I’ve come to realize that if I dress up exercise in something other than what it really is, I can actually get it done without my body screaming at me. For instance, I love taking trips, like the ones we’ve taken with the entire family. We’ve visited Gatlinburg, as well as Savannah, among other places, and most of these trip require an extensive amount of walking.
Now, part of the reason I love the historic district of Savannah so much is that you park your car and walk everywhere. For a man who hates traffic, it’s the perfect location. Everything we need is right there, including a grocery store. And the crazy part is I look forward to walking each day, getting a giddy excitement at what’s to come. We’d wake up, have breakfast, and then go exploring. We averaged ten miles a day just in that little area that takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to cross. We also had the added hurdle of avoiding tour groups and trolleys, which added to our step count, and by the end of the day, our legs were sore and we were exhausted, but it felt great. Ten miles a day! My body hurts now just typing that. I can’t even walk from my house to the beach, which is only two miles, without needing to call a taxi to come pick me up.
It’s the same when we go to Disney as well. We are there from open to close and, as anyone who has been to an amusement park can tell you, you spend 80% of your time either walking or waiting in line. Our muscles ache; we’re tired, but we’re not complaining because we’re doing what we want to do with people we want to do it with. Char even has a pedometer she wears on our trips that counts our steps and brags about how much we’ve walked as we’re leaving the park. It’s only then that my body screams what an idiot I am, and by the time I pull into our driveway after an hour drive home, the girls have to untwist my pretzel-like limbs from the front seat.
However, on a normal morning as I am lacing up my walking shoes to get my required amount of fresh air and exercise, my whole body fights against the activity I am about to force upon it. Two minutes into my walk and I already want to turn around and go home. Five minutes in and my legs start telling me they’re about to go numb and fall off. Even with music blaring in my ears, I have to constantly give myself a pep talk that people walk all the time and survive. I scold myself when a little old lady struts past me and fight the urge to take her out. It really is pathetic what I go through making myself exercise.
Yet, it’s because I don’t want to do it. My ever-fattening belly isn’t enough motivation to simply walk the fifteen minutes to the beach and back again. I wear myself out just getting out the door, mainly because it’s taken ten minutes of twisting my body into grotesque shapes just to get my socks and shoes on. As a matter of fact, my legs hurt just writing about it. That should count as exercise, right?
But it’s all in my mind. My brain associates walking around Savannah and Disney as an adventure, something to be enjoyed. It sees walking for exercise as, well, exercise, something to be endured. One is a pleasure while the other is a chore.
It’s the same with everything we do. How we view it will determine its effect on our body and spirit. Go into something with a negative mindset and you’re more than likely to get negative results—or never leave the couch as in my case. However, go in with a positive outlook and you’ve already overcome half of the battle. Now I just have to make myself positive about exercise. Maybe I can take a desk on wheels and type while I walk. Then I wouldn’t know I’m actually walking, right? It’s a thought anyway.