As a kid, I used to exercise a lot.
But, I didn’t call it that.
I called it playing out in the backyard,
or dancing in the basement,
or playing basketball,
or fishing for pennies at the bottom of a pool.
I certainly never called those things exercise.
They weren’t things I had to do.
I did them because they were fun!
Because that’s what kids do!
And no matter what form of so-called exercise I did, I was in heaven when I was in it.
I loved the feeling of sweating.
I loved the high of getting my heart rate up.
I loved the feeling afterwards of being tired and hungry.
I live on a small kibbutz in the middle of nowhere, with no gym nearby (where I would otherwise swim and take yoga classes). And, I can’t exactly say I feel uninhibited enough to just go outside and play on the playground alongside the other kibbutz kids.
(Which I kind of feel like doing some days.)
Therefore, I feel limited with my exercise options (because yoga, while I’m passionate about it, doesn’t do the same for me as aerobic exercise does – even though I do maintain somewhat of a yoga practice).
Because I had to choose something to get my heart rate up.
But I hated every minute of it.
I hated putting on running shoes.
I hated being cold when I went outside at 5:30 AM and then having to strip down to a tank top when I got hot and then having to carry my sweatshirt while
attempting to failing to jog up and down hills.
And I hated realizing how little time I could actually jog without stopping.
(It was like 8 minutes tops.)
So, I took up walking.
Which, with captivating podcasts to listen to (thank you, On Being and the Israel Hour!), I found enjoyable.
I cherished the stillness at dawn,
the majestic view of the surrounding mountains and water,
and saying good morning to the horses and cows.
But, it wasn’t enough.
I wasn’t getting my heart rate up enough and I wasn’t sweating.
It wasn’t elevating my mood.
I mean, maybe it could’ve been enough, if I had pushed myself.
But, at that point, why not just go back to jogging?
Because I despise jogging!
With a passion!
And I’m frustrated that I have no other options!
It dawned on me that I was stuck on all of this while watching my daughter passionately dance around in the living room the other day (she does this several times a week) with her favorite music accompanying her in the background.
It is obvious that when she dances, she’s in heaven.
Just like I was when I was a kid.
Stop. And take a breath.
Uncover. Why are my beliefs? I believe that there is no other effective way to exercise on this kibbutz besides running and jogging. I believe exercising is a necessary part of mental and physical well-being. I believe exercising should be fun. I believe we are not meant to suffer in this world. I believe I shouldn’t despise the exercise I am doing. I believe that if I despise the exercise I’m doing, I won’t keep at it. I believe jogging is boring and not very motivating.
Consider. I can challenge myself by considering that there is another way of exercising on this kibbutz; that I can find a way that is actually fun; that dancing could be that way. I could consider finding a dance class nearby; that dancing in my living room, just like my daughter, could be something I can take on; I could consider dancing with friends and even hold regular dance parties on my roof (though, my neighbors may not agree). I could consider dancing while taking breaks from work. (Don’t worry, I work from home. No one’s looking.) I could consider dancing while cleaning the house, cooking, and more.
So, I chose to dance.
I just put on YouTube one day, searched for Latin music (my favorite), cleared the living room, and started dancing. (I even closed my eyes at one point and pretended I was being led and turned in inconceivable ways by some professional dancer from “Dancing with the Stars”! Arriba!!!)
And there I was.
And getting my heart rate up.
And enjoying every minute.
How did I not think of this before?