, and hopefully grandmother one day.  Some things about our health will always be beyond our control, but for the things that are in our hands and our hands only, it’s a responsibility to take care of them.

All my love,