Insights from the non athletic gym attender.

I have been exercising for the past 8yrs reasonably regularly and only started as I had put on 5st after the baby was born (honestly I thought I must have been carrying a swimming pool and shocked to find after 10days post birth I was heavier than just before I went into labour 🙈). Anyway back to the exercise, I took up running (initially with an oxygen mask at hand and more a toddle waddle than a run and I joined the gym (motivated by the promise of coffee and a catch up after I had suffered a class). The exercise was also for my mind. Employed in such an emotive job where I work with so many individuals and their struggles needed me to manage my own emotions. I’m not the athletic type and believe me, shamefully uncoordinated, so to be honest it does take a bit of effort to brace myself and just do it. I always feel better and never feel worse afterwards. But as many of you will know motivation is often tough for us all.

Today I was intentional about exercise but not specific about what I would do. As I entered the leisure centre (pushed a bit by my daughter needing a lift to gymnastics) - note to self it’s always good to have that extra purpose or I would have stayed at home. I didn’t feel overly motivated and had not booked anything. I could choose a gym workout or a class (there was space). With my motivation being lower than normal I chose the class as I knew I did not have the energy to decide what exercise I would do. I chose a combat class. As I stood at the back (as that’s definitely the place of choice when you haven’t been for a while and feel a little less confident), I watched with interest. The ones at the front all chatty with the instructor and looking so well equipped. A little regretful that I hadn’t been for a while and I did wonder as the weeks progress do you make your way gradually further forward? Although that's except for the one who’s late and had no choice but to be propelled to the front wanting the ground to open up, I’ve been there too! Then as it started I wondered if I had ever done this class before because every move I was on the wrong arm or leg. But do you know after the first 15mins (when part of me wished I had gone to gym so that I could leave and end my exercise for the day) the other part was starting to feel a bit more relaxed.

This is the reason I exercise and when I leave it for a while it’s so hard to get back to it. Then comes the cool down, boy am I the only one who is inflexible. Everyone I looked at was doing those yoga moves I think are definitely inhuman, then I realised, I’m at the back, the only ones I see are those more confident in front. I had a sneaky look to the side and saw my kindred spirit, another who I must admit struggled as much as me. It only took a smile to acknowledge we both felt the same way and somehow that in itself is empowering. To know I’m not alone in that moment was all I needed. I left with that pleasant feeling that I had achieved something and it was good.

So what’s my learning? Well we all need to be intentional about exercise, plan for it the night before, if we are less motivated plan to go to a class or with someone and know that when you stand at the back the only direction you can go is forward. Exercise is good don’t forget it. Oh and if you feel uncoordinated remember you are not alone and if you see me there, give me a smile and I will understand.


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