It is amazing how things that seem hard when you want to start something can become so engrained in your normal behaviour that it is second nature.
What I refer to is the changes I have been implementing for the last two years or so. As those that have been following this blog for some time now know 2009 and 2010 were stressful and incredibly busy times. We got married, bought a house, lightly remodelled the old house, sold old house, SO was away for the best part for 3 months, moved house, remodelled the kitchen in the new house, SO started and finished a degree, and I started and finished a management course. (Even writing it down is making me feel tired again) This hugely busy stretch was ended by our wonderful NZ holiday early 2011.
At the start of 2009 I was in great shape and I felt so good. By then end of our NZ holiday I was not in good shape and really did not feel very happy with my shape. I also knew that I had to get back into shape as, let’s face it, the menopauze changes were going to kick in some times in the next decade. It was then that my allergy was discovered. I still think that the allergy was undetected for so long because I used to be in very good shape and had an rather good lung capacity. Another reason to start working out more again. My health!
The type of person I am I always analyse everything. I thought back to the times I was at my best and at my happiest and a pattern emerged. It turns out that those times were always when I was incredibly busy. When I was ballroom dancing, jazzdancing, doing aquarobics. As it turned out it was when I was excersising at least 3 times a week. Ouch that was a hard discovery. By the stage of analysis I was pretty much down to just yoga once a week! Something had to change and that change was mainly me and within me. I did realise that this was going to take some time, but so be it.
At my management course I noticed that I loved going for a walk before diving into the stress. The classes did not start until 9.00 and being a morning person that felt like midday starts. So I started my yoga routine in the morning. I still do this 5 times a week. It made a huge difference. It wakes me up in the morning and my muscles warm up before breakfast. I think it helps my digestion too, but maybe it is just a case of wanting to be that.
Before we’d left for NZ I had started walking to work occasionally. I decided to make it at least once a week. I did that for quite some time, then started introducing twice a week on a regular basis, added the walking to the station when I had to take the train. The latter is about a third of the way, and was much helped by the building going on. All of a sudden walking was as fast or faster than by bike. Of course SO and I also were often off cycling and we did do some skietsing, but not as intense as we had doen in the past.
Earlier in the year I decided to clock my hours walking and yoga. After a few months I decided that I did not like the average and wanted to get it up. I was getting competetive, wanted higher numbers. A bit when I did my 3km swim back in 2007. That meant I wanted/needed a third day a week walking to work, which I started after last summer. Now walking to work takes 50 minutes and therefore the walking days tend to be longer. In order to still get to go to the shops, jsut before closing it meant an earlier start. We now get up at 6.15 to get it all sorted, but it feels good (a little less good around this time of the year I do admit). I really manage 3 times a week walking. My stress levels are manageable, as I walk out the day. The day is really over when I get home, it changes my mindset comepletely and to boot I am really in getting in shape. The most amazing change within me is that I miss the walking if I don’t manage enough hours. I feel grumpy and internalise the energy I otherwise spend. I am finding the walking totally addictive I am afraid. It is now such a habit of putting on my walking shoes and if required my raingear (yes rain and snow do not stop me, far from it).
I am no 16 year old anymore, so I won’t get into that skinny shape that comes with puberty. Still physically I think I look now below my age and strong. The best thing? Yesterday I tried on a skirt that I really did not fit after NZ. It fits again :-). Yes I am proud of what I have achieved in the last two days. My body was cross wiht me a few times when I pushed too hard, but with small pushes it got where I want it. My allergy? I have medication, but I hardly use it, maybe once every 3 months only. My lung capcity is good again.
I know I will never be one of those swans with slender limbs. Just too stocky and short for that. There is no way to escape the way I am built ;-). My genes are just more hobbitish than elfish I am afraid. However if you would have told me two years ago that I would be walking three times a week to work and that I would be looking forward to it and enjoying it as much as much as I do, I would not have believed you. Too hard, too much and too tiring. Yet here I am, doing it and back in good shape and that really is what I set out to do. Now I am going to keep it up!