I envy the flexibility of little kids. They can contort their young, growing bodies into pretzel shapes with ease. They move with fluidity and grace. Why? Because they practice. Exercise to them, is effortless. It’s never boring and it’s never repetitive. Yesterday, they swam in the neighbor’s pool. Today, they climbed trees. Tomorrow, they will play baseball in the street. They keep their bodies healthy through a steady “routine” of movement. At least that was my life as a child.
But then I started to grow up. Why should I ride my bike to the store when I can drive the car? Climbing trees was no longer a challenge; I could reach the next limb that used to be just out of reach. Our neighbor filled in their in-ground pool with dirt. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Eventually, my body stopped growing and I stopped moving. I stopped living. I focused on graduating college, finding a job, worried about getting laid off, got laid off, moved to different states. In other words, “life” got in the way. For years, worry has been a jump rope that keeps tripping me up. I can’t find a rhythym, the right cadence to jump at just the right time.
I am a firm believer that a healthy body yields a healthy mind and vice versa. Think about that for a minute. What do kids worry about? Not much of anything. As adults, we clutter our minds with emotional garbage and become stoic, like statues.
I want my healthy mind and body back!
A few weeks ago, I had the best run of my life. The other day, I had a horrible run. My hamstrings felt like a chain link fence rather than an elastic band. A few pebbles of gravel from the track found their way inside my shoes. They sent pin pricks into my heels with each laborious step. If I stopped to take them out, I feared I wouldn’t start again. My lungs worked hard to overcome the second-hand smoke I inhale while working at a casino on a daily basis.
Thankfully, the sun set and gave me a good excuse to stop. I fell short of my distance target. But, I was okay with that. I did more “today” than I did “yesterday,” a day when I didn’t exercise at all. During my cool down stretches, the environment was quiet. My mind was quiet!
I stretched past the discomfort and the burning. I reached past the pain and touched my toes. “I can reach my toes? I CAN REACH MY TOES!” It was the least significant and monumental feat (pun intended) I had accomplished in a very long time. It was an unexpected surprise that made me feel great.
The effort and work I had been putting in lately proved beneficial. I was regaining the “form” of my youth. Perhaps, this is a sign of good things to come. If I just keep pushing and endure the discomfort, I will condition my body and my mind. It can’t hurt, right? As long as I don’t push too hard and pull a muscle by overexerting myself. Maybe, the secret to youthful vitality is slow and steady progress over time, rather than doing too much, too fast, and creating an injury. Besides, I never did like the smell of Bengay.
So, I am sticking to a plan of regular physical exercise. And writing this blog and other writing projects is difficult at times. I have good days and bad days. But I have to keep showing up, keep putting in the effort. Because now I know, my work will have unexpected benefits. I can’t wait to share those with you.
What routines are difficult for you to keep? What aches and pains are you fighting through? Feel free to share them with me.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant