With the first week of the new year, I joined all the other newly resolved people back at the gym. I had my share of sports related injuries in 2010 and I'm glad to be starting 2011 healthy, having just been cleared to resume all activities. But even with the memory of those frustrating injuries still fresh in my mind, I'm still finding it hard to really enjoy being at the gym. I keep trying to remind myself of a motivational mantra I pulled from Runner's World (May 2010, "Feeling Lucky?") "I don't have to run, I get to run". But today into the second set of "frog kicks" (don't even ask) in my boot-camp class, I was having trouble feeling like this was what I really wanted to be doing. And by the fourth interval of jumping rope, I was wondering when I developed this deep hatred for the jump rope? When did gym class stop being fun? I might have been 10, but the last time I jumped rope, I thought it was fun.
As my friend behind me was whaling, "Oh Lord, enough with the jump rope", the instructor reminded us that in another 30 minutes we could go home and enjoy a nice hot shower. That was exactly what I wanted to be doing right then, but I couldn't help think that my kids would hands down prefer jumping rope, or any other exhausting activity, over taking a shower. And my kids would have loved the frog jumps and donkey kicks, and not just for the names.
If you ask my 7 year old what his favorite class is in school, he'll answer Gym or Recess. I've watched him on the playground, sprinting around the field for 20 minutes straight playing Ga-Ga with his friends. This is his idea of fun and there is nothing he would rather be doing during those 20 minutes. If you give either of my boys a wide-open gym to run in, they are in Heaven. Sometimes I let them run around the empty gym at our church and I always have to drag them out of there when its time to leave. They are panting, out of breath, and dripping with sweat, but they fight with me every time for "just a few more minutes". I can assure you that I have never asked my boot-camp instructor for "just a few more minutes". And when our class ran long today, my friend asked, "Aren't we done yet?"
So, at what point in my life did exercise stop being pure fun? When did I no longer see a wide open space and want to just run? I still really enjoy a day of hiking or skiing, and there are days where I do crave a really long run, but for the most part, exercise has become something that I "want" to do because I "need" to do it. I do the kick-boxing and the boot-camps because I feel good afterwards, not because I'm particularly having a blast during the classes. I can honestly say my kids do have a blast when moving to the point of exhaustion.
Can you imagine how productive, not to mention how fit we would be as adults if we held onto that energy we had as kids? Its not really fair considering that most of us have gained all the responsibilities of adults, but lost that child-like energy. If only we could have bottled up that energy before we left childhood and could crack it open whenever we needed as adults. After tennis the other day, my 7 year old came running up to me so excited that they "got to do suicides" at the end of his clinic. I want that excited energy. I want to really believe my mantra. I want to feel like I "get" to do frog kicks, not just "have" to do them. I could use a bottle of that.