Tuesday, February 9, 2010

on activity, exercise & fitness, part 1

One of the reasons I wish I lived in the farm days (a la Little House on the Prairie or all the Amish novels I love to read) because their everyday lives required so much activity that they ate great food--lots of baked goods, fried food, multiple course meals.  I'm sure there were still weight issues, but for the most part I'd guess farming all day and keeping up with the house in the way they had to, they burned plenty o calories.

Unfortuately, my job is a desk job.  When I'm at home, the lure of the couch is great with the laptop in hand, TV in front of me.  I have a car to drive places, instead of walking.  I have machines and gadgets to complete household chores and tasks (although we DON'T have a dishwasher, unless you count the cute mexican man often found in my kitchen) that used to be done by hand.

Unless we eat like birds, or have speedy metabolism, getting daily activity is necessary to maintain weight and any level of fitness.  Daily life is not the same as it was on the farm.

As a kid, I was very active.  I spent a lot of time playing outside with my brother who was just 18 months younger than me.  I would make a deal with him that if we played dolls for a little bit, then I'd play outside with him.  Usually, he agreed.  We didn't have a TV until I was about 10.  The outdoors was our favorite place.

When I hit junior high and puberty hit me, things started to change a bit.  I still remember being pretty active, but in 8th grade my school schedule really jacked me up.  My "lunch" was before 11am.  So by the time I got home around 2 or 3, I was pretty famished and often ate a second lunch or large snack.  That is when I remember starting to look "fluffy" instead of slim.  That stuck with me for many years.  As I entered high school, my activity level did decrease.  I was interested in sports, but we didn't have the money for organized sports and I changed schools every few years so it was something I didn't really pursue. 

My junior year of college I took a P.E. course that started to change my body.  We met a few times a week and were required to exercise a few times in addition to our classes.  There was something about the instructor, the fact that it was all girls, and there were just a few of us, that I found myself enjoying exercise and pushing myself more than I had in the past.  That began my ongoing relationship with regular exercise.  I got healthier, and over the course of a few years, I think I dropped a size or two.  I didn't track my weight very regularly but I can look back at photos and see the change.

It also helped during my senior year of college when I lived in an apartment with a kitchen and no longer had to eat in the school cafeteria!  Unlimited ice cream, cereal and bagels are not good for the waistline. 

Exercise became a more regular part of my life.  I wasn't always consistent with it, based on my schedule and motivation level, but I knew the importance of it.  In my opinion, I have a body that responds very well to exercise.  In fact, unless I have large amounts of weight to lose (like after pregnancy) I almost need to exercise in addition to eating right to see change in my body.

Tomorrow...my current relationship with exercise.

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