I admit that I skip exercising because I automatically remember that I hated gym class. But I need to practice my mental fitness and just do it. My health is too important not to fight to stay fit.
I never thought much about physical activity when I was a child. I liked to play – and once I started school, recess and gym class were fun enough. I preferred other “specials” like art and music, but I don’t remember much about gym class – except for playing with parachutes and having scooter races a couple of weeks out of the school year.
When I started third grade, though, we had a new gym teacher who brought a new approach to gym class. We actually started learning something about physical activity.
At the time, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t gifted in physical ability – but I started to discover it very quickly. Suddenly, gym class wasn’t just a bunch of fun and games. It turned into competition. And instead of just having fun and getting moving, we were tested on our ability – and inability.
Gym class morphed into a physical sort of math class for me: I desperately wanted to perform, but struggled miserably.
Instead of embracing the struggle and working harder, I began to loathe gym class (and math class). I didn’t care if I was one of the last ones picked for kickball, because I absolutely hated the game. And what was the fun of bowling if I couldn’t even figure out how to score it, for pete’s sake?
For the rest of my elementary, middle and high school experience, I dreaded gym class. Physical activity was completely unappealing to me.
Sadly, I’m still prone to keep that same kind of attitude toward physical activity – 30 years after my first negative experience.
Yet the truth of the matter is this: I do really, really enjoy certain kinds of physical activity. I love to dance. (College-level physical education electives were fantastic!!) I like to go on walks. I like aerobic activity. I really, really enjoy strength training. And I love the way I feel after I’m in a good physical activity routine.
The trouble is this: when my adult life is busy, the first thing to go always is physical activity. Not because I don’t want to do it, and not because I don’t think it’s important – because I do. But when I am in busy mode, I skip on exercise because I automatically remember that I hated gym class.
I admit that it is completely idiotic to revert to an elementary school disdain for physical activity. Yet it’s what I naturally do.
This realization has helped me understand that for some people, there may be deeper issues that hinder physical activity or healthy eating.
I also understand that when I’m tempted to skip exercise because I don’t think I like it, I need to practice my mental fitness and just do it. My health is too important not to fight to stay fit.
Did you hate gym class, too … or did you love it? What past experiences hinder you from healthy living?
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