The Workout I Actually DO

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.

That’s it.

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.



5 Responses to “The Workout I Actually DO”

  1. Kizzy says:

    I like this idea. Exercise is something I need to incorporate into my day too, just need to invest in a treadmill now!

  2. Mother of 3 Germans says:

    I run. I used to love it until friends got involved and it Became “so how long does it take you to run a 5k?” That basically killed the fun for me. Now I don’t want to run with anyone not even alone. I should though but still haven’t figured out how to get back into it .

  3. KJ says:

    Oh, that would SUCK. I didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing until now. I may regret it. Wanna know what speed I run at? Slow, that’s what. So there.

  4. DaCoopMama says:

    Thank you for writing this. There’s so much pressure out there to do much more than we want to or are comfortable with. Way to break through all that! Good luck to you!

  5. KJ says:

    Thank you! I killed off something I thought was a goal this year already, too. We can only do what we can do!