My Health. My Responsibility. # 2 Exercise.


This is the fifth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.

This area of my life is my downfall.

My husband was a keen athlete, participating in both individual and keen sports, all of which came easily to him. Rain, hail, or shine he was out running, kayaking, skiing, lifting weights, or cycling. Meanwhile I was inside looking after the children or cooking or cleaning or at my desk working. Sometime after he left me, I found a crumpled piece of paper of his jottings where he had drawn up a table, listing various attributes in the first column, then giving a score for both him and me in the next two columns. I presume this had been him weighing up whether we were really suited to each other. He included such things as socialising, dress sense, punctuality, and physical exercise. Needless to say, he had scored me very badly on physical exercise.

I was quite upset that he would draw up such a list after a 40 year relationship. I was angry that part of his decision to leave me was made after consideration of what I thought were personality differences and that, even if there were differences, a good marriage is all about tolerating those differences. There was not a hint of consideration of deep values such as kindness, honesty, and compassion; that I had always thought our marriage had been based on.

Initially in the throes of divorce griefΒ  “I’ll show you” angry phase; as well as a complete makeover and spring-cleaning of the house; I focussed on my well-being, diet and exercise. I became quite fit and healthy. That all fell away when I fell down into the “complete and utter sadness and misery” phase at which stage I was quite content to remain a motionless blob for days at a time..

Then over time, focussing on my inner self and affirming my values and beliefs, some reverse illogical psychology also came into play for me.

A dog has four legs, fur and a tail.
A cat has four legs, fur and a tail.
Therefore a cat is a dog.

Husband exercised every day. .
Husband dumps wife of 37 years without warning.
That is not an admirable trait.
Therefore, exercising everyday is not an admirable trait.

Floored logic.

With the best of intentions, I do sometimes start an exercise programme and keep at it for some time. Then things crop up and the exercise gets shoved aside. So in my new take-responsibility-for-myself frame of mind, rather than start an intensive programme that will surely fail, I have decided to start a new approach to physical activity. I read this on another blogger’s post last week of always doing “something” physical every day. There is no need to feel guilty if it is not a marathon run, or two hours at the gym as long as it is “something”. So I can pass the test even if I only manage a 20 minute walk because that is better than nothing at all.

Interestingly enough, this philosophy works.

While too often I am rushed for time, with too many other more ‘important’ things to do, it is hard to find that hour or even a half hour for exercise. However, I can always find twenty minutes. In fact I can find twenty minutes twice a day. I can even making finding that twenty minutes a habit, a life-time habit. I can make those twenty minute episodes full of fun, and I can combine this strategy with a great walking adventure at least every fortnight.
One week down, so far so good, and I will update you further down the track and let you all know how I am coming along.

πŸ™‚Β  πŸ™‚Β  πŸ™‚


Image Courtesy [Grant Cochrane] /

34 thoughts on “My Health. My Responsibility. # 2 Exercise.

  1. I find regular physical activity essential to a healthy, happy mindset. Exercise is my stress reliever, my timeout, my “me time.” I think your approach is a good one, Elizabeth, and if you embrace exercise as yet one more positive thing you’re doing for YOU, my hunch is that it will become a wonderful part of your life. Stay strong! πŸ™‚

    • You raise an interesting point. When I was very busy at home with four young children, I walked every morning. This too was my “me” time. It was the only time the children would accept that Mum had to be left alone. Now that I am alone and have plenty of time for “me”, I tend to spend that in creative activities and the walking has slipped away. Hence my turnaround of convincing myself that I should do it for my “health” and that is necessary for the complete “me”.
      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

  2. it is a good approach Elizabeth. My challenge is very similar — I talk myself out of exercise. Yet, when my daughters were little and I was working full time and running the house and all of that, I always found time for at least an hour run every day. It was part of my psyche. I was just as busy — if not busier, and I never compromised on my exercise regime. Funny how letting go of it, makes it harder to pick back up!

    I like your approach. I’ll give it a go!

