I have never been someone who enjoys exercising. My first exposure to ‘working out’ was with my health-conscious (step)mom, and I was probably somewhere around 10 years old, on my yearly summer visit. She did ‘aerobics’ and told me how fun it was. She used words like ‘low-impact,’ and go-at-your-own-pace. I agreed to join her, so the next day (I’m not sure when she usually did her workout, but it wasn’t when I was around.) she plugged in the recorded-from-tv VHS tape and we started following the motions of the lady on-screen.
This was supposed to be fun? At my own pace? This was work! And I didn’t even have sandbags strapped to my ankles like she did! I sweated along trying not to be a total wimp, but was more than relieved when it came to an end. I collapsed on the couch and breathlessly exclaimed “Oh thank GOODNESS it’s over!”
My mom was still waving her arms and stepping high as she laughed, “This is just the first commercial break!”
Some people love to run. Not me. Some report feeling energized after an hour at the gym. Not me. I feel like napping. Add an attitude that would like to actually get something DONE with the time and effort expended, and you’ll see why exercise and I have only enjoyed brief relationships through the years.
About a year ago I ran across a testimonial of a homeschool mom of twelve who went from a size 24 to a 6 over the course of a couple years. Well, I was no size 24 but I read about her and the exercise program she did. I was surprised to recognize the name: T-Tapp.
I recognized it from my mom, of course. Some years ago she was always gushing, “Oh I LOVE T-Tapping! T-Tapping is SO awesome. It’s FUN and has helped me blah blah blah blah blah...” I didn’t even know what she was talking about. Tea-what? Was this a beverage thing? Some kind of cleansing treatment? Maybe a mental-emotional practice.. Tapping? I never did figure it out, until last year when I read about that mom.
Fast-forward to last fall. I’d had my fourth baby, and was feeling my age, let’s say. I’ve seriously never been that out of shape, and I don’t mean that as ‘overweight.’ I’ve weighed more. I mean that I just didn’t have what I needed, inside. I had trouble with my balance, I couldn’t catch myself easily if I got off balance. If I had to crouch down to get in a low cupboard or tie shoes for little ones, it was all I could do to get myself back up IF I had something to hold on to. The worst part was if I had to sneeze, or if I got a drop of water in my airway; the pressure exerted within was enough to make me feel like I might ‘bust a gut,’ literally. I’d grab my abdomen in pain, wondering if I’d rearranged my intestines permanently, and waiting for the pain to stop. Eventually I discovered that if I was sitting down, it didn’t hurt that way at all, so I’d hurry to that position if I had a sneeze. Bending 90 degrees at the waist also worked. I helped myself to a cup of cool water in the closet-sized feed-store office one day, and disappeared from view before the tall counter when I choked on a bit of water. The old boy never asked, but I’m sure he wondered as he printed out my invoice.
I really needed to do something, and I thought about all the good things I’d read about T-Tapp; the brain-body aspects (“neural-kinetic flow”), the supposed benefit to the lymph system... It seemed like all-around good stuff. My neural-kinetic flow certainly needed some tuning. I asked my mom if I could borrow her DVDs (yes, if she could find them) and she finally sent them. The 2 discs sat around for a while, and one weekend afternoon, I plugged the first one in to watch (and MAYBE try) the basic instructional (where they go slow and teach you each move) track. It started as a series of moves called the “Primary Back Stretch.” And you know what? It felt kinda good...
That first try I didn’t even get through the whole instructional (without the instructions, the workout is about 15 minutes), which I was fine with. I just wanted to get my feet wet, anyway. Not that it was terribly hard! I’d hardly even say it was “work.” No jumping, no stepping up, just careful attention to movement, bending, and some muscle usage. I decided I would try to make it through the entire instructional the next day. Then I walked downstairs. I felt... different. Better. Not amazingly so, but there was a marked difference. Until then, I didn’t know that I was in a constant state of discomfort. The bends, and moves, and stretches had asked me to do things I hadn’t done in a long while (shoulders back, for instance) and it felt good. I stood straighter, I walked down the stairs with a bit more certainty, I breathed deeper.
I did the instructional, then the 15-minute basic workout for about a month before peeking at the second disc. THAT one has a longer (close to an hour?) instructional, but I can’t see it all due to a bad scratch on the disc. :( I can, however, view the “Beginner’s Rehab” workout, which is what the instructional teaches, but she includes a lot of form reminders and water breaks. :) I’ve been doing that one for 2 or 3 weeks... or, I should say, I’m working toward it. I make it to about the 35 minute mark and by then I’m ready to do something else. Like make breakfast for 3 hungry kids.
I don’t always enjoy climbing out of my warm bed, or turning on the workout, but it never fails to reward me with that first back stretch. And at this point, I can cough and sneeze, crouch down and stand up, step without losing my balance... and those are the kind of things that make a big difference in my daily doings.
So, in a way, I'm almost, a bit, enjoying regular exercise.