I think I should spare the modesty of being “not very athletically talented” and just admit to the truth – I am rather athletically retarded.
To give you some background: my main source of workout is to walk from my desk to the kitchen or the washroom; I usually get tired half way through the stretching phase before an athletic activity; and my first and last time to finish an 800-meter run was in middle school, with a record-breaking 5-and-a-half minutes. (The second-to-last person finished in 4 minutes and 20 seconds, just so you know.)
In other words, I need some exercise.
They say great change happens in university years. Or, rather, if it doesn’t happen in university years, it unlikely will happen at all. I know I need to exercise more; I’ve known it for a long time – so what’s holding me back?
For one thing, I did not realize how far behind I was until I came to UBC. Before then, I thought, being an okay swimmer (meaning: I don’t drown in swimming pools) and a skater, I was doing all right. So, last year, I took a Women’s Self-Defense course at the Rec Center. The class was held twice a week, but I was only able to make it to one of them – not because I had a conflict, but because it freaking paralyzed me! I was positively shaking after the two-hour-long class, and almost couldn’t get out of bed the next morning.
It sounds like some perfect moment of a wakeup call. Well, it was rather more like a wakeup bang-in-the-head-that-left-me-with-a-brain-injury. I started to pay attention to people around me: the runners, the hikers, the bikers… and I still remember my failed biking attempt in my first year, where it almost killed me just to get up the slope on Agronomy Road. (In my defense, it was a really heavy bike.)
Most exercisers I meet started very young, and it takes some courage to collapse halfway through a beginner’s class that’s labeled “low level of physical activity”, so I found many excuses for myself to hold off for another year. But now, I figured, since I’m not getting any younger or any stronger, I better give it another shot.
Last week was shopping week. Armed with my determination and an “I can’t touch my toes, so what?” attitude, I ventured into the SRC, for my first ever yoga class.
Research in psychology tells us that we think people notice us more than they actually do, so I managed to convince myself, more or less, that no one really noticed how many times I’ve secretly dropped my knees just so my arms and legs can still be attached to my body when we finish. Long story short, I survived.
They say yoga keeps your mind clear and sharp, but my mind was clearly thinking about going to bed the whole day. Nevertheless, I did not fall off any stairs and I did get up on time the next morning for class. That was enough. I faithfully paid.
So I’m officially a yoga-er now. The label alone makes me feel healthy. I guess the moral of the story is: it takes courage to change, but it’s doable.
I’ll keep you updated on how things go with yoga. In the mean time, does anyone have any advices for beginner exercisers? Sometimes it’s hard to find a workout buddy when you’re too far behind. 10-munite running sessions, anyone?