Last week at the athletic club I attend, a group of us women were sitting drinking coffee or water discussing life and solving the world’s problems. We had just spent an hour practicing our tennis skills in a class called “tennisize.” Somehow we got on the topic of at what age we were the most fit. One gal said in her 30s, another her 20s. I started to say my 20s and then I changed it to now. I believe I will be the most fit in my 50s. Even though I’m carrying a lot more weight than I did in my 20s, over the past year I’ve started a good exercise regime. I exercise at least 4 times per week. And most weeks, I get in 5-6 days of good exercise.
What is good exercise? At least one hour of aerobic work. I’ve been doing group classes, aqua aerobics classes, and playing tennis. Tennis has become my passion, but I try not to only play tennis. I also like to take walks (not strolls!) and ride my bike. My bike rides are often on the weekend along with my husband. This past Sunday morning, we rode on a greenway passage in our town and figured we had gone just over 10 miles round-trip.
I am surprising myself by how much I can do now. Playing tennis for two hours doesn’t kill me. I might be worn out, but it is a good worn out. That 10-mile bike ride didn’t seem like 10 miles and even though my legs were rubbery and my bottom hurt, I really didn’t have any lingering effects the day after.
In Ken Davis’ book Fully Alive, he discusses his journey of becoming more physically fit. I can relate. A year ago, I saw my 50th birthday looming and knew that I was not in good shape physically. I needed to lose weight and I needed to be exercising more and with more intensity. I wanted my next part of life to be a healthier one. I want to live my older years not having ailment after ailment, pain after pain. I want to be able to do things with my future grandchildren like run, hike, swim, and play tag or chase.
In Fully Alive, Ken says that we have to have a larger reason to want to get fit and lose weight; something that is worthy of a life-time commitment. “One that will motivate you to live every day fully alive, healthy, vital, and capable of being all God created you to be.” I found that motivator within myself and I believe every person can find that motivator—be it health, getting rid of sickness or pain, or wanting to not huff-and-puff when going up the stairs.
When the opportunity came last summer to join a local athletic club at a reduced rate, I grabbed it. I took tennis lessons with my daughter, tried out different exercise classes, had a trainer show me how to use the weight equipment, and soon figured out the things I liked to do best. As Ken suggests in his book, start easy, find something you have fun at, and make sure you breathe hard. That is exactly what I’ve been doing the past year.
The thing I’ve come to love is tennis. As I mentioned in a previous post, I played for fun as a teenager, but hadn’t picked up a racket since my early 20s. Now, this coming weekend, I will be playing in a district USTA tournament in Indianapolis. I’m not a high-ranked player. In fact, my league rank is the lowest they have. But, I love playing and I get a good work-out.
I like what Ken mentions, “breathing is a privilege, not a burden” and “to move whenever you can and to the fullest extent that you can.” That is what I’ve been trying to do over the past year and I see myself achieving. I really don’t like days when I don’t get any exercise. I feel frumpy and dull. I get much more done when I’ve gotten a good work-out in and sweated to start the day. Just like if I miss a day in God’s word, a day without some intense exercise is not a good day for me.
So, I recommend getting started. A little exercise is a good way to start. Of course, if your doctor says you shouldn’t raise your heart rate, then don’t listen to me. But, I do believe most Americans are like me and need to move away from their computers, TVs, game stations, etc. and get moving.
Whether you are working toward living fully alive physically, mentally, socially, or spiritually, short-term goals and immediate action steps are essential if you expect any progress. Break it down into small steps. You won’t run a marathon without first training and reaching that first mile, then two, then 10, and so on. As Ken so rightly says “Push yourself, but don’t punish yourself” and “consistency is much more important than intensity.”
Let me know if you start moving more and are working toward exercise that pushes you and makes you breathe hard. I’m certainly no athlete, but I know for me, I’m probably in the best physical condition I’ve been in for years.
On Monday, I will be posting a review of Fully Alive. This book has impacted me greatly and fits right in with what I am trying to achieve with my life right now. If you want to look at it before then, you can find it at www.FullyAliveBook.com or http://bit.ly/fullyalive.
Those are my thoughts for today.
- I’m rallying in my love-love for tennis (teresasthoughtsfortoday.wordpress.com)
- My journey to exercising more (teresasthoughtsfortoday.wordpress.com)