Exercise. A word we are all quite familiar with but we sometimes choose to ignore, have no time for or basically have no interest in.
I have followed an exercise routine for well over a decade now which I had incorporated into my daily routine. Now don’t misunderstand me, I have no aspirations to become an athlete or a model, I just felt as though it was good for my health and to try and keep fit with a bit of cardio and the use of resistance bands with some Pilates.
After experimenting with so many different modes of exercise, I found what was comfortable and enjoyable for me and which had good benefits for my sore lower back. Although in the beginning I found myself looking for logical excuses to avoid exercising some days, I gradually became dedicated to myself and followed through five to six days a week.
Besides my routine I have always been a fairly active person — not one to sit much. This plan seemed to get neglected and mostly ignored when I began writing my first book Conflicted Hearts. Somehow the hours turned into days then months and I was finding with the shortage of time that I was waking up and getting right to work and the span of days and sometimes weeks were passing where I was neglecting my exercise routine.
I know as the months rolled by I was starting to feel less pulled together, muffin top was trying to make a home around my waistline and I began having more problems with my sore back and hips which would occasionally decide to lock up on me. I also found that the longer I ignored exercising, the harder it became to establish a disciplined pattern again.
I still went for little walks but the days I had previously spent on my feet, had become days that I sat on my butt working. I gained four pounds in the last year without even a change of diet and my body doesn’t even resemble its former shape. I blamed being busy and post menopause, in denial that my old simple little half hour exercise routine now lacking, certainly couldn’t be the cause of all the changes.
I thought back to when I was exercising. It had become so effortless that I was sure it wasn’t even doing anything much for me anymore without realizing it was that very routine which had kept me feeling good and my clothes fitting properly. It had become simply taken for granted.
Moving forward, I had begun to do some of the other little things I also engaged in as part of my old routine like lifting some light weights and occasionally picking up my hula hoop once in a while which I used to do for twenty minutes daily. I used to do all kinds of moves with that hoop and could keep that baby up and moving for as long as I wanted to without dropping it once.
When I returned from my winter vacation and re-organized my daily work schedule, I promised myself that I was going back to a committed routine to help me feel fitter. I implemented a morning routine once again before beginning my work because I decided it was important and I owed it to myself. No more sporadic, spare moments of exercise and broken promises I told myself each time I stepped on the scale. I picked up the hula hoop which I hadn’t used for months and in disbelief, I struggled to keep it going steady without it continuously falling to the floor. I was shocked that my auto pilot ability to manipulate that hoop had gone rusty. Then I attempted to follow through with my Pilates program which I had previously considered so effortless only to find that each move felt torturous to my abs.
Wow I thought, holy crap am I ever out of shape! What a wake up call this was. How easy it is to assume that things remain a constant because we take them for granted. Life moves on and if we neglect our bodies, they don’t come along for the ride. Lessons learned.
It’s only been two weeks now that I have disciplined (and scared) myself into a regular routine. Although I still panic when I look at the clock, knowing I should be working, I realize I am working. I am working on me! I am important to me and although I impose my own deadlines and have to deal with life’s punches in between, I decided to enjoy my fitness break and if it helps me feel better and motivated to continue on with everything else, it was important time spent.
I am also happy to report that I am once again in control of the hula hoop and my resistance Pilates isn’t nearly as painful — almost like riding a bike. With a little more practice and dedication we can accomplish what we thought was once lost. I have definitely learned not to take my body for granted. After all, I need it to work well for lots of things. In the past I thought I wasn’t doing much because I was so used to feeling good and fit but when I stopped, I found the benefits I had lost by not realizing the way I was before was because of the benefits of exercising.
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