My relationship with fitness has always been erratic to say the least.
Maybe it was my debilitating self-consciousness and fear that I'd end up making my team lose the game (which happened enough times in my budding career as a PE dunce for my fear to have a basis), maybe it was just my general aversion to anything that would make me sweat, or maybe it was my resigned acceptance that I have always been and ever will be "nerd" with mental calisthenics as my forte. But having learned from my elementary physical education classes that I had the athletic ability of a plant, I've never been particularly enthusiastic about any sport I actually had to participate in.
Of course as I grew up, my teenage vanity and my parents' constant prodding made it imperative I get off my butt and get fit. Exercise became a means to an end - losing weight and looking great. Always existing in my life alongside the latest fad diet, exercising would get me results but I would feel absolutely miserable and tired all the time. I mean, who would be happy subsisting on only an apple for breakfast, an egg for lunch, and nothing for dinner for every day activities, not to mention adding an hour-long aerobic session daily on top of it?
Needless to say I wasn't able to sustain that particular diet and weight loss program for very long.
The funny thing about me is that when I am into the whole fitness thing, I am really into it. Seriously into it. I've been through a biking phase, walking phase, a tae-bo phase, a regular gym rat phase, even a very short yoga and swimming phase. (All nice, individual activities - I never got over the trauma of being the team goat.) But once I stopped, inertia would often hit - and it often took serious shake-ups to motivate me to get going again.
Apparently moving to another country falls under the category of a major shake-up - because for the nth time in my life, I am once more channeling Sporty Spice.
Getting back into the active swing of things began as something of a necessity. My lack of wheels initially forced me to walk anywhere and everywhere, and I rediscovered the benefits of having an endorphin high.
After a few weeks of maximizing my on-foot exploration, I realized I had enough time on my hands to make a serious bid for fitness once more - and signed up with a local health club. I do time on the elliptical, the treadmill, and the rowing machine, life weights, and attend the yoga classes. The endorphin high is amazing, and great antidote to on-the-job-stress and on-my-own loneliness. To mix it up, I've kept my fitness walking for weekends when I feel like wandering - and there are just so many beautiful spots here in Perth for walking or jogging that's just a train ride away.
I'm really buying into the sporty, outdoor lifestyle of Perth. I can't imagine feeling this enthusiastic about walking or running in Manila, that's for sure - I happen to have an aversion to inhaling gasoline fumes. I'm even thinking of getting my first grown up bike - never mind if I haven't gotten on one since college. And I am even flirting around with the possibility of training for a 10K run in April, something that I've never ever done before.
Every time I get started on a fitness craze, I always swear that I'm going to stick to it this time around. After all, being a doctor, you would think I'd know enough about the benefits of exercise to keep me motivated, specially given all my personal risk factors and the fact that I am not getting any younger. But I know from falling off the wagon so many times over the years just how hard it is to keep a fitness program up - often because life gets in the way and it just becomes less of a priority. But I am hoping that this is the time when the fitness crazy part of me really sticks for good.
I'm just glad that my schedule here allows me this great form of "me time" - and that Perth is just so conducive to a healthy, active lifestyle. I may have the athletic ability of a plant, but what I seriously lack in ability I make up for in enthusiasm. With the weather warming up, I am looking forward to more outdoor fitness activities in the spring sunshine.