Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,
I meant to blog three days in a row, but then I got bogged down with doing our taxes, and my kids had a half day of school...and on another day I visited my Grandpa in a nursing home in Milwaukee:
Isn't he handsome? (That's what *he* always tells me, too!) This is a photo my mom took of him on Valentines' Day. He used to work at Schlitz Brewery, which doesn't exist any more, but Miller Brewery is making the Schlitz recipe, and Grandpa thinks it's pretty good.
Do not adjust your computer screen. This really is a photo of **two** Ibenholt sweaters:Mine (on the right) is all done (including blocking) except for sewing in the zipper (will that saga never end?). The other one is my mom's. She is doing great with it, even though she has found it quite challenging. Recently, she got it into a minor mess while dividing the fronts from the back, so I told her I'd bring it home and fix it. My mom is no longer feeling the love for this project...so I fixed the issue and put in a lifeline to preserve what we have so far (and it's helpful for Mom to know that if something goes haywire, all is not lost).
I'm going to work on it for a while to help progress it a little bit farther, to give my mom's psyche a chance to heal, and to give my dad a break. He wishes the sweater would go away -- "I can't even talk to your mom when she's working on it...every night!" My mom knits quite a bit looser than I do, so I've been consciously trying to match her tension -- it's working out surprisingly well.
So, I've been thinking about motivation for exercise. Historically, I am able to maintain exercise programs the best when I am meeting somebody to exercise. I used to run with my neighbor when I lived in Fort Wayne. We would meet at around 6:00am, run and chat, and I loved it. She was one of those people you could discuss all kinds of stuff with, and she was fun on top of it. There is something about the pressure of not letting somebody down which forced me to get out of bed and go. And, since it was generally dark at this time, I felt safer running with somebody else. So, my first motivational tip is to exercise with a friend.
Since we've moved to Wisconsin, I haven't found anybody on a similar schedule or motivation level to exercise with. I've tried various exercise routines on my own. When I just had one child, I think I wore out the wheels on my stroller with all of the walking we did...but that was difficult to maintain during winter, or when it rained, and to be honest, I wasn't very consistent with it.
At some point, I received the results of some blood work, and my total cholesterol was over 200. At that point, I decided I really needed to be proactive about exercising, so I joined a health club. I had two kids at the time, and there was free child care for them, and since they weren't going to preschool, it was nice for them to play with other kids while I spent 45 minutes working out. The incentive of "I'm paying for this membership" was helpful for my motivation, but what really got me going was this:DH's health insurance has a "Fitness First" deal in which the employee's spouse may earn a $50 gift card to Best Buy for working out 150 times in the span of a year. I don't know why this has been so motivating for me, but for the past two years, I've earned the gift card. It's not like it's a ton of money, but the challenge of getting all of those workouts in, and then getting free iTunes (which is how I used my gift card this last time) is a challenge that I accept and conquer. I keep track of which days I work out for at least 30 minutes, and I include the days I ride my bike home from school, or the days I run outside, or the days I run on the treadmill at the gym. It has resulted in two and a half years of maintaining my exercise regime, the longest I've ever been able to do that.
Ultimately, though, what it really comes down to is this: A decision/realization that the benefits of exercising exceed the benefits of *not* exercising. The more I've learned in my PT classes, the more I'm convinced of the importance of exercise.
Okay, so more on that in my next post, when I'll talk about some exercise myths, some of the multitude of benefits, how much is enough, "but I don't *enjoy* it," etc...
Until then, think about this: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being on the low end and 10 on the high end, how important is it for you to exercise regularly, or to begin exercising regularly?
If it's anything greater than 1, then consider why *didn't* you rate it as a 1, and think about the possibility that this may be something important enough to do.