I am finding that something is changing in my mind (and maybe my heart?) lately. For most of my life exercise has been linked in my mind to being embarrassed in gym class. I distinctly remember my elementary gym teacher calling me "myrtle the turtle" during some run we were doing. That coupled with never really doing organized sports = a girl who avoids exercise. That is until the past few years of my life.
I think it started with my friend, Michelle. I met Michelle when I was living in New Orleans and working at a church in Mississippi. She is an athlete. She's beautiful and fit and has FIVE children. Anyway, she made me start walking with her about twice a week while I was in Mississippi. 4 mile walks - the girl doesn't start slow. I guess I should be glad she didn't make me run. There was never any judgement from Michelle - just good long walks and great conversation. This, I believe, was the beginning of the Pavlovian training - associating exercise with something I love - talking.
Then, while I was living in Atlanta, there was a trail that ran along the Chattahoochie River and up into the woods connected to my apartment complex. Because I had a hyper dog, I began walking there quite often. Here is where I began to notice the benefits of walking/exercise on my mental health.
And now I live in Tennessee...and it's warm again. So, I'm walking again. And I feel great. I noticed something this morning when I was getting ready for my walk. While putting on my sneakers and strapping on my little walking belt, I felt eager - excited even. I can't help but thinking me? excited about exercise? But it's true! I love the automatic mood boost. I love how it makes me feel better than food ever could (food has long been my drug of choice) when I'm disappointed or stressed.
Of the approximately two people who read this blog, 2 of them are people I consider fit. So, I'm not there yet. I'll probably not ever call myself an athlete. But this is a win in my book. I LIKE exercise! Who knew? I'm even trying to figure out how to continue when the weather turns colder. Either warmer clothing or a treadmill...we'll see.