Breathless

English: Chrystalleni Trikomiti, a rhythmic gy...

I am desperately unfit. I am not exaggerating when I say that a few minutes of dancing around the living room with my little one and I am breathless. It is shameful, really. I used to be a rhythmic gymnast. I practiced 20 hours a week and competed at national level (albeit it in a very small nation, Portugal) for eight years. After that I stayed active, as well as teaching Rhythmic Gymnastics for a couple of years, I have done rowing, dance, kung fu, chi kung, yoga and zumba – some of it quite seriously, particularly kung fu… and now this. I can barely go up a flight of stairs without wheezing.

I eat really quite healthily and yet, what kind of role model am I being to my child? What kind of mother am I gifting to her, even, when I am so unfit?

This I share with you now, by way of a kick up my own a*se. I need to get out and do more exercise. I mean I walk quite a lot… but it is becoming less and less and has a lower impact now that I find I no longer carry Pipoca in the Ergo (as I did for her first two years of life). Something needs to change.

English: Heart diagram with labels in English....— — —

How about you – are there areas in your life you are realising you need to step up to for your own health and wellbeing as well as to become a role model to your child, so they too may be inspired to live as healthily as they can?

— — —

PS no, that is not me in the photo!… but yes, I was once super flexible, I was fit (ish) and could jog 30 minutes or so without it being a big deal. Now my ambitions are lower but I do want to get heart-fit. Even a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, right? I need to start my journey. Won’t you join me and tell me about yours?

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9 thoughts on “Breathless

  1. Good luck on your journey; those first steps are always the hardest but once you get going, anything is possible. Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

  2. What do you think you will do?

    I still believe that exercise that comes naturally with other activities — farming, for example — is best; it feels weird to me to have time dedicated specifically to exercise. And yet, that is what I need in order to get any — I’m not a farmer, and none of my daily activities lends itself to integrated exercise. Special time helps a little — if my character has to run, she has to run! But my approach in the last few years has involved exercise classes and some limited exercise at home. I go to a yoga class once a week, just started back into a weekly toning / strengthening / everything class called Butts Guts Tris and Thighs, where we do a thousand reps (not literally) of rather weird exercises, in six cycles of something for each major body area. And at home, theoretically I do fifteen minutes of Pilates in the morning, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually done that.

    • Hmm… not sure. Think I need to start gently. The last time I went to a Zumba class (over a year ago) it almost killed me. My heart was pounding like a wild thing and my face was the colour of a beetroot. Oh, my!… And I used to walk a lot more back then (so was probably fitter then than I am now). I used to live on a lake and going for a walk with my big baby in a pack was one of my favourite things. They easily lasted over an hour and often spanned two or three hours. But then we moved… plus, now my little one can walk so that has totally fallen by the wayside.

      I totally know what you mean about exercise that is incidental to life but, alas, I am a city (and – once – office) girl so, apart from walking, there has been little of that in my life. My aim has always been to do exercise that is fun. I have difficulty doing exercise that is just ‘good for me’ but deadly boring… (some of your thousand repetitions would be hard on my, intellectually, so to speak – I get bored!). That is why I like dance or something like kung fu or yoga with a long and deep tradition that I can wrap my mind around, too. But honestly, the issue for me now is a) that I live in town so going for treks is possible but involves a car ride first – haha; and b) I have no child-care – none. I literally get about 2 hours every two weeks or so when my hubby takes baby and, generally, I try desperately to catch up with blogging. Sad…

      One realistic (if slightly boring) option is mommy-and-me yoga, then I don’t need childcare and at least I am concentrating on my physical self for an hour or so. I did it once a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. It is hardly aerobic, though… but again perhaps I need to work up to that, anyway.

      Thanks. Writing it out has helped me think it through. I guess I know what the next step is. Cheers,
      Gauri

      • Starting gently is a great idea. If you don’t mind videos, that can be a good way to exercise at home, if you’re disciplined enough to schedule it — and then childcare is less of an issue. I take Amy with me to classes right now — she’s old enough to keep out of the way and occupy herself. And last year I had a friend take her who wouldn’t take any payment — and I offered to swap care but no one has ever taken me up on it.

        Also, consider what you can do that’s short, to start with — I downloaded a Pilates chart from a website called Real Pilates or something like that, and I use that for mornings — but it helps to know enough about Pilates to follow a chart.

        T-Tapp might interest you as something that can be done in short intervals.

        The thousand reps does sound boring, but it’s not really — there’s music on, and it’s stuff you can do fast, and it’s challenging to do so it takes energy and focus.

        I took modern dance all through college — at first to fulfill PE requirement, but I loved it so much I continued. I love exercise that is beautiful. Pilates and yoga, and this weird many-reps stuff, comes pretty close, but if I could exchange it all for free modern dance classes again, I think I would. I haven’t cared for other forms of dance-based exercise — modern and ballet are just so different from ballroom, latin, and so on.

  3. Well, you know, parenting is hard work. We try to do our best and then , sometimes, we realise we’ve lost something on the way.
    I have realised these days that our diet has been missing fruit and vegetables for a while. That’s very strange for me and I am not really sure how it’s happened. But now that I have acknoledged it, I am ready to start again.
    And this is something we teach our kids: we are human, we make mistakes, sometimes we may forget that we should take care of ourselves better. So we find a way that works for us, and start over again.

    PS I started yoga classes about 2 months ago and when I did I was in your same condition. I already feel so much healthier and stronger, and love every single minute of it.
    xx Sabina

    • Yep, healthy eating takes so much energy and thought, too – I really agree. I come from super healthy-eating roots… and yet I forever find myself falling off the wagon and having to scramble back onto it. Compared to some crunchy-cook-EVERYTHING-from-scratch mamas, I am sooooo urban, lazy and compromise-ey. Hah. You do the best that you can with the energy and knowledge you have, right? So, I hear you…

      The exercise thing, I guess the problem is that it isn’t just that I stopped doing ‘my best’ it is that I have done it long enough to see and feel the results: breathlessness, palpitations when you do exercise – scary stuff. Still, I am happy (in that ‘misery loves company’ kind of a way) that I am not the only one that had let herself go, though. Thanks for being so open with me, too, in return :)

  4. Dear Gauri

    I am glad you are still spelling “a*se” in the english way:)
    Since stopping work I have started cycling more – that keeps me fit. Would you feel comfortable with cycling with Anya?

    Have you ever tried Kundalini Yoga? I have begun doing it and love the mix of yoga and chanting:) It also feels much more physical than other yoga I have done, good exercise. Here is a link to some info about it.

    http://www.bayareakundaliniyoga.com/aboutkundaliniyoga.html

    I really like the song that has become a tradition with it. I was actually introduced to the song before I went to a kundalini class, by Felicity Ananda. She told me it is a traditional Irish song which has been adopted by the Kundalini tradition:

    “May the longtime sun shine upon you,
    all love surround you,
    and the pure light within you
    guide your way on.”

    And remember, the body has memory… all that good work you did with gymnastics and kung fu, it is still there… the body will remember when you remind it:)

  5. Oh, and I just remembered, something else I also do which you will like as you like dancing is 5 Rhythms… unlike Zumba or “fitness dance” classes, you can keep to whatever pace your body is telling you is right…. in fact, that is part of the practice, to start listening to your body. As you like spiritual practices, this is a mix of spiritual, dance, exercise and community:)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5Rhythms

  6. Pingback: Our week in photos: 366/week 4 « Loving Earth Mama

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