We all know that exercising is a pain in the ….
It all started back in 1988 at a Jazzercise class in Logan, Utah. I thought “How hard can this be? It’s a class where you dance around using your Jazz hands.” In walks our instructor and we started our first routine to the 80’s song “Just Got Paid” by Johnny Kemp. About half way through the class I felt like I was either going to die of a heart attack or die laughing because the Jazzercise moves were probably the most ridiculous ways I had moved my body in my short 21 years.
Through the years I’ve tried almost every fitness trend that has existed: Jazzercise, high intensity aerobics, bench classes, ab classes, Pilates, weight-lifting classes, spin, kick boxing, Barre, yoga, yoga sculpt (my personal fave), Orange Theory Fitness (another personal fave – actually it has become an addiction). I even taught high intensity aerobics to my co-workers at a psychiatric hospital back in 1990.
It has been a long and prosperous 28 years of exercise. ..And when I say prosperous, I mean to say that it has shaped me into the person I am today.
In 1989 I graduated from college, moved to Salt Lake City and joined the now defunct Spa Fitness in Sugarhouse, Utah. This is where I met “the girls.” A group of loud, fast talking, all talk at once, strong women. At first they scared me but they “voted” me into the group and I started to work out with them. From these women, I learned what is was like to exercise in an entirely different way and actually have a good time doing it.
We would start with weight lifting and then attend one of the aerobic classes that Jules, Toni, Jayne or Claire taught. In those classes, we had one participant – Barney always yelling out that we were on “FIRE”, then there was the great Peanuts song that Toni always played, Jayner had her “no brainer” moves, Jules always with the perfectly pointed toe and Claire with her carefully choreographed, complicated bench class. If you made one wrong move she would call you out.
We formed a very tight bond and friendship because we all found a common love of exercise. I gained confidence from being around “the girls” and moved on to running, swimming, snowshoeing, road biking, hiking, cross country skiing and my most loved sport – mountain biking. As a group, we did these activities together. We bonded, we had great times, we camped in beautiful wilderness areas and we formed a little tribe of women who loved to be fit and be outside.
I think the most glorious discovery about myself during those years is my love of mountain biking. It’s hard for me in the winter because I don’t like the cold, not a fan of snowboarding or skiing but mostly because I have to put by beloved bike away and wait until spring to get it out again. Mountain biking is a way for me to relax, to get out in the mountains and enjoy the wildlife. “Moosie hunting” (as I call it) is when I get out on my bike and look for those majestic animals. Of course, it hasn’t been all roses and chocolates. Back in the day I would go into work every Monday and people would stop by my office to see what I had done to myself over the weekend. I’ve had a lot of falls: scrapes, broken hand, hit my head on a low hanging branch one day, (not the same as low hanging fruit) and many endos over the handlebars. I was laughed at by “the girls” and when I got back up again and noticed all my limbs were still attached, I would always have a good laugh at myself too.
Now in my old age, I tend to walk down those trails that look a little hairy rather than ride my bike because when you’re not a spring chicken anymore, recovery takes a little longer.
After all these years, I look back at my life with an incredible fondness and love. If I had never met “the girls” or all the other incredible people in my life who love to move their body, I would not be the person I am today.
So, as you start out the new year with the resolution of “I will exercise more” or “I will start an exercise program” think about doing it with another goal in mind. Think about doing it with people you love spending time with, people who motivate you in one way or another. Think about exercising as a gift because some people don’t have the gift of movement like most of us. Don’t look at it as a burden of having to go to the gym and move your body. Whether it be walking, yoga, or a spin class, get out and move. Does the gym intimidate you? No need because honestly no one is looking at you – we are all too busy either looking at ourselves, in deep thought or breathing so hard that the outside world is merely a pea of distraction.
I love yoga and after every yoga class, we bring our hands to our third eye center and say “Namaste.” Namaste is a gesture of respect. For me it’s a respect for my body and every time I say Namaste, I thank the Good Lord for allowing me to move my body and enjoy all the pleasures in life it has given me.
We have this one body to take care of – and it’s the only place we have to live. So use your body to fulfill every dream and aspiration, whether it be out enjoying a walk with your dogs, riding your bike, yoga with your sweetheart, or a nice snowshoe. It doesn’t have to be timed, it doesn’t have to be a competition with others just get out and move.