Exercise Can Be Enjoyable

July 12, 2016

The Be Well program was introduced a few weeks ago at Town Hall, but with last week’s official launch, it’s time to get serious. For the first quarter, our subject is Physical Wellness, of which exercise is a crucial part.

The word “exercise” is loaded term. Hearing it probably conjures visions of pain and perhaps guilt, but, we all know exercise has its benefits. I hated exercise until I learned to appreciate its perks and found the method that worked for me.

In High School, I ran for my school’s Cross Country team.  I could put up with the whole “running” thing so long as I got to chat with my friends during practice. This worked until I came down with shin splints—a classic runner’s ailment for which there is no cure but to stop running.  I struggled to find a replacement after my forced exit.  Any sport that required coordination was out—it famously took me 42 tries to hit a baseball in my elementary PE class.

Hopeless, I followed my friend to our local YMCA, thinking I might be able to handle a stationary bike. After an hour of misery, she suggested we jump in the pool to cool off. I swam a few laps, and then a few laps more. Hey, I realized, I’m exercising and I’m actually kind of enjoying it!

I’ve found swimming works for me for a few reasons. Like I mentioned, it’s easy on impact. Compared to a high intensity running workout, a swim of equal intensity won’t leave you hobbling around the next day. Additionally, swimming rewards you well for your time—the average person will burn about 500 calories per hour of swimming. Finally, while you may think following the black line at the bottom of your lane repeatedly could be mind-numbingly boring, it actually gives you time to think without distraction and decompress.

Don’t have an Olympic-sized swimming pool in your backyard?  The YMCA has 2,700 locations in the US. Prices differ, but an adult membership usually falls around $50 a month, or less than $2 a day. In addition, I’ve found that the staff are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and the environment is absolutely non-judgmental.

So, how do you fit it into your schedule? I don’t have anyone relying on me in the morning and I have a YMCA on the way to work, so getting up at 5:30am every day for a workout isn’t hard. However, if you’ve got a few more responsibilities, see if you can shift your schedule to make room for a workout once or twice a week. Consider stopping on your way home—if you’re effective, you can fit in a workout in the time you take sitting in rush hour traffic! Pack your bag the night before to save time in the morning—it also helps me commit to working out the next day.

And, if you try swimming and it’s not for you, don’t stop there! Go for a jog or join a local game of pick-up basketball or even just gather your family to take a walk after dinner. Trust me; exercise can actually be enjoyable if you find the method that works for you.


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