Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Getting in (Some Kind of) Shape

by Stephanie Black

I’ve been pretty good about exercising over the past few weeks. I didn’t do it every day over the holidays, of course, but I still exercised a respectable number of times. (I also ate buckets of Christmas goodies, but maybe the exercise canceled out two or three of those chocolate-covered almond clusters and cinnamon rolls).

In the past, I’ve been intermittent with my exercise habits. I’d have a good spell, then a dry spell, then start up again, then drop off again. Exercise has never been my favorite thing. When I took that nasty Fitness for Life class at BYU (they don’t put freshman through that anymore, do they? I hope not) where we had to exercise on our own and keep a record of it, I’d procrastinate my exercise so long that I’d end up doing aerobics in the wee hours of the morning. A friend gave me a Far Side Mug labeled “Aerobics in Hell,” where a demon instructor tells his class: “Three more, two more, one more, okay! . . . Five million leglifts right leg first! . . . Ready, set! . . . ” I could relate.

But now, considering the bad news I keep getting at doctor’s appointments, I’m feeling more motivated to exercise consistently. I exercise at home on our Elliptical. My husband goes to a gym near his work, but I prefer the home thing. If I had to get myself ready to go out in public, get my preschooler ready, drive to the gym, drop her off in childcare, exercise, go pick her up—forget it. I just wouldn’t do it. And I wouldn’t want to do it while she’s in preschool, either—yeah, I can just picture myself saying, “Hey, I have no children at home right now! I think I’ll go spend this time exercising.” Then I’d laugh, plop down on the couch, and eat a donut. Anyway, home workouts work for me. I like being able to throw on an old T-shirts, ugly pants, whatever—yesterday I was wearing Halloween socks—and hop on the machine. I can get my heart pumping and read a book while I do it, and in half an hour, I’m done. It’s not the Workout of the Stars, but it’s a nice bit of cardio. That’s “nice” as in “good for me” not as in “This is my favorite time of the day! I love exercise! It makes me feel so good!”

I do hear rumors of a “runner’s high” that some people get from exercise, but I also hear that the Ten Tribes are in the center of the earth. Okay, kidding, I acknowledge that a runner’s high exists. I’m just bitter that I don’t get it. My sister-in-law loves exercising—gets a stress-relieving endorphin rush from it, to which I can only say: “Huh?” I have never experienced this phenomenon. And neither have any of my siblings or parents. Must be a genetic thing, and our genes are more interested in the feeding trough than the treadmill. My dad ran an entire stinking marathon and never got a runner’s high.

It’s a dang shame I don’t get this endorphin thing. I’d probably be a lot skinnier if I did. But I’ll keep up my exercising, since endorphins or not, I don’t want to void the warranty on my body quite yet. I’m grateful I can exercise and hope to be able to keep it up for a good many decades to come.

Discussion question: Do you suppose our ancestors look at us and think that it's goofier than heck that we plant our sedentary bodies on machines that go nowhere and do nothing, just to get us moving enough to stay healthy? I'm betting the pioneers didn't have this issue.


At 1/07/2009 1:03 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I think the endorphine thing is a big, ugly myth. I've never experienced it. Sure, I can feel "good" after exercising. But I hate actually doing it. And lately I've gotten whomper headaches if I exercise too hard.

And I'm with you on the home thing. If I can't get on the treadmill HERE, it ain't happening.

At 1/07/2009 2:42 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

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At 1/07/2009 2:46 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

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At 1/07/2009 2:58 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

A trainer told me that the "headache" after exercising comes from too little protein. She recommended drinking a protein shake an hour before. I think our ancestors wouldn't have taken time out of their busy schedules to exercise. Their whole lives were exercise (except for the rich ones, who rode in buggies and sat in parlors listening to music).

At 1/07/2009 7:03 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

I wish I could give you some inspiring words that would help, but I only started doing the exercise thing recently because of the alternative suggested by my doctor. (Not pretty.)

On the one hand, my legs are KILLING me today from my workout yesterday. On the other hand, I've lost 21 pounds in 2 months. It's 10 minutes of cardio warm-up, 30 minutes of weight training, then 20 more minutes of cardio. I can't read on the treadmill (the shelf might allow a thin book, but wouldn't hold it there) but I can rock out to my tunes.

Also, no runner's high for me, but I have a niece who is a runner, and she gets it all the time. (Probably weighs about 80 pounds in winter clothing, too.)

* How sad, but true. My word verify is "labless" I miss my old Lab, he was a good dog. =(

At 1/07/2009 8:37 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

I used to run until I smashed up a knee. I really miss it and yes I did get a runner's high, but not until after I'd been running consistently for more than a year. At first it would kick in at about the two mile mark, then gradually moved up until I felt it at about a half mile. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn't happen on any stupid machine. Actually it wiped out my migraines long before I reached that "high" point.

At 1/08/2009 7:45 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

I once read this comment: "I am in shape. Round is a shape."


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