Let's Get Physical: How I've Kept Fitness In My Life

No one likes to sweat worse than me.

Well, maybe some people don't like to sweat as much as me, but I'm trying to emphasize exactly how much I dislike sweating. I just don't like it. It makes my eyes burn, makes whatever makeup I have on run (because I do like wearing a bit even when exercising), it makes me feel sticky and gross and just reminds me I'm going to have to take yet another shower.

However, I do sweat. I sweat almost every day because I exercise. I say almost every day because I take days off (because I listen when my body tells me to take a break). However, even when I take a break, I always come back to the reason why I sweat-getting physical. I love fitness. It's always been a part of my life and always will be.

I have participated in exercise activities since I was very young. I started taking dance classes when I was around 3 years old. (If someone doesn't think dancing is exercise, then they need to dance. It is an ultimate form of fitness!) At age 7, my parents divorced and my dance classes were no longer affordable. I still needed some way to be able to dance (because I loved it!) so I started cheerleading. I didn't ever really care about the games. I just liked dancing and doing gymnastics. The movement of my body helped me release tension and stress and just made me feel overall great. I cheered from ages 8 to 18.

When I started college, I couldn't afford to cheer, work and go to school, so I quit cheering. I immediately stressed because I had no idea how I would keep in shape. I happened to need to take a gym course in school and elected to take step aerobics. I loved the class! It made me sweat, but it was worth it. After that class, I found a place in my city that taught step aerobics and I made an effort to go as much as possible between work and school.

During college, I met my husband and stopped working out. I was spending all my free time with him and neglected my personal workout time. I gained weight and started to not be able to fit into my clothes. It really upset me. I had no idea until that point that my fitness routine was not only helping me emotionally, but also physically. I worked out because I liked it, but didn't understand how much it was helping my body. We got a gym membership and tried that, but neither of us felt comfortable. I went to some classes, but they were always so crowded, so I stopped going.

Then I found a few DVD series and tried them. I did Jane Fonda tapes in high school during the cheerleading off-season, so I thought I'd try them again. I eased in with Chalene Johnson's Turbo Jam, then branched off into some of her other series as well. I then added in some Jillian Michaels, Shaun T, and more. I even got certified to teach Chalene Johnson's PiYo series. I have learned yoga through some DVD series and love doing that too. To change things up, I walk on my treadmill, walk in nature, dance using the Just Dance "video game" series and HAVE FUN. This works for me. If I can't have fun doing exercise, I won't do it. I've even roped my husband into all my fitness endeavors and we have fun working out together!

I had a conversation with someone last week about fitness.  She told me she knew she needed to exercise, but just would feel too uncomfortable going to a gym. She said she was gaining weight and waning on energy. She also said she realized she needed to take better care of herself so she could take care of others. I told her my story. I told her to start doing some things at home like I do. She didn't push the idea away at all. She was actually really intrigued and I hope I was able to inspire her. I told her to start small, like trying 10-15 minutes at a time, then build up to longer fitness sessions.

So many people immediately think they have to go to a gym, or buying that gym membership is what would motivate them to exercise. That's not necessarily true. You need to be your own motivation and make the commitment to yourself to get moving. Start slow with something that you enjoy. DVD's or subscription virtual fitness memberships (like BeachBody On Demand) are great ways to try out some fitness routines without commitments. Even YouTube has tons of free fitness workouts. Experiment with different things until you find what you like. When you find something fun (something that makes sweating worth it) then continue doing that.

Try to find several things so you can alternate between them to keep your body guessing. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you'll get bored and your body will get used to it. That can be a problem if you are trying to lose weight. No matter what you decided to do fitness-wise, know that you are worth it. Make it a life-long commitment. Your heart will thank you, your emotions will thank you and your life will thank you.


Carolyn J. Braden: Let's Get Physical

Carolyn J. Braden: Let's Get Physical