For most of my life, I wasn’t physically active. An extremely introverted, cerebral, abstract thinker, I was almost dissociated from my own body. Anytime I became aware of my body; I felt self-conscious and insecure.
I said things like, “I can’t run.” “I hate exercise.” “I don’t have time.”
Many people say such things — those with certain personality types, who have undeveloped extraverted sensing are particularly prone to these habits of thought and self-talk. These are people who may be more involved with an inner world and less aware of external surroundings and even their own bodies — sedentary types who are more comfortable with intellectual pursuits — those who are naturally picked last for team sports.
For most of my life, I believed that fitness was just not my thing. But at age 37, I began to cultivate a fitness habit. Suddenly I realized: I have a body. I am a body. Believe it or not, this was a revelation to me. It’s one of the most astonishing miracles of my life that I am now a runner.
Fitness began as a decision to pick an activity and be consistent. I chose running, telling myself that if it didn’t work out, I would pick something else. It turns out that running works for me. And I never looked back. In the beginning, I prioritized cultivating the habit of exercise over-speed or performance. My goal was to make exercise so habitual that I craved it. I started with a run/walk program and, after a month could run continuously for 30 minutes. In those early days, I never pushed too hard because an injury could mean that the habit would fall apart. I quickly learned to incorporate strength training in order to avoid injury. Some days I didn’t feel like running but I did anyway with the goal of consistency in mind. After a couple of years, I eventually arrived at a place where I crave fitness and can’t live without it.
I used to find runners annoying. Their overzealous proselytizing of fitness was obnoxious and made me feel bad about my physical inadequacies. Now, standing on the other side, I feel just as enthusiastic about spreading the “good word.” Fitness gives so much more than it takes! You might think you don’t have enough energy but exercise will energize you. You might think you don’t have enough time, but exercise makes you more productive. It is simply more efficient to be healthy and fit than not to be. Can I get an “Amen”?
I’m Annie White. I run and live in Eugene Oregon. I also have a private massage therapy practice, specializing in barefoot massage.
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