Thursday, March 27, 2008

History of Exercise

Yes who thought I would write a post about exercise huh! But I was thinking about exercise the other day and how it always naturally played a part in my life. It wasnt until now, in my adult life, that it seems to be so hard to find the time. Cliche yes, but very true.

When I was younger, I was a swimmer. I looooved to swim and felt so natural in the water. My grandparents had a sailboat on a lake near our house and in the summer, I used to go to the lake and swim all day. Later on in high school, I ended up trying out for the swim team (didnt make it unfortunately), but was still very skilled and ended up helping the gym teacher teach the swimming class. It was just simply something I enjoyed.

I always disliked running though. I was never a runner. I am one of those people who doesnt have any arches in their feet, and it makes running painful and hard. I look like a duck, and was made fun of in gym class. Whenever we would play softball, no one would pick me because I could hit the ball, but never make it to first base because I was so slow. no one seemed to understand how hard it was! So running was never my thing.

Getting to college, suddenly there wasnt any gym class, but my campus was huge! I got so much exercise in walking around from one part of campus to the other. I made friends with some guys on the other side of campus and spend time walking to and from their dorm. I was getting in exercise without even thinking about it. Whenever I visited my boyfriend on the weekends (we were long distance the whole time I was away at school), one of our favorite things to do was go out at night on this trail near his house that was lit up with these lights and walk and talk. I was exercising without even thinking about it. I just did it, and enjoyed it.

It was about my sophmore year that exercise started becoming a "chore". or something that I had to work at. Sophmore year of college was when I started gaining weight. I was eating a lot of junk food, but then also eating so few calories my body was holding on to anything it could get (that is a WHOLE other story though). I hated how I looked, that nothing fit me right, and that my friends in the dorm were skinnier than me for once. I wasnt exercising, and I came home that summer unhappy with myself. I bought some "Hips and Thighs of Steel" video and did it religiously every night when I came home from work, really believing that I would go back to school in the fall with toned legs and thighs. But exercise doesnt do much when you dont eat right at all.

However, junior year I took Aerobics as a class for credits and LOVED it. we learned all about how our bodies work, and we tried different types of aerobics: kickboxing, step, something called "long and lean", and dance. When the class ended, I paid a membership to the fitness center to take all those classes. And I went for a while. Until I saw no results (again, eating the wrong food combats all hard work), and gave up. I got even heavier that year, and by my senior year of college (after a summer of working at a coffee shop and eating and drinking everything in sight), I was disgusted with myself. A friend started taking a spinning class and I joined her one night. I looooved it! I kept going until she kept bailing out on me. The fitness center wasnt close to my apartment (which was far off campus to begin with), and without her and her car, I stopped going as well. That was when I learned the importance of a GOOD fitness buddy.

At that point, I figured it was my senior year of college, I shold live it up. And I did, and by my graduation, I was 226 pounds. I hate looking at those pictures. That summer after graduation, I moved into my own apartment and worked at a plus size store where I felt ok being overweight, especially since I was the smallest person there. However, every time I looked in the mirror, I felt so horrible about myself. So I made the decision to join Curves. I liked the place a lot, and I felt comfortable there. It wasnt one of those gyms where I felt like everyone was thin and would judge me. However, after doing for a month or two, I got bored with the ciruit and how you couldnt deviate from what was there. I couldnt do the machines I felt like doing or for the length of time I wanted. So I quit. I had started WW around that time and though, hey I can do this without exercise.

And without exercise I was for a long time. I did briefly try going to the YMCA and use their machines, bu never felt comfortable there and their hours were never convenient for me. I quit there too. I hated exercise and felt that nothing was for me. Then over a year ago, I found yoga. It clicked with me and I felt connected to an exercise again. It didnt feel forced, it didnt feel hard to just come home and do it, it felt great. I kept that up for a while, but when WW started failing and I felt lost with my body and being healthy, I stopped it too briefly.

And that is basically where I was until a month ago when I jumped back into this whole thing. My time is limited thats for sure with work. And there are still some things, like running, that I wont do, because I know I dont like. But I have found exercise that I enjoy and I realize that is what it is all about. If you have read all the way through this (long i know!), then you can see I have tried a lot of things, but not since I was younger have I really ENJOYED exercising, or has it been natural. Now I have found a few things that I do enjoy: yoga, pilates, biggest loser dvd (where I can customize what I feel like doing and I like that). I even found a pilates dvd that does the positions to indie rock music (which is my fav type of music), and I love it that it is fun and enjoyable to me.

Its not the same as it was when i was a kid running outside playing "steal the flag" or swimming in the pool, but I am finally finding something that I can do when I find time in my busy life.


Holly said...

Thank you for sharing all of that! I really enjoyed reading about your background and relationship with exercise. I really do believe it is best to find an exercise that "clicks" with you because then it doesn't seem as much like exercise and you'll stick with it! So keep up the good work and doing what you are doing!

40 by 40 said...

Wow--just noticed the 40 lbs gone badges!! NICE!!! So glad you found something you like to do for exercise!!! What is that DVD with the indie music..I like that music too. It's great that you are trying out different things to find the right fit and it's great that you know your running (only when chased, I say!) If you like swimming, maybe when time permits you can do that too. I love it..very relaxing and I feel like I am working it all out. Go Heather Go!

HappyBlogChick said...

I'm glad you're back on the exercise. I'm so sorry to hear that work is so stressful and making it hard to have a personal life - that is SUCH a difficult thing - I've been there. I think the working out you're doing is amazing and wonderful. Congrats for finding the time so often, and finding exercise you enjoy.

Kathy said...

I was at my thinnest in college when I had to walk all over campus and was also at the hospital for my nursing classes and walking the halls. It was so natural that I never gave it a second thought. I had no choice since I was too poor to own a car. I sometimes wish I lived in a village setting which was more conducive to walking than where I live now. It would be great to walk to the grocery, drugstore, and library!

Poonie said...

This was a great post. We are very similar, I too was a swimmer as a kid and hate running. I don't see the point unless I'm being chased! It does get harder as we get older and life puts time limitations on us. But good for you for finding what you like and keeping up with it. It's all about learning what fits and what works for us right?

PS - I love the new pic, you are looking awesome!

barbra brusk said...

OH MY GOD. what a gorgeous thin woman you became.

your face is so thin and beautiful.

Katy said...

LOVE your new picture! You look sooooo GOOD! Thanks for sharing!

Scale Junkie said...

I have always hated exercise but I really enjoy walking when the weather is nice. I think I'm learning to love exercise because of the euphoric feeling I get after.

I'm so glad you're finding ways to fit exercise into your day!

Merry said...

It was interesting to read your take on yoga. We just had a guest blogger do a post (on Cranky Fitness) about yoga, and it started me thinking that maybe I'd given up too soon. I mean, if you go to one class and don't like it, maybe the problem isn't the yoga so much as it is the instructor or the setting. Your opinion confirms my suspicion that I should have tried again.
This was a very useful post; it helps point out what works for you and what doesn't. Very useful information!
(And keep going! Yay!)

Michelle said...

Heather, have you ever thought going back to swimming since you loved it so much growing up? I grew in a sedentary environment, so it doesn't even compare. I swam a little, played bball, volleyball, soccer... If I could just stick to one thing. Actually, I've been enjoying running these days. :)