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One Step at a Time

I’ve always had trouble exercising. The reason it’s been hard for me is a couple of things: firstly, every time I ran out of breath doing something I felt like I was going to die. The likelihood of dying from taking a few steps on the elliptical machine is very small since I’m not a 90-year-old man with a cardiac condition. But I am a neurotic Jew so, let’s remember that. I hated that feeling of impending doom, and I was paranoid that something terrible was going to happen to me if I started exercising. Another reason I didn’t like to go to the gym (in particular) is that it’s fucking boring. I don’t care how awesome your gym is, I don’t buy that it’s “fun.” I can be listening to my favorite music while I’m on one of those ridiculous machines that make me feel like a monkey on steroids, no offense to monkeys or steroids. I’m bored as fuck trying to 1) figure out how to use the machine and 2) doing the same motions over and over again. Think about treadmills for a moment. YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. At least when you’re running outside you’re getting to another destination from where you started. I refuse to get on a machine that literally takes me nowhere. Dude, I have been running for 35 minutes and I’m still in the same place? Come on!

The third reason I didn’t like to exercise is that I don’t like feeling extremely hungry afterward. I swear if I could physically eat my house, I would do it after I did any form of activity for a prolonged period of time. After I’d work out I would get so hungry that it felt unbearable. I should exercise by running up the aisles of Trader Joe’s and then buy the entire store. What do you Trader Joe’s? Can I do laps in your store? If you see me running by the bananas next time you get some groceries, you’ll know they said yes.

These days I feel a little differently about exercising. My favorite form of exercise is anything that teaches a skill. For example, I like practicing martial arts. For a while, I was taking Tae Kwon Do, and I liked that a lot. I’d like to learn different martial arts so I can look cool, learn techniques and kick someone’s ass if I absolutely needed to. I need to save that in my back pocket just in case a monkey on steroids attacks me at the gym. As far as feeling out of breath, I try to practice mindfulness-based breathing to remind myself that this is just a moment in time. I am taking one breath now and then exhaling. I am NOT going to die if I feel shortness of breath and I am allowed to take a break. With any kind of exercise, there’s a learning curve and breaks are encouraged by me. In fact, if you want to take a break right now because you’re reading this on a treadmill, I encourage you to do so.

So yeah, one step at a time quite literally, and that’s how I roll. What about you guys? Do you exercise? What kinds of things help you to keep you moving?