Use It or Lose It

exercisesWhen you are a young parent, sometimes it is all you can do just to put one foot in front of the other through each incredibly challenging day.

I get that, I really do. I felt that way for the longest time, and then things changed, children grew, and it became clear to me that I had put my health and well-being on hold.

It wasn’t an irrevocable situation by any means, but I was going to have to make some concrete decisions and then find some way to stick with them if I wanted to make a change. Isn’t that how self-change always works? I mean, maybe it is easy for some people to keep healthy eating and exercise in the mix, but that certainly was not my experience! I needed help…someone to encourage me and hold me accountable and…hey, maybe a personal trainer! Yeah, that was the ticket!

I met my first trainer (yes, there have been many over the decades) through my daughter’s Tae Kwan Do instructor. Duc Dinh was a wonderful trainer and I learned an immense amount about proper form, what my body was truly capable of and the fact that I could actually be athletic. You see, I had never seen myself that way before. It was liberating and over time I found that I moved more easily and even differently as my posture and muscle support improved. I was hooked and have had personal trainers ever since. My current trainer is Hjalmar Perez, and I pay a per session fee in addition to a fairly low cost gym membership. (I don’t handle Texas heat well, so outside is not an option!)

But wait, you may say, “Isn’t that expensive? How could you afford to do that?”

The answer to that question is another…”How could I afford not to?” Many people have the self-discipline, control, addiction to endorphins or whatever else it takes to get up every morning and do exercise but I simply don’t. I find it tedious in the extreme and even though I feel better after I have done it and acknowledge its benefits to anyone who asks, it is just not in me to do solo exercise. I need social interaction to make exercise enjoyable.

Does this mean I am a lean, mean fighting machine now after years of workouts? No. I am a bit overweight and fight that constantly, but my blood sugar levels and blood pressure are great, my strength is above normal for a woman my age and my balance is awesome.

So, how about you? Everyone is different. Are you a person who can exercise alone and feel that it is an oasis of time which allows you introspection and deep thought? If so, congratulations! But if you are more like me and find exercise boring and will rationalize any reason to avoid it, maybe social exercise is what you need. Whether it is a class or a standing appointment with a personal trainer, get out there, find what works for you and do it. You will more than pay yourself back in reduced health care costs down the line. Trust me on this.

I am currently watching my mother decline in her early 70’s with diabetes, kidney failure, diverticulitis, osteoporosis and aches and pains of various intensities.

I see the costs associated with failing to taking care of your physical health and I choose to do it differently. I want to be able to climb a ladder, hike a few miles, bend over and pick up a grandchild without strain or pain. I want to do what I want to do as long as I can do it. It isn’t about longevity, but rather with “quality of life” you can have along the way.

Come join me and your children will thank you later!

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