In cooler climes, summer is the best for exercise and getting into shape. Being outdoors and doing stuff naturally causes activity. It’s fun and effortless.
Living in the South, summer is the worst. Three months of slinking from air conditioned car to air conditioned building and back again. It’s awful awful awful.
In the summer I’m a living example of how one can be a good weight but woefully out of shape. I may be reasonably thin, but there’s no way I’m healthy.
I know some things about myself. I’m basically lazy (this is one of the reasons I stuck with math so long– mathematicians are basically lazy). I have next to no willpower. I overheat easily. I get rashes when I sweat. I’m also allergic to most of the plants outside, including grass (I was tested!). I find most exercise interminably boring. If I sign up for a class I’m going to understand sunk costs and just not go because the discounted value of my time at the point of going to the class is always going to tell me that I should skip, even if it’s better for me in the long run. (And it’s not one of those things like work where I might avoid starting but then I enjoy it once I’m actually there. I hate exercise classes with a lazily violent passion.) Also, team sports give me bad flashbacks in addition to not being fun and taking time away from my family.
I like swimming. I like leisurely walks with the family. If we lived some place with altitude, I would enjoy hiking (I would be super healthy if we lived in Northern California). Biking isn’t bad but it isn’t particularly safe where we live (and I, um, don’t own a bike). I like walking to get to places, but we live in a suburban wasteland and I have no desire to attend Catholic church and I switched dentists. I dislike having to shave if I can help it (and some of my professional colleagues live in my neighborhood so I can’t just go around unshaven without getting a reputation at work). We do have a pool in the home owners association and a nice park with playground equipment and a little forest with a stream and nice walking paths, both within walking distance unless it’s really hot outside and then by the time I get there I’ve wilted.
And we’ve got some constraints. The temperature is ok for walking outside before 9am and after 7:30pm. (#1 is lucky. #2 is in a place where it doesn’t cool down much at night and the hottest part of the day is 6pm for some reason. #1 is not lucky– it’s actually hotter where she is, but she’s gotten more used to it. Checking the weather *right now* it is exactly the same temperature both places.) The kids have to be out the door pretty early in the morning (with me doing half the chauffeuring, which ends at 9:20 when I roll into my office parking lot) and me getting up earlier to exercise is not going to happen, not if I want to have any semblance of a brain for work throughout the day.
If I’m going to start exercising more regularly, I need to do two things: 1. I need to make it easy to exercise by removing all impediments to exercise and 2. I need to make it a routine. The best way is to get other people in the house to nudge me, but I can’t just rely on them because past experience has shown that it’s all too easy to say, “oh no, you guys go without me,” or “oh, no you go ahead and play that video game, we can do this some other time.”
I owned two swimming suits. One I got in college. The other one I got right after my 7 year old was born. I figured I could buy a new swimsuit or two at this point. Because I hate shaving, I got a rash guard top, which is pretty cool. Then I hit Land’s End’s 40% off swimsuit sale and got a skirt to go with the top and another suit that’s a dress. I’m liking these old-fashioned suits and the rash guards that are in style. I’m not sure anybody actually wants to show as much nether-region area as standard swim-suits show, especially those of us who don’t wax. (#2 reminds about radical self-love. #1 points out that radical self love has nothing to do with indecency. She can love showing her partner part of her body but not want to show that to her neighbors and colleagues.)
Also as I’ve been forcing these nightly walks, I’ve noticed that my two pairs of sandals are pretty worn down and not so comfortable for exercise. Putting on my hiking boots this time of year is out of the question. So I bought some Chacos. I’m bad at deciding, so I’m like, I want them in black, what is their most popular black sandal in my size and got that. Hopefully 7W fits… I’m much better with the European sizes and shoes than with the US sizes, but I’m somewhere in the 7-8 range. Update: I bought the wrong shoes– wasn’t careful about making sure I got a woman’s size 7…. I’m definitely not size 9W! Luckily Zappos really does have a super easy return policy. I’m going to try to hit a shoe store the next time I’m in a city. If I don’t make it I’ll try Zappos again.
So, impediments have been removed. The routine thing is still a work in practice. When it rains, the routine disappears as if it never happened and even if it’s nice the next day we completely forget to go out. About a week later we’ll get started up again on the walks. Fortunately DC2 loves the pool and reminds us to go in the morning on weekends even if we forget. And ze makes us stay longer than we would otherwise.
Anyway, wish me luck. My goal is to be less winded when I do the least amount of physical activity.
UPDATE: I’m really not looking for, “You’re doing it wrong” and “You’re not doing enough” advice right now. Really, I’m not. Because if I hear that enough I’m just going to stay sitting in the a/c in a chair, hitting reload on the internet because seriously, why bother at all? Please feel free to share what *you* do, but don’t tell me what to do. (If you do need to tell someone what to do about something, check out the previous post and give me your thoughts on window treatments.)
UPDATE 2: No, seriously, I DO NOT WANT ADVICE. Share your experience, but don’t give me advice on this topic. (Again, I do want advice on window treatments in the previous post.)
If you do regular exercise, how do you keep yourself doing it? What about those of you who hate most exercise? Do you do it anyway? How?