My mindset in regards to exercise is not a good one. My siblings and I were never particularly encouraged to exercise as children, mainly because we lived on a large property with abundant space where we rode horses and motorbikes, and trekked down paddocks to make forts and cubby houses, so I suppose our parents decided this was enough in the way of physical activity. In all honesty, it probably was, I'm just giving you a glimpse of my "active" childhood.
As a result of any form of exercise coming from doing things I enjoy that just happen to be active, whenever I "force" myself to do exercise, I find I CANNOT stand it. I hate sweating. I hate being out of breath. I hate how unfit I am. I hate how I look working out. So for a long time, my idea of exercise has been that it is something not to be enjoyed, rather endured, with the end goal being that I am far skinnier and fitter than before. And I always stop doing whatever exercise I've pushed myself into that week/month/year.
Lately, I have realised that if I am to enjoy exercise, I can't think of it as exercise. It has to be something that is active, but that I have enjoyed doing, even if I am a little puffed and "sticky" at the end of it. Among these things I've included dancing (in my own home, to my own music, my own way), horse riding (more on that in future posts), Pilates and Yoga (which I do enjoy, and also make me feel incredibly chic and "Gwyneth") and, funnily enough, walking. Anywhere. And not at a particularly fast pace; just somewhere lovely, soaking up atmosphere and view, and feeling good that I stepped out rather than drove out.
Yesterday, I headed to Toowong Village for some very important and frustrating passport business. Instead of climbing into the car, I decided to put my earphones in and walk the not too far distance to get there. I have to tell you - even though I was sweaty and I hate walking right next to traffic, it was a really lovely way to spend half an hour. I switched my iPhone to shuffle, set a brisk pace and absorbed things around me that I would never normally take notice of when we drive. And can I just say, my music was so ON. I really have to leave things to chance a little more often. My random playlist of the Beatles, Florence, Madonna, Anthony Warlow (!), Queen and Abba, combined with the fresh air and people watching, put me in the best mood. I mouthed words to songs and didn't care who caught me, smiled at people I passed and pined for a delicious breakfast at The Corner Store Cafe as I wandered past its staple massive queue. Life was good, for that 30 minutes, thanks to music and walking.
Moral of my story? I'm going to opt to walk a lot more. If it's within a fair distance, and time frame, I'm there - on foot. It's activity, but enjoyable, and my little outing made me appreciate life just a little more for a while. It's also a terrific time to think. About anything and everything. So do yourself a small favour: pull on some comfortable shoes and hit the pavement. You'll thank yourself (and me!).
Footnote:...... I caught a cab home.... *smacks forehead*