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work-out. work out?

April 21, 2011
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(image taken from here)

Is it working-out, or working out? With or without a dash? Regardless of grammar, it’s good to wor…exercise.

I used to not exercise at all. Physical activity of any sort in high school was non-existent, maybe due to the fact that the two schools I went to didn’t offer physical education. I was really involved in theater, though, so does acting and moving set pieces on and off stage count?

First official year of university (I say that because I wasn’t classified as a freshman; I entered university with 60 credit hours from taking college courses while in high school) and I actually did a lot of “exercise”. Everything from playing ultimate frisbee several evenings a week to running around campus in the early hours of the morning. I even attempted to use weight machines in our itty bitty gym. I lived on campus so I walked to all my classes. Every so often, I would join a few girls in my dorm and do the Billy Blanks tae bo video.

I transferred to another school for the remainder of college and I had bouts of exercise. I did run with some guy friends on a pretty consistent basis but that was about it. I was never a fan of going to the gym because I felt self-conscious of exercising and using machines in front of others. Dabbled in a couple of 5ks here and there. Ate like crap because I was a college student.

Fast forward a little bit more and I still didn’t have an exercise routine. It was more like, exercise a couple of times a week for a few months and then stop. Feel bad for not exercising and then get busy with schoolwork or with life. Repeat.

Thankfully I married a man who is pretty health-conscious. Now, he would be the first person to say that he is not perfect (as he drank his weight in Mountain Dew during his college years and probably consumed as much junk food as I did) but as he’s gotten older, he’s realized the value of being healthy – with proper nutrition and exercise. That it’s more beneficial now to eat healthier and exercise than it would be to eat processed foods and not do any physical activity – two things that would just lead to future trips to the hospital. The husband has been instrumental in helping me with my eating habits (i.e. gently coaxing me to put down the fried chicken leg for the umpteenth time and introducing me to vegetables like spinach and asparagus). And over the years, he’s helped me to realize the importance of exercise, whether we’re out walking in the park or doing an exercise DVD. I admit though, it’s only been this past year that I have absolutely been consistent. And while I’m no superathlete, I am quite proud of myself for having stuck with running and exercise. So what have I learned?

(Please remember I am not a superexerciser, nor a dietician. I am just me.)

  • to eat healthier (a plus: this has aided me well in my running). But to also not feel bad when I indulge in things like popcorn shrimp and fries – dinner last night with my running class! Moderation and balance is a must for me.
  • when to push myself and when to take a rest. Overexercising is NOT good. There is such a thing as doing too much.
  • I truly enjoy running, especially when I’m running with friends.
  • I need variety – like doing kettle bells one day and doing a ballet conditioning DVD on another day (I just started doing this DVD and I love it).

And you know? I can always learn more. For my readers out there who enjoy (or wanting to learn to enjoy) exercising, here’s a great article for you by Yahoo Health (where that fantastic picture in the beginning of this post is from):

The 5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes

What about you? What have you learned about yourself in regards to exercise? Or, if you are not exercising, what are your goals to help you get “there”?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura G. permalink
    April 21, 2011 7:27 pm

    I think that our exercise and health paths have been different but they are similar at the same time. I was very active in middle school and high school. I played volleyball competitively and ran in track until 10th grade. In college, I worked hectic hours and fell into the same pattern as you: work out some weeks and not others but felt the guilt. Working out had become a chore, not something that I liked to do. I ate pretty decently until….graduate school. In graduate school, I fell in love and found my voice but somehow in finding certain parts of myself, I lost others. Even now, working out isn’t fun. I can’t seem to stay motivated and I fell discouraged…often. I am 20 lighter than my heaviest weight (which is still way too heavy) but I am struggling to lose the pounds. I try to be healthy in what I eat and what I do but I am not consistent. I do find your posts to be an inspiration. It lets me know I am not alone in my struggle and that there are success stories (like yours)! You found balance. That is what I want…balance!

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