Believe me when I say I never thought I would be one of those people who enjoys exercising. I have always been prone to a more sedentary lifestyle. I am not athletic. I have never been a fan of team sports and all the years of playing tennis as a child resulted in me being a mediocre tennis player at best. I haven’t picked up a racket since high school, so you can tell how much I loved playing tennis. I was fairly decent at getting to the gym during my latter college years, but crazy schedules and lack of money during graduate school let me get out of the habit of exercising quite easily.
After I started working at the library I joined the university’s gym, but as I was in graduate school and working full time I would only manage to make it for about 30 minutes a handful of times each week. Once I finished graduate school that all changed. I started hitting the gym every day after work for about an hour and a half and somehow managed to fall in love with it. Now I hate the days I have to miss it, which is definitely not something that I thought would ever happen. I always thought I would be one of those people who had to force myself to exercise aside from the times I have the pleasure of enjoying a walk on the beach during vacation or something like that.
Don’t get me wrong I am still not an exercise fanatic. I am still not athletically inclined and do not push myself near as hard as I probably should. I’m probably getting by on the bare minimum, but at least I’m getting by. I have lots of friends that are crazy runners and bikers and who are constantly training for some race or other. I am not one of those people and doubt I ever will be partially because I’m lazy and partially because my poor body can’t take the strain.
One of the reasons I have learned to love exercise and not take it for granted is because due to being blessed with not one, but two autoimmune disorders there have been significant periods in the past 6 years that I have barely been able to walk let alone think about getting in any kind of exercise. Unfortunately I am more prone to tendonitis and haven’t been able to lift weights without resulting in long lasting pain for at least a year and half. I still miss being able to do that, but recent attempts based on exercises I got from my physical therapist immediately reminded me it was still no longer an option. So I try to never take for granted when I am healthy enough to exercise.
I also found one of the keys for me is to do something while exercising that helps pass the time. What this thing is varies from listening to a good music playlist or podcasts I enjoy or watching episodes of old television shows on my iPod Touch while I work out. I have made my way through a number of series I missed for whatever reason when they were originally airing. I am currently watching The West Wing. In the past I’ve gone through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Battlestar Galactica, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Terriers, Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place, Sports Night, Dead Like Me, Tru Calling, and Everwood. I also watched about 5 episodes of Felicity before deciding that show made me want to shoot myself in the head and moved onto something else.
This morning I had the pleasure of having the gym to myself for a significant part of my workout, which never happens. By the time I get back from my vacation it will be crawling with students who will have returned for the Fall semester, and I will once again be back to fighting for a cardio machine. So I’m relishing its emptiness while I still can and already looking forward to their next break.