July 16th, 2009

Starbuck Weightlifting

New Paradigms Around Exercise

This is an entry from my SparkPeople blog this morning:

One of today's SparkBlog entries is "Do You View Exercise as Punishment or a Health Benfit?" -- and it was a pleasant feeling to reflect and realize that I no longer automatically think of it as punishment.

I'm one of the millions of kids who hated PE class most of the time. I hated calisthetics, was embarrassed by team sports, and generally would much rather have been in the library. Rather than giving me "a good grounding for lifetime health and fitness," PE class taught me at a very early age that I was not athletic, and that I wanted to stay as far away from gyms and sports and other physical coordination activities as much as possible.

I think that may be the first time that I've understood that clearly: that PE was counterproductive for me, and established poor attitudes about exercise that stuck with me for 30 years.

Today, at age 44, I can honestly say that although there are definitely exercises I would rather avoid (jogging and aerobics classes leap immediately to mind), there are several I honestly enjoy:

Trail walking
Weight Lifting -- especially with a personal trainer
Nia Dance
Martial Arts

I don't think of the long list of "health benefits" in the SP blog entry when I think of these activities, I think of having fun and feeling good in my body -- two experiences my adolescent self would have found very hard to believe.

Tonight I'm going back to Nia class for the first time since my knee injury. I've also looked up Tai Chi schools in my area, and hope to start classes soon. (I earned a second degree blue belt in Tae Kwo Do many years ago, but no longer think the high impact forms are good for me.) I need to go over to the little gym here at my apartment complex with the attitude of "Oooh, what kind of fun can I have here?!!" instead of "What kind of physical exertion and possible embarrassment would I experience here?" I want to get a weight bench so I can have greater flexibility in my workouts here at home.

I guess my bottom line response to the article is my surprise that there are exercises which I don't think of either as punishment or as "health benefits". They're mostly *fun*.

Who'd've thunk?!
Wolf Spirit

Article About Divorce and Marriage

From a friend's locked post, where it seems to be causing significant controversy:

An article from The Atlantic on divorce and the author's suggestions for alternatives to traditional marriage: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200907/divorce

My friend wrote that everyone on her F-list seems to hate it.

Personally, I liked it. But then, I'm a die-hard romantic who has a very cynical attitude toward traditional marriage.

I recognized more than a few elements of my own former marriage in the article, plus those of a couple of friends.

Marriage is an idealistic institution which I think most people would really like to have unfold as per our cultural dreams. The reality, however, seems to fall short far too often. Promising to stay together "until death do us part" sets us up for failure in a world where we live far longer than our even recent ancestors, with far more complex lives.

Personally, I think that there need to be more socially-acceptable ways for people to pair up -- or triad or group up -- to create domestic/sexual/parenting alliances. It will make life a lot easier for a lot of us, including kids.

My biggest twitch with the article was her dismissal of "open marriage" as a failed idea which most people find "icky." In fact, more and more people are embracing polyamory as a healthy way of acknowledging that long-term monogamy is not always the best relationship model for all people. It's not for everyone, but neither is monogamy.

At it's core, marriage is a very private and personal institution. No one can truly understand the full dynamics of someone else's marriage. I would never try to prescribe what marriage "should" be for everyone. What I advocate for is opening up our cultural sensibilities to allow for more legitimate options in the area of personal unions and family-making.
Qos Inverted

Writer's Block: Childish Pleasures

Name something you love but feel like you should have grown out of by now.



I know it's awful on all kinds of levels, but when I was a kid going to McDonalds was a huge treat, especially when done in the company of my favorite aunt and uncle. Spending kindergarten through third grade in Pullman, where they had no McDonalds, made it an even more desireable treat when we visited them.

My taste for it has been diminishing over the past few months as I've made some lifestyle changes. . . but it's still something I enjoy far too much.

Return to Nia!

Tonight I went to my first Nia class since my knee injury sidelined me. (I got the permission of my physical therapist first.)

It was great!
In fact, not only had I forgotten how pleasurable it was, I was delighted by how quickly the moves came back to me. I had a bit of trouble with a combination step, but other than that, I remembered both the techniques and the patterns/rhythms.

Now I'm feeling pleasantly sweaty, with my whole body stretched out and alive.

Can't wait for next week!

Here's a video that does a good job capturing what a class can be like. Tonight's routine was much slower than most of this.

I'm also working on adding tai chi to my schedule. I like trail walking, but I'd like to get involved in more activities that get my whole body involved in a systematic way.

Now for a late, light supper and then some Buffy with Wolfling.