Friday, January 7, 2011


"A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise."  A. A. Milne

I teach Aqua Aerobics at the YMCA every Friday evening at 6 PM.  Tonight there were 17 extraordinary people in my class.  Do you have any idea what makes them extraordinary?  I do!  They are extraordinary because it was Friday night at 6 PM, the end of a very busy week for most and they chose to come to the Y and exercise, for an hour, in an Aqua Aerobics class when most people are doing everything except exercising.  It was a choice they made to do something good for themselves and their fitness.  The 17 people who were in class tonight were all regulars - not one of them was someone who came because of a New Year's resolution.  They came for their own reasons and the amazing thing is they keep coming back, week after week.  While I would love to say it is because I am a great teacher (I try really hard) the simple fact is they are there because they choose to be. 

When I began exercising I was morbidly obese.  Bending over to tie my shoes was a workout and it quickly left me out of breath.  The thought of going to a gym to exercise was terrifying so I had to come up with another option.   I decided the easiest thing for me to do was to walk.  I was not willing to take my huge self outside to walk so we bought a treadmill and put it in the basement.  The first time I got on the treadmill I set the pace at 1.2 mph and keep the level flat.  I walked 20 min (less than 1/2 mile) and thought I was going to die but I was proud.  I got back on the treadmill the next day and the next and the next and before long I was walking faster and longer.  I took my walking and my then 8 year old son, Adam, outside with me to walk.  We were fortunate to live in a community with miles of marked walking trails so we walked the trails.  I remember many afternoons spent walking with Adam while quizzing him on his spelling words or helping him study for a test.  What I didn't know was he grabbed the stop watch and would time me each day encouraging me to go faster, making me beat the previous day's time, and I did.  I was walking 13 minute miles while talking.

My exercise program progressed as my weight decreased.  I can easily walk a 4 mph pace on a treadmill without holding on and with an incline.  I have taught group cycle classes.  I take step/sculpt classes, Zumba classes, and I teach Aqua Aerobics.  Last year I walked 2 half marathons (13.1 miles).  I am fit and I am proud!  I never would have believed I would love to exercise but I do.

I would tell you anyone can do what I have done.  You begin with baby-steps - put on your tennis shoes and walk around the block and when that becomes easy add another block and another; before you know it you will be walking miles.  

If you are someone who has been exercising, I challenge you to do something different.   Stretch you limits, reach for a new goal.  Maybe it is joining a gym, walking or running a 5K, completing a half marathon or maybe even a full marathon.  It is amazing what you can achieve when you try.

I have a shirt that I bought in May the day before I participated in and completed the Flying Pig Half marathon (in the rain) that says:  "The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start to begin with."

What are you going to do?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lynn, read your guest post on Mimi's site, and just wanted to stop by and say how inspirational your story is. Thanks for sharing with us!!! Have a good day.