One planned activity that eluded me during the first several months of being retired was to exercise daily. Sure – I walked a lot – but, according to my Fitbit, not nearly enough. I went to yoga but just once a week. I bowled with my brother every weekend, but never worked up a sweat or had an out of breath moment. On occasion I would dutifully head down to my basement where I had set up a working out space as soon as I had moved in, complete with an internet connected television, a Wii sports system, ballet barre, lots of interlocking floor mats, and a separate tap dance floor.
My goal was to begin a three-week workout DVD that I had purchased over a year ago. I was intent on starting at the beginning and conquering the workout. But the problem was I hated every single second of doing it. I didn’t have the strength or endurance for most of the moves – even the ones that were considered ‘modified’. I hated being out of breath. I hated sweating like crazy and still feeling like I failed. I hated my hair curling up as the perspiration descended from my scalp and down my nose and cheeks.
Most days I just avoided going downstairs and putting the DVD in. Then one day early this spring, I realized that there were no rules written in stone that I had to conquer that particular series. Everything didn’t have to be a test of endurance nor success determined by doggedly finishing what I had started. My goals were not to look good in a bathing suit nor to lose weight or inches. Maybe it was not necessary that I feel tortured while en route to physical fitness. Novel idea.
So after wasting more time than I like to admit trying to make it work for me, I allowed myself to move on. I did find that another DVD series by the same company was more to my liking. Challenging but fun because it was more like dancing. I didn’t dread doing the 30 minute routines, even if I did sweat. I opened some ballet DVDs and reacquainted myself with steps I’d done on and off my whole life. After some trial and error, I found a tap dance series that actually simulated a real class. And just like that, I no longer dreaded turning off the morning news and heading downstairs for an hour to exercise. The best part is that my coordination is improving. My memory for sequences is improving. I feel like I am getting an aerobic workout every morning. I don’t mind working up a sweat because I am having fun.
I still need to find something that I will stick to for strength training. For now, I settle for a few pushups every morning while I have the news on. I know it’s not enough but for the moment, it’s something. If anyone out there has something that works for them, I’d love to hear about it.