Friday, October 25, 2013

Leap through the Field like a Flippin' Deer

I love lifting heavy weights. LOVE. So much so that I forget sometimes that there are awesome health benefits, because it turns out I am not lifting for the health benefits. I lift because I love it. I would lift every single day if I could. I don't get tired of it, I don't get bored, it's like a game against myself that I can never lose.

I enjoy running once in awhile. A couple times a week at most. Any more than that, and I freaking hate it. It becomes a chore. It becomes stupid and I hate it. Did I mention that I hate it? I don't care what sort of health benefits may come from running, I only run when I want to. I will never run a marathon, and I am one-hundred-percent OK with that.

I like yoga. I hate Pilates. I love burpees, when they're all done and over with. ;) I love dancing, jumping, chasing my kids around the house and yard, taking them on long walks. I love being able to move with my kids, and pick them up, both at the same time, without getting (terribly) winded or pulling a hamstring. Most of all, I love variety, so I do all sorts of things, some things never more than once. I try it, and then go on to try something else. That's what works for me.

Back when I was in the painful, controlling grip of orthorexia and anorexia athletica, I ran out of obligation and compulsion. I ate salad and did Pilates for the same reasons: I had to change this body, force it into health and appropriate physique. It was a sad, and decidedly not fun, time in my life. There is a meme out in cyberspace that reads "exercise to reward your body, not to punish it." I like that. Because I am recovering from this and other eating disorders, FUN has become the foundation for how I chose to move my body. If it isn't fun to me, I am not going to do it. Period.

We all need to move our bodies to be healthy, no doubt. The health gurus without agenda will tell you to find a way to move that you love and do that often. (The ones with an agenda, the ones who are wrong, who shall remain nameless because life is too short to waste time talking about what I hate, they are the ones saying you have to move in a certain way, a certain amount of time, blah blah blah blah blah.) The thing is I am allowed to hate something other folks love. So are you. There is no sacred cow of exercise. Crazy, huh?

There is no virtue in moving your body if you hate the way you are moving it. I realize that is a blanket statement quite possibly not backed up by science, but in the grand scheme of things, why waste your time doing something you don't like? I did that, and I made myself all kinds of sick. If you are out there pounding the pavement because you need to lose some lbs, but you loathe every second of it, then stop and try something else. Skip down the road if you want to, leap through the field like a flippin' deer. Or walk. Try Zumba. Try lifting heavy weights. Tell those know-it-all buttheads gurus that what they really need is to take a long walk off a short pier. Quitting running, or not lifting weights, doesn't make you a failure at the pursuit of health. It doesn't make you a failure at anything. Going through the motions of an activity just because it has health benefits doesn't necessarily make it the healthiest choice for you, and doesn't mean you are enjoying any of those benefits.

When we listen to our bodies and move them in a way that we enjoy, there is a vitality, an energy, that starts radiating out of us. It is very contagious - in infects others, it infects us, making us want to duplicate the feeling again. Joy is very healthy for you, by the way. Being happy releases a LOT of endorphins. :)

I am not a medical professional, by the bye, and I am not telling you to ignore the advice of your doctor, if said doctor has in fact given you specific advice. But if your doc has said you need exercise, than find a way to move your body that you enjoy. Exercise doesn't just mean run, or lift, or spin. Move your body in different ways until you find one that you enjoy, or at the very least, don't hate and can learn to enjoy.

this is actually an impala, not a deer, but you get the idea. Leap through the field, baby!

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