Getting into the Groove

A couple of weeks ago, I made a short post about exercise.  It was nothing profound or even interesting – it was one of the few times I’ve posted simply because I just had to get that thought out of my head.  I was tired, worn out, and feeling like the road to better health would be paved with lots of frustration and time spent literally running in circles.

But a delightful thing happened recently. I’ve been able to feel the change in my body, building up a fair amount of stamina from the 40 minute rounds I’ve spent on the recumbent bike (easy on my knee injury) and some of the moderate strength training I’ve been doing (pull-ups and dips, and some squats and leg lifts).  I’m seeing some muscle tone in my arms (who knew?) and when I need to do tasks around the house like vacuuming, I zoom through them.

On top of that, I find myself craving cardio workouts.  My friend, Kathleen, and I have been going to a local park that has an epic set of stairs – over 100 I think although in the trip up I never have the wherewithal to actually count them.  Last time we went, I went up and down three times, totally exhausting myself.  I’ve only been a handful of times but I find myself craving those stairs now, since the stair machines at the gym just aren’t the same.

I’ve never been in particularly “bad” shape – I’ve generally incorporated some kind of workout into my regular routine and have always favored mind body exercise like yoga.  But this is the first time I’ve applied myself to more strenuous workouts, one that leave me sweaty and exhausted and calm.  I sleep better, I crave healthy foods, and I’m drinking lots of water.

I’ve also been keeping track of what I’m eating, knowing that just that simple act makes you eat less.  I’m using an app on my iPod Touch and it’s got a huge database that hasn’t left me hanging yet.

So when my trial, three month membership to the gym expired today, I had that decision to make.  Do I commit to a regular membership?  It’s not an inexpensive proposition and I could very well do the same cardio workouts at the exercise room provided by my complex, so this took some thought.

But I realized one of the things that keeps me going back to the rec center (not a traditional gym since I’ve had too many bad experiences in such places) is the fact that I am surrounded by people in the same mindset as me.   There is a sign on the door as you leave that says, “Smile – You just did something good for your body!” with a cheese eating grin on the face of a very cute guy.

And I smile.  Automatically.

So rather than disrupt my groove, I’m keeping the membership and cutting down on some other expenses (likely my weekly nights out with my girlfriends). We’ll just have to start making cocktails at home instead…. I am pretty sure they’ll be fine with that.

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