Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Running Battle With Movement

Movement and I have had a running battle for most of my life.  When I was young it wasn't a difficult thing. In school I played soccer through 8th grade, I rode my bike for miles and miles during the summer, I swam as much as humanly possible without getting waterlogged, and I played volleyball all through high school and partway through college.  I liked moving, even if you couldn't tell by looking at me that I did all of those athletic things.

Then I got older, and the rhetoric sank in, turning movement from something enjoyable to something to be suffered through.  I stopped enjoying working up a sweat and began to treat movement as a punishment for eating "bad" foods, and for being fat.

Believe me when I tell you that there's nothing that will turn love into hate faster than taking something and making it into a punishment, a thing you HAVE to do.  So many kids lose their love of reading because they HAVE to read literature that is then picked apart bit by bit, taking it from being enjoyable to an arduous task.  Children also lose their love of movement when the authority figures in their world and society as a whole treat it as something that HAS to be done to turn all the fatties into not fatties.  It gets worse when that doesn't work, leading to a cycle of self-doubt, self-hatred, and a growing aversion to the very thing they used to love.

I was one of those kids.

Since I've become an adult I've started and stopped exercising more times than I can even count.  I will start a movement program and stick with it for a while (length of times vary), then will start finding reasons to set it aside for a time.  After a while, I just stop doing what I had started.  Then I go for a time without doing any sorts of movement at all, which tends to lead to me feeling less than my best.  After a while I realize that I felt better when I was moving, so I start being active again...for a while.  Over, and over, and over.

Each time I start moving again, I feel good about myself.  I feel accomplished.  I vow that THIS time I'll stick with it!  Each time I reach the point where I start finding reasons to stop, and slowly the movement ceases, and I not only feel physically worse, but I've added another notch to my Guilt Belt.  It is kind of like a gun belt, but instead of notching it for each person I've shot, I mentally notch it for each time I've 'failed' at movement and feel guilty about it.

Right now I'm at the start-up point again.  I had been going to the gym in my company's building.  It is a small, but decently equipped gym that is free for all residents of the office building I work in.  I was pretty consistent, and felt good...and then stopped.  That was several months ago.  Recently, however, I've felt pretty crappy, to be honest, and I knew that a large part of it was that I wasn't moving.  Sitting at the office, sitting when I get home, just sitting sitting sitting.  So today I grabbed my gym bag, finished my work day, and went down to walk on the treadmill for a while.  As always, it feels good.  As always, I find myself hoping that THIS is the time that I keep it up.  But beneath all of that, I find myself wanting to be kinder to myself than I have been.  I'm making a concentrated effort NOT to plan on doing this until the day I keel over and die, but rather I'm going to enjoy it and just take it one day at a time.

I KNOW that I feel better when I'm moving.  I just need to break the block that equates movement with negative emotions and rediscover that joy of moving.  I have it in small bursts, but I need to find it and keep it for the long run. (Heh...I made a funny.  "Long run"..."movement"...hee hee hee!)

Changing the thoughts and habits of a lifetime is never easy, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

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