    • You and Lorri above raise an interesting point. When I was very busy at home with four young children, I walked every morning. This was my β€œme” time. It was the only time the children would accept that Mum had to be left alone. Now that I am alone and have plenty of time for β€œme”, I tend to spend that in creative activities and the walking has slipped away. Hence my turnaround of convincing myself that I should do it for my β€œhealth” and that is necessary for the complete β€œme” but to also be more casual about it because starting an exercise ‘programme’ would be doomed to fail.
      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

  3. Great comments here. I love Donna’s remarks about it being key to our mental and emotional wellbeing. It comes down to being kind to ourselves. To learning to put ourselves first, so that we can be there for others when we need to be.

    Here’s one thing we’ve done to keep on top of this. Nike+ Fuel Band. It tracks your activity level throughout the day. We can monitor whether we are “moving” enough each day, and set goals, increase goals, motivate ourselves to keep going.

    • What a great idea. It may track improvements in those subtle movement increases like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking down town to post your own letters rather than popping them in the work pick-up tray.
      I will check it out. Thanks.

  4. Elizabeth, as with everything else that you face and change, you are approaching this with a great attitude and in a sensible manner. For me, exercise is therapeutic, and it does as much for my mind and soul as it does my body. Do what you can, find something that you enjoy, and give yourself credit for making your health a priority. You are thriving!

  5. Very positive, the last part of you blog. I like this. I think your plans regarding walking are very good. Updates further down the track? Yes, please. And have lots of fun! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. I am an avid walker, but am thinking of adding in some other exercises to firm up my arm muscles. The main thing though, is to keep moving every day, whatever the activity. Your mind and your body will thank you for it.

  7. Your post is reminding me that 5 months ago I purchased some exercise equipment that remains in its box, unopened. I did, awhile back commit to beginning and ending my day with a downward dog, just to “do something” as you say, but fell off the wagon. Currently, in the city of Toronto, it is so damned HOT that any motivation I may have otherwise had, I can’t find. But I agree with you: my health is my responsibility and exercising is of critical importance. Getting to it soon! πŸ™‚

  8. I agree with the “something” every day, just something. We are human bodies, we need to move or we get stiff and stale. It’s just a fact. Mind you, I’m the fattest I’ve ever been my WHOLE life. I’m finding it hard to do anything too – haven’t done a single thing since return from Thailand. Exercise is most definitely a challenge, but I do feel good after.

    Re the list. Wow, that would have SO hurt.

    • Yes the exercise thing is SO hard after a holiday. But you had a great time and have happy memories. So the body can wait πŸ™‚
      Yes, “the list” was SO painful to discover. Then after a while I thought ‘Who would write such a list except a 14 year old? Then when I realised what I was dealing with, I let it emotionally go’.

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  10. I’ve been at this for the better part of the year until I wiped out on my bicycle a few months back. Ever since, every attempt at exercise results in an over-exaggerated injury. Twenty minute brisk walk . . . pinched nerve that disables me for a week or two. Slower 20-minute walk a few weeks later . . . so far, so good . . . until I wake up in the morning with another pinched nerve somewhere else that puts me out of commission for 2 more weeks. I keep on tripping through. Hoping that I will be able to make 20 minutes a day a reality again some day. Right now, I’m the Pinched Nerve Princess! Hoping the bicycle crash didn’t become part of a new long-term challenge for me. Fingers crossed! πŸ™‚

    • If someone had told me in my twenties that I would have been proud at myself doing 20 minutes a day, I would have laughed at them.
      Now I do see that there are so many people who do nothing that 20 minutes is quite an achievement!
      Good luck with your improvements on your injury and hope that you can soon join me on my 20 minutes a day

      • lol. I know… it’s a bit embarrassing that the bar seems to be set so low, but c’est la vie, that’s how it is sometimes! I think 20 minutes a day is more about creating the habit, which is always a good thing. I’ll be with you soon; I know it! πŸ™‚

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