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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?!



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the breakthrough!

Although kids need lots of fresh air and exercise during the school day (because humans really aren't meant to sit still all day long), I think conventional PE should be an option open to kids who work well with that sort of setting, and that there should be alternatives (such as walking groups, dance classes, aerobics, yoga, etc) for kids who don't do well in a PE setting.

Myself, I found that PE left me with a lifelong loathing for any form of organized sports or group physical activity. It was walking around the town my first college was in that made me remember that I like being physically active. I just hate sports, is all.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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