exercise
Health & Exercise

My Love/Hate Relationship with Exercise

Do you know that great feeling you get when you’ve finished something you were dreading?  That’s how I feel after exercise.  I’m glad when it’s done.

Exercise is not something I naturally enjoy.  Most of the time, I have to force myself to do it.  I’ve never achieved the endorphin state where you feel euphoric and almost become addicted to that feeling.  Nope.  Hasn’t happened to me AT ALL.

OK, that’s the hate part of this.  What do I love?  Well, as stated above, I love when it’s finished.  But I also love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a good walk.  (Walking is my current form of exercise.)  I love how it makes me feel refreshed and good about myself.  I feel energized and ready for my day.  (My preferred walking time is first thing in the morning.)

I know it’s good for me.  I know I should be doing it.  I just can’t always motivate myself.  It’s like any habit – the more you do it, the easier it is.  My problem is getting started.  There are just too many other things I’d rather do.

Exercise over the years

I’ve tried a lot of different types of exercise over the years and actually enjoyed what I was doing.

In the 80s, we had classes at work in our wellness center.  I took a step class (remember those?), which I really enjoyed.  Having a regularly scheduled class made it easier to keep it up.  But I probably still didn’t put exercise first.  If another opportunity came up, I likely skipped my class.

In the early 2000s, I joined Curves.  It was close to home and it only took a little over 30 minutes.  I liked the resistance training the machines offered.  I assumed at my age, it was good for my bones.  I’d also walk a little bit to supplement my Curves workout.  I was so disciplined for a while that I even visited a Curves when vacationing in Florida!!

But my Curves location closed and I had to find another place to go.  It was farther away, so it was more difficult to motivate myself to go there after I got home from work.  I stopped going.

Then my old Curves location opened up again.  Yea!!  I started up again and was going regularly.  I still tried to walk as well.

That location ended up closing.  Now the closest Curves is in Ames, about 40 miles away!!

Map My Walk

One thing we like in our neighborhood is the walking/running trails.  It’s a great place to walk and a good way to get to know the neighborhood.

Shortly after we moved here (June 2015), I started walking.  And I also started using an app on my phone that tracks my walks.  I love it!!  It not only logs all my walks, it helps me gauge how far I need to go.  I loaded the free Map My Walk app.  As a result, there are some features I don’t have access to, but I’m happy with just being able to track my walks.

As the picture below shows, it tracks duration, distance, and pace.  It also tells me how many calories I’ve burned, but I don’t pay much attention to that.

One thing I try to do is improve my pace.  16 minute miles are slow for me, but not unusual when I start.  I try to keep my average pace closer to 15.  And there are times when I’ve been under 15.  It depends on the route, the temperature, the humidity or how much I’m gawking!!  (The app has a pause button, so if I need to stop for traffic, or to pick up acorns for Brady, I don’t sacrifice my pace per mile.)

While I’m walking, the “voice” tells me when I’ve reached one mile, two miles, etc., and what my pace per mile was.  I love it when I reach the two mile mark, because it means I’m almost done!!

map my walk

After many walks, it’s easy to get bored with the same routes.  But I’ve also had days when I didn’t want to have to come up with a new route, so I would check my app to find the route I wanted to take.  I’d usually base it on the distance I wanted to go, as I have various routes that are for different distances.

In the summer of 2016, I usually walked 3 or more miles.  Last summer, I kept it to between 2.5 and 3 miles.  It’s a good distance for exercise and takes me 45 minutes or less.

I have to admit, with my vertigo, I get a little nervous at times about going out alone.  I just never know when it’s going to hit.  Sometimes I think about it and sometimes I don’t.  I’d like to blame my lack of exercise on my fear, but that’s partly why we got a treadmill.

Getting a treadmill

A little over a year ago, we decided to get a treadmill, so I would have the option to walk inside.  It’s a very nice one and I’ve walked on it a fair amount.  I can alter the speed as well as the level of incline.   There are even programs I can use to keep me on track.  I typically just use the manual option, and walk a speed that mimics what I’d do outside.  I generally walk 45-50 minutes.

We have a TV in our workout room in the basement, and now with our Dish Hopper, we can even watch things we’ve stored on the DVR, as well as Netflix.  But this winter, I just haven’t been able to get myself on the treadmill.  And I need to be walking!!

I wish I could explain it.  I know I’d feel better if I did it.  Actually, after our vacation, I thought I’d start walking again.  But every day, there are other things I want to do.  My days are already packed full.  How can I fit that in too?  It’s obviously not a priority for me.

Walking outside

I’m ready for nice weather so I can start walking outside.  I know once I get going, I’ll develop that exercise habit again and it will become a normal part of my day.  As I said above, I prefer walking in the morning.  If I don’t, it doesn’t get done.  I’m simply not that disciplined.  But until the mornings are warmer, I need to find a way to make myself walk in the afternoons.

I think once the sun is shining, the grass is turning green, and the trees and bushes start blooming, it will be easier for me to want to get out there.   I’m curious to see what’s new in the neighborhood!!!

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