Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two days does not a habit make

but it is a beginning and isn't that what life is all about. Beginnings, restarts after failures: falling off the horse or the wagon and then getting back on, so to speak. With some luck I will convince myself that this reasoning applies just as much to becoming more physically active.
There once was a time when I religiously got up every morning (well at least 5 out of 7 mornings) and went to the exercise room in the complex where I lived at the time. The reason for my diligence was all wrong. I was not trying to be more healthy for my sake, rather I was trying to lose weight because I did not want to be a frumpy looking Mother of the Groom when my youngest son got married and to that end I succeeded. The first thing my son said to me when I got out of the car in Providence that summer was "What did you do with my Mother?"
But once I returned from RI after the wedding, I was less inclined to continue my morning routine and all the weight I lost I regained and any benefits I gained from the walking on the treadmill and using the stair climber slowly faded away. The last time I tried, I had no goals no reason to push past my reluctance to sweat and could not find anything to motivate myself with.

I need goals and I stay on target when there are deadlines to shot for.
So this time my goal is a healthy sustainable weight arrived at with a health diet and frumpiness aside I want to look good just for ME.

I know this about myself too. I like my solitude. But deep down inside there is this pesky devil that whispers from time to time that misery loves company. Why sweat alone when you can sweat with many?

In getting down to size for Myke's wedding; after several weeks of going to the exercise room by myself I talked my new found friend and across the hall neighbor, Kathy into joining me. When she agreed she didn't know she was in for an endless recitation of my remembered dreams of the night before. You see I don't dream in clips or shorts, I dream in full length features. As entertaining as they can be, most of the time they don't make sense. However I do remember them for at least the first hour after I wake. Back then because going to the exercise room was always done in the first hour after my eyes opened, Kathy got the whole yarn.

Forgive me I took a detour there.

Returning to lessons learned back then; for one, I learned that I like walking on a treadmill. I liked that it made me stay at a steady pace and not twaddle along like I would if I walked out doors along a street or on a track. Secondly I learned that I liked doing it with other people around who were also sweating. Because of the first, I decided that I wanted a treadmill, but knew that if I had one in the house the likelihood that I would use it regularly would be slim to nil . Why? Because there would be no one around huffing and puffing along with me and sweating and pushing me on despite the boredom of putting one foot in front of the other. So getting a treadmill for the house was dismissed. But despite knowing I really needed to add regular exercise into my health program and knowing too that walking is a good form of exercise, I could not make myself walk further than the mail box and back at the end of our very short driveway.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

When I first came to Columbia, one place I noticed right away was a new looking building with lots of glass window not 6 block from where Lyn used to live. I passed it when I drove John Chris (the grandson ) to school and back. Through some of the upper floor windows I could see from time to time people walking or running. I learned from Lyn that it was the Activity and Recreation Center ARC for short and that it was run by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
Even though no longer driving John Chris to that school, I continue to pass by it in my travels about town. Until two weeks ago I never thought about what the center had to offer.
Guess what?
They are what most YMCA's are in larger cities but better, way better. It's a members only facility, but the fees for joining are more than reasonable. Yesterday, taking advantage of my senior citizen status, I joined.

There's a weight room with lots of equipment and an aerobics space with lots of equipment including treadmills and elliptical trainers and stationary bikes and other forms of physical torture I'm not inclined to try out. There's an indoor running/walking track the rims the upper floor. There's an indoor pool for swimming laps, and an in pool walking path where you can walk against a programmable water current. They offer water aerobic classes as well as other physical programs, like yoga. There's and indoor basketball court and a half dozen large class room spaces for members to use. From their website I learned you can hire your own personal trainer for a fee or join a trainer guided exercise program.

Too scheduled for me. I hate schedules. I decided to go it alone.

Each piece of exercise equipment comes with an ear phone/plug jack for listening to any of seven large screen televisions (all tuned to different channels) . You make your selection by inputting the number of the television you want to hear into the key pad.
Best of all there are lots of other people around; men and women, old as well as young adults, (no one under 18 is allowed to use the equipment). In checking people out as we all do I saw some who were in shape and some not so much so. Beginners like me (fat, grey, older and out of shape) and those who make you wonder how they can run that fast and sweat that hard. Of course, they have bodies that acknowledge their hard work. I will not delude myself into thinking I too will ever look like some of them.
This morning was day two for me getting out of bed and putting on my walking shoes and driving the 7.2 miles from our garage to the parking lot at the center. Today was day two of me walking on a treadmill and watching mouths move and images change on the seven televisions. Yesterday it was Seal who was singing to me on my Ipod. Today it was Phil Collins. Seal was a 2.2 to 2.5 miles per hour stroll. P. Collins; a more brisk 2.7 all the way--- yeah. My goal is sustainable 3.5 miles/hour. Age weight considered now, the best I remember doing back in 1994 was 4 miles/hours without resorting to short spurts of running. This time, there will be no running.
ON THE ART FRONT: Yesterday I spent some time in the garage trying different combinations of the screens and stamps I've made. Today I will wash out the samples to see if I like the results. Yesterday was warm and sunny. Today the temperature is up in the high 60's, but it is cloudy and drizzling rain. Yesterday I was ready for a nap by this time of the day, having gotten out of bed at 5:00 AM in order to see Lyn out the door as she got on the shuttle van for her trip to Kansas City and plane ride to LA. She will join her sister Rene' there and attend their Uncle's funeral (my late husband Phil's sister Brenda's husband Tom) Lyn will be back late in the day on Monday.
Today, having gotten a good nights sleep, I need no nap.
Yesterday I promised myself that I would walk three times a week. Today I said to myself as my feet hit the floor, lets go for everyday but Sunday. Yesterday I got there at 7:00 AM even though they open at 5:30 AM, Mon-Fri. Today I got there at 7:55AM. The doors open on Saturday at 8:00.
Feels like a habit in the making.

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