I woke up and stared at the blaring alarm. I suppressed a growl at the clock that glared at me, 4:30 a.m. I pushed snooze and turned away. This process continued for half an hour before I fought the urge to stay under the warm covers and dragged myself out of bed.
This is the process I deal with since starting the physical activity portion of the Performance Triad program.
Over the past few weeks, I have addressed a couple of different, simple ways that I am adjusting my lifestyle in order to improve my health and that of my Family.
In a society where our minds have created technologies that make our lives easier (computers, cars, cell phones), physical fitness in our daily lives has decreased.
For me, it made me realize that we have put too much focus on the way we can feel.
I see commercials selling all types of gym equipment and showing the new fad in weight loss. It is intimidating for those who do not see their body as something gym worthy. There is a certain kind of romanticism around the idea of looking beautiful as you lightly glide on the treadmill.
Let me be realistic here, the gym is not sexy. The gym does not magically make those extra inches melt off. If you go to the gym and do eight repetitions and spend 10 minutes talking to your buddy before the next set, you are not going to get the results you need.
So this is why I have decided that the gym is no longer my number choice to make exercise fun.
As hard as it is to believe, this may be the most difficult change I have had to deal with. I can deal without soda, I can find alternative foods that satisfy my cravings, and sleeping more is definitely something I am interested in.
Going out of my way to incorporate more exercise in the last two hours of the day that I can spend with my Family is an almost unbearable thought. At least I thought so. I was amazed when my 8-year-old son taught his mother, a woman with 26 years of world experience, that the key is to become a kid again.
My son has always been a bouncing ball in human form. At one point, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to the classic video games from my childhood.
He zeroed in on Sonic the Hedgehog and has not transferred his focus from the beloved character since. After introducing Sonic, my son found his newest love — running. He always runs with a smile. It is not something that he does for a medal. It is not something that he trains for. He just laughs as he takes the hill, as he leaps over puddles on a rainy day and as he runs next to me battling the cold of winter.
I hate running. I have always found it frustrating to go to the track and run so hard to end up in the same place that I started. Couple this with a history of double-stress fractures and running long distances has become a constant exercise of analyzing every step, waiting for that pain to come back that is associated with that injury. So, what did I do? I looked for an alternative.
This came in the most unexpected form of an invitation to a lesson in the last place that I thought I would ever go. My colleague and friend introduced me to ballet.
I entered the ballet studio expecting pencil thin women with accusing eyes to stare at my sweatpants and oversized shirt. What I found was a refreshing, positive environment of women who were only interested in having a good time. During the class, I started to feel the creeping anxiety return as the teacher gave commands in French and the dancers moved instantaneously. More than one person helped me when it looked like I was about to have a panic attack. At the end, I felt happier than I had in a long time. These women had found what I had been lacking in my focus to become healthier and more fit. They found something fun, something that kept them moving and they found it with others who were trying to find the same thing.
So here is my tip for the week. Spend this week exploring group classes in your area. Find one that you absolutely love and dedicate one day a week on focusing on you. As a mother, and a Soldier, I have found that it helps me feel revitalized and makes it easier to continue the week in the right mind set.