I've always wanted to be one of those people who likes to exercise. You know, like those people who would actually choose to spend their free time doing something exercise-based?
Me, I can definitely see the point of exercise. Sometimes exercise is like taking Advil: You know you need to do it because your body feels bad, and doing it will make you feel better.
And sometimes I don't even exercise because I feel the physical need to; I exercise to erase the guilt of not exercising.
But, whatever the reason for exercise, I would never call exercise fun. I don't see exercise as something recreational, I see it as something that takes up my free time.
(Side note: This would mean I was completely lying when I made that magazine collage entitled "Exercise is Fun!" for my sixth-grade health class. Also, the first time I made it, I spelled Exercise wrong.)
Okay, bottom line: I don't really enjoy exercise. Even the more "fun" classes like Zumba feel like a chore to me.
Still, something is changing about my attitude toward exercise, much as I hate to admit it.
See, later this month I'm participating in my gym's annual indoor triathlon. I did it last year, and, despite the fact that it has the word triathlon in it, it's kind of not a big deal. You swim for 10 minutes, ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes, and then run/walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes. I think most people could probably survive 45 minutes on exercise equipment, so it's not really about the triumph of finishing like an outdoor triathlon.
So, I figured the only satisfaction would be in beating my performance from last year. I don't actually have any recollection of what my total distance was last year, but I was pretty lame and out of shape, so it can't be all that hard to do better this year. I signed up for the training class at the gym, which meets every Saturday morning for six weeks.
Let me say, I was pleasantly surprised by the instructor and my classmates. I expected a class of elite athletes, and an instructor who gives homework assignments like "run 5 miles every day, followed by a 10-mile bike ride." But the classmates are sort of in average shape, and the homework assignments are really short and do-able, and kind of the stuff I would have been doing at the gym anyway.
What is different, though, is that we're supposed to do a combo workout each time we go to the gym, something like bike-run, run-swim, etc. And it turns out, the endorphins are like 8 times better when you do a combination of exercises.
Now, well, it's not like I would say I like to exercise, but I am seeing a whole new benefit. I've always relied on exercise as a big part of my mental health maintenance, but I've never actually found that it makes me legitimately happy like it has been lately.
Will I become somebody who wants to exercise? Who knows?
And speaking of exercise, I want to take this opportunity to promote my friend Adele's new blog, Adele On Wheels. Like me, Adele is a reluctant exerciser, but she has made a commitment to fitness in 2012. Her blog is highly relatable, well-written, and always features an appearance from her cat. Check it out!