The Best Type Of Exercise (For People Who Really Can't Stand It)
Should I move out of the country? Yes!
Should I get a divorce? Definitely.
Should I quit my job and work for myself? Why not?
Should I work out today? Oh, God.
And so begins the hour of indecision, woe, and frustration this question generates. My thought pattern goes a little like this: I could, but what would I do? Where is my sports bra? Aren't I too busy for this sh*t? Hey, isn't it going to rain? Wait, do I still have those old workout DVDs? Should I exercise before or after lunch/my meeting/catching up on The Night Of? I'm tired. But should I just get it over with? But wait, when will I wash my hair, then?
As you can probably guess, I have never understood people who eagerly jump out of bed in the morning, brimming with vim and vigor and raring to break a sweat before most people have eaten breakfast. Is this real life? Endorphins can be raised by participating in many more fun activities — a night out with friends, a little time between the sheets. Do these spandex savants truly itch to wear tight, overpriced clothing in rooms full of other sweating people and (more often than not), pay for the privilege?
Sometimes, I'm convinced exercise hype is a commercial trick — like the pre-Christmas sales — to lock in membership fees or spend upward of $30 for less than an hour's (group) instruction. That all these sparkly gym bunnies are in on the world's greatest pyramid scheme.
I used to be convinced I just didn't have the exercise gene. And all the slim New York femmes bopping around with smiley faces, iced soy lattes, and yoga mats further cemented the notion. Despite the fact that I'm a life coach and give a lot of advice on healthy living, it just wasn't for me. And that was OK — for a while, at least.
"It's not like that's the only option," I comforted myself. "I mean, look at French women. France doesn't have a gym culture. The women just walk and cycle everywhere. I do that! Well, minus the cycling."
But when I turned 32 this year and was handed blood-pressure medication by my doctor (stern expression mine, free of charge), I realized my health required that I stop making excuses and move my tush in some kind of consistent way. So, I made a concerted effort to change my ways, but to do it in a way that worked for me.
Here's the thing: Maybe some people are born with an inherent affinity for exercise and others aren't. It doesn't matter, because if everything came easily to everyone, there would be no work for us to do. And learning and growth are the reasons we exist. My exercise struggle is one I am always working on and that's OK too. It's my journey.
Maturity is recognizing a shortcoming and working to improve it. (Shucks. If only flexing the self-awareness muscle counted as a workout.) Maturity means we have to do a lot of things we don't always want to do — pay our bills, walk the dog, and get our heart rate up once in a while so that our body remains healthy.
There is no arguing the benefits or importance of self-care: that I know for sure. And on the bright side, sometimes I love just being unreachable for almost an hour — no phone calls, no emails, no tweets. Just me time. (With a little Rihanna thrown in.) Even when I don't feel like doing it, I know that short burst of me-time is bringing me long-term benefits.
So, after much reflection and continued arguing against a fate I knew, deep down, was inevitable, I decided spin classes were my best option.
Here are four reasons I decided spin classes were the best option for me:
1. It generally takes only 45 minutes (efficient).
2. There's a studio down the street (five minutes each way).
3. It's only eight songs of my time. (I count them down excitedly until I get out the door.)
4. The people at the front desk are nice and they give you free gum.
Life is a journey, and the things you find the most difficult are often the things that change your life in the most profoundly positive ways. Don't fear the journey. Don't fear your struggles. They are our greatest gift.
So, if I can find my bra, I'll make it to spin...