Have you maintained an exercise routine throughout the pandemic? In the beginning I stayed active and danced at home most days. I was in great shape from teaching fitness classes. I kept teaching one weekly online class on a donation basis to keep morale up with my regular clients. In August I stopped to take a break. I hoped we would be back in the studio enjoying live classes by September.
That didn’t happen. The second wave hit. In October we entered another lockdown which wouldn’t allow indoor classes. I considered resuming online classes but couldn’t motivate myself. I’m a great advocate for listening to one’s body. I needed rest.
Over the winter I have enjoyed knitting and going inwards. I’ve thought about exercising- considered joining someone else’s online classes- but failed to do it. This is the most sedentary I’ve been in my entire life. Even with numerous young children, I’ve always made time for jogging or some form of exercise. Having been a dance major at one stage, I spent most of my day moving.
Finally, the urge to move hit me yesterday. It may have had something to do with how tight my jeans have become, the fact that I need to unbutton them while I’m driving now. I bought new running shoes last summer but have only used them 3 times. I put them on last night and went for my first jog in ages.
It was awful!!!
I felt like I was being tortured the whole time. I only jogged 2 miles to ease myself back into exercising, and I didn’t push myself to go fast. I was surprised to feel my back sting, having only experienced that sensation of fat burning in my lower body previously. I’ve become soft everywhere. I’ve always enjoyed being strong and muscular. It was discouraging to see how much my stamina is lacking compared to the days when I was a long distance runner.
Honestly, I hated every moment. Now I can understand why people don’t like exercising. It’s really, really hard when you’re out of shape (and aging)! I’m in my mid-40’s and realize I can’t afford to stop moving. I want to keep my mobility as long as possible. My flexibility is beginning to suffer too. At my age I should also be practicing some sort of resistance training to maintain bone density.
The good news is that I stuck with it despite how uncomfortable I felt. This morning I woke up sore but energized. While Blessing was at preschool, I practiced 20 minutes of yoga for runners with a free YouTube video by my former teacher. I love all of Esther’s classes. I’m hoping these stretches will help me to avoid getting any stiffer.
Tomorrow I might challenge myself to do a 30 minute HIIT class if I feel up to it. I’m qualified to teach STRONG Nation, and I love the program. My fitness level has dropped so much I don’t know if I’ll make it through a class without breaks. If it proves too difficult I’ll jog instead.
I’m trying not to judge where I’m at right now. It’s been a tough year. Rather than beat myself up for being a couch potato for the last 8 months, I’m proud of myself for taking baby steps. Fitness is always a personal journey with plenty of ups and downs.
I’ve always enjoyed exercising so this has been a real learning experience for me. Now I can relate to how some people feel when they struggle to exercise. The trick is to keep going and make it a habit. Once I get past this horrible first phase of soreness it will get easier. I just hope I’ll be able to stay motivated.
I think the fact that spring is coming will help. The first flowers and brighter evenings give me a bit of hope. I can’t wait for it to start warming up outside, although this is Ireland… that might never happen! It’s best to take it one day at a time. How is your self-care these days?