I am certain that at no point in my life anyone has ever considered me to be a fitness fanatic. In fact, as a child I was considered ‘The Princess’ and my sister was ‘The Tomboy’ (I abhorred the princess label and everything it embodied but that is another post). I loved school but loathed gym class. I have never been able to understand the allure of sports of any kind – neither as a spectator nor a participant. Equestrian sports were an exception but only because – OMG, horses!
I took swimming lessons – hated them – still avoid going in to pools, lakes, rivers etc. As a child I had a bike – begged my dad not to buy it for me but he insisted – my only memories of ‘riding’ it involve falls and collisions. I have always loved hiking, if time was not a factor I would always, always, choose walking over any other form of transportation – but I don’t run, ever, for any reason.
I have one particularly vivid memory from junior high Math class when we were learning to collect and graph data. For data collection the teacher chose to test everyone’s grip strength (here you can learn more about why you’d want that info and how to test it). I stood at the front of the class for what felt like an eternity while the teacher kept insisting that I ‘try again’ and muttering about lowering the class average. Seriously, 16 pounds was my maximum.
So, even though I’ve never been ‘athletic’, I have also never been sedentary. In fact, I have trouble sitting for very long at all. I’ve only been to a movie theater twice in the past 35 years – not because I dislike movies – but because they don’t have movement breaks and they disapprove of me standing, stretching and pacing during the show (like I do at home when I watch TV).
As I *sigh* get older I’m finding winter to be more and more difficult each year. Yes, I do some yoga, shovel snow and go for occasional short walks but it is nothing compared to my spring/summer/fall activity level when I spend the majority of the day playing and working outdoors. This winter my husband suggested maybe we should get a treadmill ‘because I like walking’… Ummm, NO! I won’t like walking on a treadmill with no birds and trees and other things to enjoy. He has always wanted a treadmill so he didn’t have to go hiking outside – not me!
Still, I was interested in checking out some other types of workout equipment beyond the basic stuff I had at home. We went to look at some exercise equipment. Of course he liked the treadmills – I did not. He also liked the exercise cycles – I wouldn’t likely fall or crash if it was stationary but I doubted I would be motivated to use it. I did find the elliptical machines interesting but hubby’s doctor wouldn’t recommend he use an elliptical.
We live in an old house with limited floor space and a very low basement ceiling height – we definitely don’t have room for good quality exercise equipment nor can we afford multiple machines to satisfy both our interests. I began to think maybe we should consider something more than what we could do at home. So, I suggested maybe we should join a gym… I know, I laughed too when I said it. We did some research and decided Snap Fitness was our best option.
We’ve been going to the gym four times a week for two months now. I’ve completed my first fitness score test (since high school). I’ve learned some things like;
- I look forward to going to the gym – even feel a little disappointed when it’s not a gym day. If there was a gym closer to my home I’d walk there every day – driving there is the only deterrent.
- Working out regularly makes me sleep so soundly every night – it is amazing.
- My heart health and muscle endurance are better than I would have expected but my flexibility is surprisingly poor.
- For the first time in my life I am intrinsically motivated and stubbornly optimistic that I will improve my physical strength.
Childcare is a physically demanding job and I believe physical fitness is important not only as so I can do the required work but also so I can be a good role model.