Friday, August 26, 2011

Writers on the Move May Change My Opinion of Workout Groups

Confession: I hate workout groups. There I said it. I don't particularly like to work out in front of other people. I don't do classes. I don't go to the gym. I don't find groups of strangers to work out with. I guess I don't want other people to see me hot and sweaty and stumbling and messing up. I'm not athletic. Never have been. Working out with other people makes me keenly aware of this to the point of becoming self conscious. I don't like being accountable to other people for my workouts. I fear judgment if I slack off. I fear criticism that I'm not doing the "right" workout or the exercises the "right" way.

I've tried many different workouts.

I hate running. Let me make sure you understand. I despise running. You can't make me do it. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Don't even go there. Now, for those who enjoy running, more power to you. Keep at it and enjoy. I know many people who enjoy it. Don't try to convince me. I've heard all the arguments. Just push past this point and that point. Why? I don't like it. If I'm going to exercise, it's got to be something I enjoy.

I used to really enjoy walking. I've mentioned in other posts the late night walks I used to take with my friend, Sandy, when we were in college. I also used to take long walks around campus by myself during the day. These weren't necessarily "workouts", but they were movement. I have rarely taken walks as exercise on a regular basis since college and that was a while ago. I'm not sure why. I could probably come up with some reasons if I thought about it, but then again they might just be excuses...

Aerobic workouts can be fun especially those that involve dance steps or other nicely choreographed movements. I used to take aerobics classes which is where I realized I hate exercising in groups. I still own a couple of aerobic workouts and do them on occasion. I used to do a bellydancing routine that was incredibly fun, but it was on VHS. I got rid of it years ago. Maybe I'll buy a new one, a DVD this time. It was fun and might make for a nice change of pace now and then.

Weight training is okay. I enjoy light weights in combination with aerobics, but I don't have any desire to do heavy weights or develop huge muscles. I still have a couple of weight workout DVDs that I pull out from time to time.

Tai Chi bored me silly. I just couldn't get into it though I love to watch the fluid motions when other people do it.

Pilates is okay. I own a pilates DVD, but I haven't done it in over a year. Maybe I will next week just to see how I feel about it now. I didn't find it as challenging as yoga though a friend of mine finds the opposite. She thinks pilates in much more challenging than yoga... I guess every body is different.

Yoga is my go-to exercise. I love everything about it. I love the poses. I love the stretches. I love the breathing. I love the strength building that comes from holding the poses. I love doing the slow, easy workouts and the heart pumping ones. I love the flow between the poses and the hold of the poses. I love the way my body feels as I do yoga and when I'm finished. I love that when I do yoga my mind has to focus on the pose and not wander off in a million directions berating me for the things I'm not doing. It's just not possible for those thoughts to exist and hold the yoga poses. I love that I feel my body changing over time.

Okay, now that I've gushed about yoga, let me get back to my point...

A while back in an effort to get over my hatred of exercising in front of people, I started opening the blinds in the room where I exercise. Okay, I really started opening them so my cats could look out the window while I exercised, but then I realized it was a good step toward me becoming less self conscious. Oh, how I deceive myself... It's an upstairs window angled in a way that I'm unlikely to be seen as I go through my yoga poses, but it's a start.

I recently joined the Facebook group, Writers on the Move. Christina Katz started it a few months ago. At least I think Christina started it. I hesitated at first because of all the reasons I stated above mostly the accountability and fear of judgment thing because this isn't a group of people who are likely to ever exercise together since we're spread out all over the world. Okay, I didn't actually check to see if it's the whole world, but it's a good guess. I saw a few posts Christina made to the group and finally got curious. I checked it out. It looked more inspirational and supportive than anything. I decided to join and lurk for a while to see how the dynamics worked.

Remember I said lurk for awhile... Well, that didn't last long, maybe an hour or so. I started liking people's posts and commenting when I thought I could help. Next thing I knew I was posting what about my love of yoga. Within a day or two I started posting about my yoga routines... So much for lurking... To be honest, I'm not good at lurking. When I have something to say, I'm gonna say it. I rarely hold back.

I found that people were inspired by my little workout posts. Really? This surprised me. I don't know why. After all, I was inspired by their posts. People talk about their workouts and their obstacles to exercising. People offer tips and advice to one another. People ask for help and advice. The group is supportive and encouraging. There's a little goodnatured teasing now and then, but everything is kept upbeat and on topic. Often, it's just "likes" on exercise posts, but somehow that's enough.

One day earlier this week I fell behind schedule and considered skipping my yoga routine. Then I read a few posts on Writers on the Move and changed my mind even though I knew my schedule would be tighter and some things probably wouldn't get done on time. Once my routine was done, I felt better. I had more energy. My focus was better.

That's the thing about working out. It's not just a physical thing. It helps us in all aspects of our lives. For me that's why yoga works best. Other exercises don't give me the same balance in the rest of my life.

Has joining the group helped my writing? I think so, but it's hard to tell since I already did yoga on a regular basis. What I know it's done for me is remind me that as a writer I spend a lot of time sitting and to remind me that movement makes me healthier. Being healthier has to help my writing, right?

Writers on the Move just might change my attitude about workout groups. It just might... Still, I can't imagine I'll be signing up for group yoga any time soon. But this group works for me and it just might help you, too.I didn't even think I needed encouragement in my workouts since I already exercised regularly. It just proves we can all use a little encouragement now and then even if we think we don't need it!

So, move. And, come join us at Writers on the Move. We'll inspire and encourage you on your way to your fitness goals! Your body, your mind, and your spirit will all thank you for it!!

3 comments:

  1. To be honest, I'm not good at lurking...I rarely hold back.

    That's my TLC. I have to admit, I laughed out loud.

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  2. So funny! Glad to know I'm not alone in both my aversion to group stuff and to moving beyond my nest. I too love yoga, and count meditation as an exercise. I've found myself motivated and yes, shamed into facing the fact that some people I've grown to enjoy can go up and down the exercise roller coaster, I don't need to avoid movement as much as I do. Because I lead a busy, moving life (travel, commuting), I kid myself into thinking I've actually done some specific exercise. Also thinking a lot about something doesn't necessarily mean I'm actually doing it! The Writers on the Move reminds keeps me in touch with writers' reality.

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  3. Thanks, TL. I finally slowed down enough to actually read the posts. Sorry about the first response. Been distracted lately. :)

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