On 19 June, I posted my goal of exercising for an hour a day. As a retired person with lots of free time at my disposal, there’s really no excuse for not spending an hour taking care of this body that I hope to inhabit for another thirty years or so, right? I imagine a stern coach exhorting me to get up and move, move, move. And besides, exercise always puts me in a good mood, which is good for my marriage and all my relationships. So, how’d I do?
So far, I’d give myself a B. From 19 June through 19 July I achieved my goal of a daily hour of exercise on twenty-three days. My activities included walking, running, spin class, Zumba class, weight training, belly dancing, yard work, and golf.
On the days when I didn’t meet my goal, I often had houseguests, family members I seldom get to see. Of course, I wanted to spend time with these visitors, and few of them wanted to (or were able to) devote an hour to walking. Then there were a few travel days, spent mostly in the car or in airports. There was the 4th of July, an important family day, and the Tacoma Blues Festival (also a houseguest day). There were also a few days spent preparing for travel or for houseguests.
On those days when I couldn’t/didn’t devote an hour to exercise, I did remember to put on my pedometer, and I did walk at least 15,000 steps over the course of the day. Does that count? Not really—I’d say that’s a day when I was active, but not exercising, since I never walked fast enough to require any heavy breathing. My goal is still to devote an hour of each day to moderate-to-strenuous exercise, not just walking around while shopping or cleaning.
Oh, I’m not giving up, but I’m a bit disappointed in how many days I’ve allowed myself to slide because of unusual demands on my time. And isn’t that always the case? We set goals, make good progress, and then along comes one of those unusually demanding days, and our new good habits are set aside. OK, sometimes we just have to cut ourselves some slack, but I suspect that I could do better at fitting in exercise on those difficult days. My inner coach doesn’t buy “I’m too busy” as an excuse. (For those of you who knew him, my inner coach is Denny Lemmon, who blows his whistle in my ear and exhorts, “Move your body!”)
It’s the old mama mode reflex: when I have houseguests, or entertain friends and family, or when a special occasion comes along, I slide into putting others’ needs and even preferences before my own. We mamas are conditioned that way, n’est-ce pas? But such conditioning is bad for our health. And when I give up my hour of exercise in order to prepare for a visit or celebration, I end up resentful of loved ones—a state they don’t deserve and I don’t want to inflict upon them. Better they do without me for a few hours while I go to the gym—then I’ll return in a happy mood and ready to enjoy their company.
So, back to the gym and my accountability calendar. Yesterday was my birthday, and I did not get that hour of exercise, though I had a great time with friends and family. Let’s see if I can make a solid week with no excuses. Gotta go—Coach is blowing his whistle.