Thursday, February 18, 2016

Agnostic about fitness

I have a confession: I don't really like "exercise".  Let me explain.  I do a lot of fitness activities, and get more than the recommended daily exercise, but I don't like doing the same thing day after day after day and trying to "get fit" or healthy or thin or whatever.  It's just so...boring.  So, I decided a long time ago to stop exercising.
The only thing I do each and every day which technically counts as exercise is walking.  I don't do it because it's healthy, I do it because it's something really fun which the Munchkin and I can do together.  Some days it's long walks, like down to the creek (probably about 4 miles round trip--not that the Munchkin walks the whole thing, it's a mixture of me carrying her in the Ergo and her walking/running) and other days it's short walks, like just to the park at the end of our street.  (We did that one twice yesterday, with a long time at the playground both times of course.)

My munchkin puddle stomping on one of our walks.
Why would we let the rain keep us indoors?
I love biking.  Love it!  But if I had to do it for the sake of exercise, I would stop almost immediately.  There are days and times when I have loved going for long rides all by myself.  I used to have a 15 mile loop in Fairbanks that I did on the regular during the summer.  But that wasn't "for exercise", it was for fun.  I love biking as a group, with friends, or to get places I want to go anyway.  When I'm biking that way, any fitness I get out of it is purely a side benefit, waaay down on my list of reasons to bike.
In the last month or so, I've started weight lifting a bit.  I've had a kettlebell for a while and used it off and on, wanting to do more but not wanting to pay for the gym or spend the money to get my own weights.  When my brother left for parts unknown he gave us his free weights to use while he's away, just two adjustable dumbbells.  And I'm really enjoying it.  It might be the only thing I do purely for fitness, although again I have a larger goal that's not about the fitness per se.  I want to be strong enough to keep up with what my child needs.  She still wants to be picked up about 45 million times each day, and I need to be strong enough that that doesn't break down my body.
Also, I want to be strong enough to keep up with her in the coming years.
Also, the results be damn girl, like whoa.  Even after a month-ish, I can see and feel a difference in myself, and so can HusbandX.  The fact that I get to eat more now?  Gravy.
I do yoga occasionally, because stretching is good, it's light enough that I can make myself do it even when I'm sick or tired, and I can do it while doing something else, like watching a movie or show with HusbandX.  Also, it's relaxing and I could really use that right now.  But most days, yoga is not what I want or need.  It's nice to know it's in my arsenal, but I'm never going to become a yogi and do a daily practice.
I also run.  Again, I'm not at all regular or religious about it.  There are times when I've gone out five days a week to run and loved it, and times when I've done it once or twice in a month and hated it both times so I stopped for a while.  The times when I've most needed running, it tends to be mostly about my mental health, about needing to get away and do something meditative, something positive for myself.
Today was a running day.  I broke down this morning over the fact that my tea had been moved and I couldn't find it.  Things are being put away in the kitchen in increasingly random places, and I'm the one who tends to quietly go about putting them back where they belong so everyone can find them.  But it's hard to see one more symptom of my mom's illness, to deal with it on a daily basis.
I need about a month of good sleep, but I'm not going to get it anytime soon.  The book "Go the Fuck to Sleep" was written for and about kids like mine.  Last night, though she was so exhausted that she was melting down by five, she was still awake at 9:30, stubbornly determined that she wasn't going to give in to sleep EVER!  Then she woke up before eight this morning, and then my caffeine source was missing.  I haven't slept well in days, and if I take a nap in the afternoon it just means that I lay awake at night, unable to sleep.
So today was a running day.  Not because I'm super healthy or because it helps my brain, but simply because that's what I needed today just like I needed the brownies I made last night.  (I was skeptical--black bean brownies?--but we're almost out of flour.  These turned out to be both easy to make and delicious.  Good enough that I'll make them again even when we're fully stocked with flour.)  I often wonder how people who shun exercise can possibly be mentally healthy, and then I remember that not everyone is made as active as I am.  (I have sometimes wondered if I have ADHD, and much of the recent press about girls being under-diagnosed has brought up symptoms which fit with my childhood, but which I thought were just problems with ME.)
The last few times I've run, I've been plagued by knee problems.  This is something which only flares up with running--not a single one of my other activities hurts.  (Apparently I should try foam rolling, because advocates of it speak up the same way CrossFit-ers and vegans do, and attribute the same number of miraculous health benefits to it as the other groups do.)  But I think that this is one of the benefits of being an agnostic when it comes to fitness: I can move on to any of my other activities and I'll be all right.  Today was a running day, but tomorrow probably won't be.
So for others out there who are easily bored by one fitness routine: try them all.  Find the ones you like best and mix them up.  I've tried doing some of those 30 day challenges and get bored or distracted around day 5.  If you're like that, don't force it!  You'll hate it and then think it's because you hate exercise in general.  You don't, you just haven't found the right thing yet.  And before you think I'm trying to advocate that everyone suddenly become as active as I am, stop right there.  I don't, but I do think that most people could benefit from being a bit more active, in whatever capacity.  My old boss does belly dancing, and I think that's awesome.  Her girls do roller derby, and that's just as awesome.  I know boxers and bikers and runners and walkers and I think it's fantastic.  The important thing, in so many ways, is simply to be active.  Get out there and move, even if it's not your usual fitness routine.  If you're too tired for one thing, try another.  You'll thank yourself later on.
Also, eat brownies without shame.  Because NOM!

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