I have always been a perfect couch potato.
I was the epitome of a lazy Bong woman, happy with my books and rather sedentary lifestyle. At school, nobody wanted me in a sports team and sport’s day was something I had deep-seated dread for. For good reason, I had accepted the fact that the sports gene had not been handed over to me and I was very complacent about keeping myself moving or fit.
Later in my life when I moved to Switzerland, I made a set of friends who are all very sporty people. I used to be in awe of the way they used to squeeze in their fitness regimes in spite of having various responsibilities.
So one day I finally gathered the courage to join their running group, only to be told rather politely that I was slowing them down! I totally understood their predicament and refrained from joining them further.
And that was the end of my date with sports and fitness. Or so I thought.
The Jolt to Move
It was in my early 40s that I realized I was eating almost the same quantity of food that my husband was eating and that my jeans weren’t fitting me right.
I decided to take matters into my own hands when I had to move on to a bigger denim size - I couldn’t ignore the fact that I HAD to do something about my fitness!
So out came a pair of old leggings and a tee and off I went into the woods right behind my house. It was after a lot of huffing and puffing and umpteen stops that I even managed to do a 25 minute round.
I had known that getting fit and getting back to my previous jeans size wasn’t going to be a matter of a joke or a miracle. I knew I needed consistency and a disciplined schedule to get the results I wanted.
The Fitness Reality Check
This is where I need to talk about something that everyone who has taken up sports - not as a passion or a source of joy, but for a need - has gone through.
It’s not easy, folks!
The getting up in the morning, the pulling on the activewear, and finally the stepping out of home; the amount of discipline that calls for is mind-boggling! There are so many excuses the mind conjures up - I honestly never knew I could be so imaginative!
And you feel so many aches and pains you suddenly begin to grope for excuses to not exercise. And ladies, I know you’ll look back at your nice warm bed with love like you’ve never felt for any man in your life.
And then you finally manage to do it!
It’s the greatest feeling ever; and maybe even better than the runner’s high you get after completing the circuit.
But Wait! It Gets Better!
Some time down the road after I dedicatedly began to focus on my fitness, Nordic Walking came into my life. With a bang.
I got to experience it first hand during a weekend in the mountains and fell in love with it. I have always enjoyed my long walks and Nordic Walking gave me an added benefit with a full body workout.
So I started interspersing my running 3-4 times a week with Nordic Walking, which fit in just right. As clichéd as it sounds, my running and my Nordic Walking were the “me” time I was giving myself and it felt so good - much better than splurging on other decadence!
I loved every minute of the time I got to be with my thoughts and with nature.
Then with time, I got the feeling that I need to do something for my muscles to prevent atrophy and that’s when I finally joined a gym. And I have never looked back.
The clank of the stack weights as I do my leg presses, shoulder presses - it’s hard to explain the sense of power I experience. I feel like something wonderful explodes in my head and I get charged.
And that’s really when I feel I am ready to take on all sorts of challenges. My cardio routine now varies from running, Nordic Walking to rebounding on mini trampolines. This gives me the variety I need.
Find a New Happy
Which brings me to the part of fitness that most people ignore - its effect on mental health. There’s this saying that “food is the most abused anxiety drug and exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant.” I know from my personal experience how true this adage is.
People who have been through some kind of depression in their lives should definitely take to some sports or physical activity because the uplifting effect it has on your moods is priceless. There are days when I just don’t feel like crawling out of bed but I know what awaits me if I do and if I don’t. So the choice is rather easy.
Am I A Sports Freak?
No, I have not gone on to running marathons or ultra running or bodybuilding. I have done some Nordic Walking half-marathons, but more to spread awareness of Nordic Walking in India and to enjoy the Dorset coastline during the Nordic Walking festivals in the UK.
And I am not a team-sports person. I like doing my own routine, at my own pace, and in my own space. If there’s anyone I am competing with, then it’s me. I love the peace and quiet of running/walking on my own.
The only achievements that I can talk about in sport is that I have become a certified instructor for Nordic Walking and Rebounding (patented as Swissjump, an exercise routine on mini trampolines).
I am happy I have managed to keep up a certain level of fitness even in my late forties. I feel agile, charged and totally in control of my body, because I know I can control my mind.
I know as I grow older, there will be disintegration and I am not scared of it. But I’d like to live a self-reliant life as long as I can because this means the ultimate form of liberation to me.
So when are you getting started with your own fitness journey?