I have been listening to Alice Living’s podcast and caught her chat with Sophie Butler, who touched upon how she felt about exercise when she was in school. She said she thought sports was for the cool kids and generally avoided it. I’m sure loads of people can relate to this as I recall many class mates hating P.E. and handing in a note week after week to get out of it.
No, I wasn’t one of these as I liked sport (my idea of hell was science) but even the kids that appear to be good at sports still have their moments.
Even those ‘sporty’ ones have their moments
One of my ‘moments’ was swimming! And it wasn’t only about my ability but also my very flat chest that was suddenly more exposed. Breast size was a hot topic when I was 14 but an area where I am not blessed which made the whole experience worse. But I was also pretty shit at swimming (still am). During my bronze medallion exam my rescue tows were far from good and I had a stern word with my best mate to stop drowning and coughing because SHE was making me fail! We still laugh at that incident.
And then there was the high jump competition that I was so chuffed to be part of. High jump was my thing – I always did good in P.E. class! I was ready, so I started running towards the stand, I got there, about to jump and suddenly froze – I couldn’t jump! But it was ok, they let me try again. So, I started running, got to the stand and again froze. This went on for a while and was pretty dire as well as embarrassing and confusing! I was frustrated as hell but I guess nerves got the better of me.
But I loved trampolining! Bouncing, twisting…attempting to flip. It was great fun but then that was matched with an out of control bladder. Every bounce feeling a little trickle of wee. I remember thinking ‘I’m 15 for god sake – I shouldn’t be peeing myself yet’. But it didn’t stop me from doing it as the problem was easily solved with a sanitary pad. Exercise isn’t always glamourous.
So, my point is exercise isn’t for one type of person!
This is a judgement we make about various areas of life, not just exercise! We convince ourselves that we don’t fit the stereotype or aren’t capable of doing a sport or learning a new skill because that’s for other people, not us. But why isn’t it for you? Yeah, we need to be realistic – I’m never going to be a Rebecca Adlington or Tom Daley but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t bother swimming. Although I should probably avoid attempting to flip off a diving board for safety purposes.
Strictly Come Dancing is a great example of people of varied ages and abilities giving zero fucks and smashing it out regardless. And yeah, the practice is pretty grueling but they look like they’re having a blast. Dancing isn’t only for those with rhythm! I’ve seen videos of myself dancing and cringed but then remind myself, I love dancing so hell to it! Dance while cooking, dance while cleaning, dance while drunk, dance in a class – dancing has no limits.
There’s something out there for everyone!
Are you the competitive type that enjoys the challenge of having an opponent or would you rather a peaceful walk through the fields? Exercise is incredibly vast and shouldn’t be narrowed down to solely those typical activities. It’s as creative as we want to make it. It can even be done whilst watching our favourite soap! March as you sit in the chair or lift light weights. The NHS have plenty of ideas for chair exercises online.
Schedule in that scenic walk that you’re interested in and research other exciting places to go. Does a beach walk float your boat or maybe you’re more of a mountain walker? I’ve done my fair share of ‘planned’ walks that don’t always go as expected but it’s added to the fun and created some good memories. It can also be a good opportunity to catch up and chat with friends or family while racking up the steps. But equally a good break to spend some time alone and recharge.
Is yoga a consideration? There’re some fantastic classes around but equally some great YouTube video’s for varied abilities. Many of the workouts are quite short so don’t require much time out but allow a fresh start to the day or even a nice way to unwind. A yoga mat is good for cushion and motivation to say ‘I’m using my new yoga mat’ but a carpeted area is fine too. It can be such a good laugh to do with a friend so drag in a pal and enjoy the ride while building flexibility, strength and relaxing the mind.
Find out what works for you
If we googled different ways to exercise, it would be endless. From rock climbing to cleaning to stretching in the chair. And then there’s even the unexpected exercise – I’ve built up some of the best sweats when I least expected it; like pulling the overloaded bin bag out of the kitchen bin as it gets stuck. So annoyingly self-inflicted but puts the arm muscles to work.
Exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing; it doesn’t have to be alone and it also doesn’t have to be with people. Exercise doesn’t mean we have to be athlete’s and it doesn’t mean we have to be thin or overweight. Nor should Age or ability hold us back! We are all beautifully unique and there are enough exercise options to suit us all.
To read more about exercise link into ‘Kickstarting exercise’.
“Stop worrying how it’s going to happen and start believing that it will”.