I have never been one to commit to exercise; I always thought I was fit because I worked as a waitress. I used to make fun of the Fitness Fanatics or the people who worked out in the gym every day. I could not understand why they got so addicted to it and most of all I never wanted to exercise as I did not want to look like a man – full of muscles, all hard and tense – in a woman’s body.
Over a year ago, after attending some courses held by Universal Medicine and being inspired to take more care of myself, I started doing some gentle exercise classes with Re-Connect Exercise, and in that moment I realised how unfit I was. I would get out of breath just trying to do 3 or 4 sit-ups! What I had got mixed up was the fact that I was a healthy body weight for my size, but I was definitely not fit.
I decided to make a commitment to exercise and to the weekly classes and to practice on my own as well, not to get in shape or to look a certain way, but as a way to strengthen my body.
What I noticed was that it really didn’t take much time to exercise each day, and it wasn’t even about how much time I spent, but the quality of the time spent. So instead of trying to do 20 sit ups, pushing and rushing, I started out just doing 4 or 5, but with a real sense of presence and a connection with my muscles as I did each one, which I found was so much more beneficial. Beneficial in the sense that I could feel my muscles strengthen and develop really quickly, and it inspired me to continue.
Now when I wake up in the morning, instead of lying in bed, I feel an impulse to get up and exercise, to move my body and feel how good it feels to be with my body, to be with me.
And when I exercise now, I love the feeling of my blood pumping through my legs and arms, and taking a moment to really feel this sensation. I feel alive.
I didn’t start exercising this way to get fit or to lose weight, and although there are certainly side benefits to my exercising, it hasn’t been my focus or my intention: rather my commitment to exercise has become like a meditation in movement, a way for me to spend time with me.
The days in which I take the time to exercise or not, really have an effect on my moods and my energy levels. Each day that I exercise is different and depends on where I am in my monthly period cycle. Whether or not I have my period, it’s not about just doing the actions or the moves, but feeling into what feels right for me on each day.
I have also noticed that even on days when I may be feeling a bit tired, the exercise actually energises me and helps me through the day instead of the old theory in my head that it will just make me more tired. I often find quite the opposite – that the exercise, the circulation and movement helps my overall energy levels.
Since starting and committing to my own exercise program at home, I had to spend some time in hospital and was not able to walk due to nerve damage down my left leg. I came home from the hospital with a wheelie walker. At first, all I was able to do were very simple, small movements, but I was committed to supporting my body and building the muscles up again. My body has been a great guinea pig, because in less than 6 months I have learnt to walk again, I have completely regained my balance and am able to do lunges and move around without any evidence that there was any nerve damage in the first place.
I know that this fast recovery is due not just to the fact that my body was in good shape before the nerve damage, but also because of the commitment that I have maintained in taking time to exercise my body daily throughout the recovery period.
The most important thing I have experienced is that the more I commit to taking care of myself, and ensuring that my exercise routine is about quality and not quantity, the less it has become about meeting an external expectation, but just about committing to exercise and spending time with me.
By Rosie Bason, aged 35, Massage Therapist, Goonellabah NSW
Related Reading: Motivation To Exercise – Could It Be About Commitment?