To look at me is to know that I don't exercise regularly. I'm not proud of it, but it's a fact of life. I know exercise helps me lose weight. I know it's good for me. As a borderline diabetic, I know exercise is not just important, it's essential. There's just one problem. I don't like it.
My husband, bless his heart, has tried over the years to provide different solutions to my exercise inertia. First, there was the gym membership. This was all of about fifteen years ago. I worked full time as a secretary. He worked full time second shift as a forklift operator, and we had two children ages 3 and 2. The plan was, I would get up early and go to the gym on the way to work. Anyone that knows me knows that plan was doomed to failure. I couldn't get to work on time, much less stop and workout first. Even meeting a friend to workout together didn't motivate me. More often than not, she worked out alone.
Then there was the bike. I enjoyed riding a bike when I was a kid, and I guess my husband thought the thrill would stay with me as an adult. So he bought me a bike. (please note: I did not ask for one.) I rode around our neighborhood, but still there were problems. I could never find a good time to go. I still had little kids, so I had to wait for my husband to be home. That left early morning and late evening. Plus, I hated going by myself. And every road around my house led uphill. Both ways. And then there were the dogs. I always had dogs chasing me. The bike lasted quite a while, but I didn't. I slaved over that bike for three straight weeks. Finally my husband commented that he could tell the exercise was working because my face was thinner. I nearly exploded. I wasn't trying to lose weight in my face.
"Great!" I snapped sarcastically. "Maybe if I start pedaling with my face, my butt will look smaller!" The bike riding ended shortly after that. Come to think of it, so did most of my husband's spontaneous compliments. LOL
Then came various efforts at walking my way to fitness. One with nature and all that. Enjoy the peace and quiet. I have to admit, I did enjoy the quiet. By then we had six kids. Quiet was a precious commodity. But still there were problems. The main one being: I'm an impatient person. It drove me crazy to walk for ten minutes to get somewhere I could pass in 30 seconds in my car. I realize that wasn't the point, but still ... Yes, I enjoyed looking at the scenery, but when you think about it, unless you're continually turning corners, you're looking at the same scenery for a half an hour. Boring!!! By this time, though, my schedule was a little more flexible. My kids were older and in school, so I could go walking without having to worry about a sitter. I could also go in the morning to avoid the heat of the day, but it didn't have to be so early.
I tried another gym, but I hated being surrounded by skinny, spandex-clad, younger females. I could almost hear their internal comments as I slaved on the stationary bike next to theirs.
"Honey, give it up."
"I think she's going to have a heart attack!"
"How many kids has that body produced, anyway?"
"I go to the gym so I will never look like that."
"Oh, that's just gross."
That membership didn't last long either. Then, believe it or not, I tried a bike again. We lived out in the country. It was better than walking. I listened to music or talk radio. (By then complete quiet unnerved me.) I biked maybe three times a week. I got up to 7-8 miles each time. But it was an awful lot of effort at something I still didn't enjoy with little to show for my efforts. I suppose eating right would have helped, but come on! I'm not a saint! Then I started getting comments from people at church. Not "you look like you're losing weight" comments. No, these were "I saw you out biking the other day" comments. I could see in their eyes the questions.
"If she's biking like that, why does she still look the way she does?"
"Does she have any idea what she looks like on that thing?"
"There's a reason I pretended not to notice her."
"How old is she anyway?"
Okay, so I'm a writer. Even if they weren't really thinking those things, my mind still filled in the blanks. Eventually it got to be full summer in Alabama, and it was just too hot to put forth that much effort. Plus, I was chased by dogs again. They usually just ran along the edge of their property barking until I passed. But twice I was chased down the street by a pretty mean looking dog. And then one time one chase me and bit me! He grabbed onto my shoe and left teeth marks. I screamed and kicked at the dog which almost made me lose my balance and fall off the bike. (Go ahead and laugh at the mental picture. I did.) My biking days didn't last much longer.
So now I have a new exercise option, and this one I actually like. Tennis. I've always loved it. There is a court nearby with a park right next to it, so the kids have a place to play and I don't need a sitter. We can go first thing in the morning (thank goodness for homeschooling!) without having to get up at the crack of dawn. I can play with one of the ladies from church, or I can play with one of my teenage kids so I'm not slowed down if my partner can't come. And I've gotten comments three Sundays in a row about the weight I'm losing. I admit, this time both diet and stress have played a part in helping me lose over twenty pounds, but hey! I'll take it any way I can get it!
I'm thrilled to think that I've actually found an exercise I can live with and even enjoy. This one might be a keeper. Except for that dog that keeps hanging around the court ...