My husband loves running. He lives for the beautiful days when he can run the 5 miles to the dairy farm down the road, around the trails, and back home. He loves the thrill of cutting time off a particular route and he welcomes the pain that running brings. He would run daily if he could.
I run? If chased by a bear.
I’ve tried several times during our relationship (ten years, people) to pick up running. He insists that it gets easier after the first few weeks and has patiently jogged beside me, cheering me on and motivating me by humming the Rocky theme as I force myself to
run jog just… one… more… lap. It’s never stuck.
Last month, I swam laps twice a week for three weeks in a row only to then catch a horrible cold and lose my momentum. A year ago, I made it weekly to a wonderful yoga class – until the positions put strain on my bum kidney and I had to bow out.
It seems there is little routine exercise that I ever commit to, despite knowing how good it is for my back and how important it is to not only be heart healthy but also to set a good example for my girls. And everytime I try to begin anew, I end up kicking myself for not doing enough and eventually quit.
This morning after dropping the oldest at preschool, and after a very long night with little restful sleep and a very cranky toddler, I sat at a stop sign and pondered which way to turn. Left to the walking trail? Or right to my probably-still-warm coffee, a blanket, and some tv with a snuggly toddler. I should mention I was still in my pajamas and it was 34 degrees out.
It wasn’t my slightly snug-fitting pants or my achy back that made me turn left. It was my mood. I have been irritable and anxious. I have caught myself wanting to hibernate and to lose myself in the next season of The Good Wife.
And so I forced myself to walk today. I even did a little jogging. And something happened after 3/4 of a mile. The urgency in my steps eased. My shoulders relaxed. I smiled at the baby’s antics as she picked up leaves and attempted to sign me their colors instead of fretting at how she was impeding my progress (good god, how is it possible for someone who moves so fast to walk so slow?). I lost my worry over the oldest’s first bus field trip without me and I felt ready for the day to begin.
Whey do I always forget how powerful fresh air (even cold air), sunshine, and movement are in lifting my mood?
Which brings me to my title. I hate exercise. I won’t ever love the activity, the challenge, or the pain. But I do love the results. It is a vital component in my self-care and it helps to manage my mental illness. So though I am not committing to being a runner, a biker, a yogi, or a swimmer, I am committing to move every day.
Especially if it means I can wear yoga pants more often.