Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Purposeful Excercise


I despise it.

The Workout.

Getting exercise doesn't feel like a chore when I'm doing something that I consider delightful. Gardening, an easy short hike, dancing (okay, not currently, but I used to!).

Doing this stuff on purpose is no fun. I went to a gym for a while. It was okay. The class was available before my kids were awake and before my husband left for work. I could get home just as he was leaving. It was at 4:30 in the morning. The class was called 'Boot Camp'. It felt the way it sounds.

I began feeling good about it after several weeks. Then, an impatient instructor called me out, was less than kind, and that same week, I found out I was pregnant. The doctor said that I had been at the gym long enough to call it 'regular activity', so I cancelled my membership.

A few years later, I came upon a low impact DVD workout that looked good. I used that for a few weeks, too. This time there was noticeable change in my posture, I lost several inches and any pounds. Then my littles became ill one after the other, until I became sick. This went on for a little more than a month. I didn't pick up the DVD again.

Recently, I remembered how well that particular program worked for me. Because it is in my house, I can choose the time. I can turn it off if I can't keep up. I decided to give it a go again. I've only been doing it for 6 days, but instead of doing it 3 day a week, and hoping that I don't forget or make some excuse, I'm going for a 30 day block.

I don't know if that's new psychology. I remember hearing that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, but that must be for things that don't take much effort.

Intentional exercise is awful. It hurts when you have no strength or endurance. You sweat. I know you're supposed to sweat, but ew. I mean, sweating over yard work supposed to happen, but weird jumping jack plies in the living room seem like they should be no big deal.

By the way, I didn't go buy a bunch of 'athletic wear'. I did, way back, purchase appropriate things to wear at the gym, but I ended up sleeping in them over the years. Now I just roll out of bed to the living room and do the routine in whatever I have on, plus sneakers.

Guess what? It works. No one is looking at me. Not that anyone was watching me before, except that one instructor, but because we are sorry humans, we always think we're being judged.   Also, I don't have to drive home with sweat drying on my skin. I can just roll right to the shower. And I know the towels are clean!

I know I've blogged about this before, but it's been a few years. I'm sure I'll blog about it again. And again. Because I always have to start over, or try harder. Again, and again.

What do you have to keep restarting? Reading your bible? Being kind? Eating healthy? Serving others?

I wish that purposeful exercise were the only thing I have to re-start. I'm bad at ending well. I just want to end things. Some things, though, don't end until our bodies do.  I'm always reviving a relationship. Most often with Jesus. We'll be in it to win it for a while, then I drop the ball. I don't read scripture or pray with regularity for a while, then someone will encourage me, and I'll begin again. Even just a few days away from that regular, purposeful exercise causes bad things to happen. I become tempted to do or say things that I've said or done before. Finally I can see it happening, and recognize that I don't want to be that person. I don't want to gossip, or loaf around when there are things to be done. I don't want to make poor food choices, or shout at the children.

All of those issues require purposeful exercise to change. There are things I can do to ensure different choices, and, often, better outcomes. It requires diligence, though. And not on my own. I can do it by myself for some amount of time. Or, I can concentrate on a couple of things and, under my own control, I can make some changes. but not all of them. Only Jesus can help me with that. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide me. And he does.

When I listen, when I make myself open to hearing, and willing to understand, then I am prompted to make wise choices. It's still a choice. I can always choose my own way, or whatever feels better than the whatever the prompting is. I can choose to be purposeful in my excercises, or I can choose to ignore what will help to make me better than I was yesterday.

What are you being prompted to improve? What is the purposeful exercise that you need to work on? because we're humans, currently bound by time, give something a 30 day chance. It's not some magical formula, but it does have a high success rate!

Get to it, and let me know how it goes!

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