I do exercise.
I don’t even have to make a resolution around exercising this year, because—after years of trying things and failing and sticking for a while and then letting it go and downloading apps and joining gyms and buying workout gear and etc., I’ve actually found a workout I can do, I will do, and I don’t really mind doing. It’s become something that, at the very least, I can check off my list for the day and feel good about. Most days I can pull this off.
It’s pretty lame.
Every day, basically, I run a mile. Or rather, I run for 3 minutes, then walk for a minute, 4 times.
And while I do it, I listen to something–a podcast, an audio book—on my phone, which I don’t otherwise do unless I’m driving.
Here’s why this works for me:
I don’t want to go anywhere. I run on a treadmill, because we have one, and because I have cold weather asthma and can’t run outside if it’s under about 45 degrees. I think I’ll probably keep running on the treadmill even when the weather is better again. The treadmill requires no decisions. The treadmill does not require that I figure out where to turn around, or if the ground is uneven, or how fast I should go. I get on. I do my run/walk thing. I get off. Done.
There are no “barriers to entry.” No equipment. No checking in at a front desk, no putting a bike on the car, or a saddle on the horse, or waxing skis, or being on time for something, or even starting a dvd or an app.
I hate to run. I still hate it, but I only have to hate it for 3 minutes, 4 times, once a day, and then I feel really good about myself. For whatever reason, that turned out to be manageable for me.
I don’t like to be laughed at. I could, and did earlier in the season, just walk out the door and start to run, and that was ok–since I had my “intervals” plan I felt pretty secure in my running and walking–although I hated it if people I knew saw me and said something–or, far worse, invited me to run with them some day. That would be a no. Because I’m only going to run for three minutes, and them I’m going to walk for a minute, and so on, and I really just want to be in my headphones, and I really don’t care if you don’t think my workout is hard enough–well, actually I do care, which is why I don’t want to be laughed at, but as long as I just do this by myself I can deal. You do you. I’ll do me. But, over here.
It’s incredibly short. Seventeen and a half minutes, to be precise.
I don’t have to wash my hair. I do sweat, but that much, or for that long. Sometimes (don’t tell anyone) I don’t even shower.
I get nice and warm. If I’m cold, as I often am, sitting at my desk, just sort of gradually getting chillier and chillier like you do sometimes, I can go for a run, and then I’m warm for a while.
I get that this will scarcely prepare me for a marathon, but I don’t want to run a marathon. I get that it’s probably not a weight loss regimen, either, but I’m ok with my weight. I know that most people do a whole lot more, but I also know that if I try to do more, I’m likely to do nothing. This works. It’s enough. I just want to be more fit, more able to do things, able to enjoy the bigger sports I do less often without getting out of breath before I’ve even started.
I’m three months in, and I just keep stepping up for this. I don’t dread it. I do it even on days when it’s pretty inconvenient. It’s getting easier, yes, and so I run a little faster, but I don’t have any big goals. I don’t want to go farther or faster or longer. This is fine. If this is it, it seems to be enough. I feel better. I’m less jiggly in various ways, I can run through a freezing parking lot without getting out of breath if I want to, and I just have this sense of feeling a little more able to live in my body. I like it.
So that’s it. My workable workout.
In a perfect world, I’d add something stretchy in there, because I’m hoping not to shrink when I get older and to maintain my ability to cut my own toenails, which I understand is a big deal, based on a podcast I once heard in which a doctor said toenail maintenance was the first thing he looked at in his older patients. So that’s a goal. But it’s a separate goal. I’m not going to attach it to this and risk destroying it by making it longer or more complicated. Because I got this. And I feel good.