The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003  

Exercise Your Memory
Find out what' s fun

Here is an assignment for your diet and fitness journal: Make yourself comfortable, pull up a cup of tea, give yourself a good hour or more for thinking and remembering. This is a three-part assignment.

Part 1, make a list.

List the times you can remember from your childhood when you were both very happy and very physically active. Just make a list as quickly as you can, giving each memory a short title. Work pretty quickly on this list. Spend no more than 10 minutes or so forming it. So for instance, here's mine:

*Mud pies at the creek, Rhode Island
*Biking around the naval base in Subic Bay with Nancy
*Hide and go seek at Burt Lake
*Ice skating with dad, Burt Lake
*Hiking with the dog in the snow
*Biking with my sister around the lake
*Swimming up and down the shoreline
*Lilias Yoga on T.V.

I finished this list quickly. It brought me only as far as my early childhood, but not past the age of 12 or so. I'm not surprised to see, for instance, that dance classes and track practice are not on this list. They were not happy times for me. Sure, I challenged myself, but I couldn't say that I was having fun then. We're looking for fun and movement here. Go ahead. Make your list.

Part 2, Study your list for clues.

Look at your list and consider what the items on the list have in common. What common elements made these things fun for you? If I look at my list I notice that in each case I was playing with someone, or several people. What was fun was not concentrating on the activity so much as on being with people, or my dog, while doing it.

I notice that in my list there is no competition at all. I've never been comfortable in competitive situations. I clearly liked playing best when there are no winners or losers.

There's a lot of learning and exploring going on in my list. Pushing, stretching my own abilities, or picking up new skills. Practicing to achieve a pose, turn, twist, spin.

Many of the experiences on my list take place outdoors. I'm not sure if that's just because my mom pushed us out of the house, or if I really prefer to be outside. The explorer/frustrated biologist in me certainly likes the outdoors.

So my idea of fun exercise seems to be that I'm with people but not competing. I'm learning and pushing. And I'm probably outdoors.

Part 3, Plan new kinds of movement around your idea of fun.

Hmm. Though I'm extremely introverted, I realize now that I have been far more likely to show up for exercise when I'm going to do it with people I love. I would not have taken ballet by myself, but ballet with my neighbor is the perfect sport. So is yoga with my daughter, running with my workmates. DH and I are getting ready to think about maybe some day trying out just to see if we could visit the same gym at the same time. Together. Might be intriguing. Might be a disaster. We'll see.

This list explains to me why I get such a charge out of Pilates and yoga. I like the people. There is always a horizon. I won't likely ever master either practice, but I can keep refining my own performance. There's always something more to learn.

But I don't get enough of the outdoors. Running helped me with this a little, but it's not what I really need. I think there might be a hiker in me. I don't know the first thing about hiking. Maybe this is where I need to go. I think I may be able to talk DH into this, too. Yes, indeed.

The point of this exercise, of course, is to help you get your exercise in by choosing exercise that is fun for you. Rather than learning to love your exercise, learn what exercise you love, and do that.

Okay. So hiking. I know I'll love it, AND I'm likely to need new shoes. What could be better?

Starting a fitness program, Intellihealth
American Hiking Society
Choosing the right hiking boots, R.E.I.

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posted by Julie |
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