My first experience with exercise was watching my mother and aunt (we all lived together when I was little) attend an aerobics class. They hated it. Someone in their class had t-shirts made that said something along the lines of, "Mikki's class - whine, bitch, moan, complain, whimper" etc etc. I don't know how long they did it. I just remember watching that random group of women through a glass window, sweating and groaning, and later celebrating their survival with a cigarette and glass of scotch. They joined a gym later, lifting weights and maybe walking on a treadmill. I participated a little, more for the novelty of it, but again I saw that exercise is an odious chore faced reluctantly and whose accomplishment deserves a reward (again, a glass of scotch and a cigarette).
I can't say I've never exercised. I played soccer in fifth grade, but that was a game. I ran cross-country in high school, but it made me cry (and occasionally vomit), and thus was not to my liking. Search and Rescue practices (when I was at UWC) were entire weekends hiking through forests, over mesas, and down gullies. Calculating backwards I probably covered fifteen or more miles in a day back then. And oh, I felt strong and competent and even beautiful. But going for a run? A bike ride just to get my heart rate up? feh! Thus athletics became a sideline - I was the volleyball team manager, I cheered the basketball team. But I was never the one in bright polyester satin.
Don't get me wrong - I love the feeling of a good day's work. The ache and sweet exhaustion from hauling and digging; the first deep breath at the top of a climb; the grace of a perfect ski run. But I do better with a goal. My garden blooms and feeds me; we search for a lost person; the house is tidy (and yes, housework IS exercise, thank you very much!).
I blame the dog for the change. She requires walking, and the consequences are dire if I don't take her out (poop. 'nuf said.) So, I drag myself out of bed while the household sleeps, put on some shoes, and walk. I've hated it, especially in the winter, but it's better than having to clean up, or having to face those guilt-inducing eyes when I'm too lazy to get up.
But sometimes the sky is too gray, the room too cold, and the excuses come too easily. This morning I couldn't get up. It's snowing, and and dark, and I wanted a shower and just five more minutes in the horizontal, so I rebelled.
I discovered, however, that even though I was clean, and rested, and the dog voluntarily went out in the back yard, that I was grumpy. I had a low level of cranky going on, for no apparent reason. It didn't go away after loudly hustling the reluctant ones out of the house, or when my PTA meeting was over. I was growly all over. So when I got home, instead of settling down to paying bills or dealing with emails, I looked at the blue sky and warm sun, and took the dog for a walk. Wouldn't you know, ten minutes later I felt a warm glow rush over me, and I found myself chatting to Teddy and generally feeling good. Despite the cold my nose and fingers were warm, and I was telling myself to go a little farther, a little faster. Let's see how far we can go in thirty minutes. And I realized, I'm no athlete, but I kinda like this exercise.