A lot of people hate exercise.  I do – and I don’t.  It depends.

It depends on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

A sure way to make me hate to exercise is to tell me I’m doing it for weight loss.  I used to go to Curves – really enjoyed the circuit training; but could NOT stand all the diet and weight loss talk.  Drove me nuts.  And because of the nature of circuit training (you have audio cues of when to change machines and when to check your pulse), you can’t just put on your earphones and tune it out. 

And if the form of exercise is something I don’t like to do (i.e., walking – I just don’t like walking for exercise), forget about it – it’s just not going to happen; at least not on any kind of regular basis.   However, I recently had a blast spending a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – lots of walking – a full day of it.  So I guess I don’t mind walking, I just need a different goal.

I do much better if my goal is to feel better, move better, become stronger and more flexible, as long as I’m doing something I enjoy (dancing, swimming, etc.)

But what works best for me is to exercise for one or more definite goals.  Getting ready for an audition or show, learning a dance routine – bring it on. 

And I have found a new goal that is working for me right now (at least) –having a clean(er) house.  Heavy duty housework is exercise!  Scrubbing floors, moving furniture, hauling boxes of stuff to take to Good Will.  It makes you sweat, it gets your heart going – don’t tell me this isn’t exercise.  So I’m getting stronger, more flexible and end up with a cleaner house (triple win)! 

I keep falling for the proposition that exercise has to be something specific.  It has to be something clearly recognized as exercise – and that’s nonsense.  Exercise is whatever works for you, where you find it, and what you make of it. 

You don’t have to join a gym or invest in special clothing or equipment.  If you like that, go for it, but if you don’t have the funds, time or desire – find something else.  Go rake your yard, give the shower a good scrubbing, – give your cat or dog a bath (that will make you sweat for sure!).  Or not. 

All I’m saying is people often think they don’t exercise – but they’re not looking at everything they do that is exercise.  Movement is movement.

8 thoughts on “MAKING MY FAT ASS SWEAT

  1. I think there are a lot of ways to make exercise fun and not miserable. Every day movement is working your body but I think it’s better to have at least a half hour of aerobic exercise every day.

  2. Amen. I always tell people that. And, believe me, I am one who has sacrificed countless thousands of hours to the exercise gods in my life, in pursuit often of a thinner, trimmer, more ‘attractive’ body, as well as for whatever health benefits can accrue from movement; also, in my case, dealing with cerebral palsy & arthritis, to increase my chances of staying mobile for as long as possible, doing what I can for as long as I can.

    I do not have a car or a driver’s license, so for well over 50 years, walking has not only been exercise, but my primary form of transportation; I estimate that, not counting the walking I do (which the powers that be do not WANT me to count) doing housework, cooking, caring over the years for my own children, doing home daycare, for several years now caring for my granddaughter, walking around parking lots & stores for shopping, etc., I have walked over 60,000 miles in my life. I have also spent many years doing as many as 1500 stomach crunches per day (getting down to & up from the floor is too difficult & painful now, so that ended that foolishness about 4 years ago), lifting weights, I have worn out first an exercise bike, then something called a cardioglide after racking up over 4000 miles on each. I am, in other words, one of those who has spent most of her life exercising excessively & compulsively. So I am not included to suffer gladly anyone who would think that I must be fat because of lack of exercise, or that, as I approach 62, I am not doing enough to care for a small child several days per week, care for my home, do shopping, & take walks of between 35 & 90 minutes every day, sometimes all at once, sometimes broken up into 2-3 walks.

    I am also, partly because of my CP, partly because of temperament, & partly from the effects of abuse, incapable of sitting still. I laugh when I read that thin people fidget, while fat people are too placid & sit still too much. I wiggle, move my hands & arms around, swing my legs, I rock in a straight chair (have done so since I first sat alone at around 7 months old), I get up frequently to walk around from room to room, getting a drink, going to the bathroom, just looking out the windows, or going out to walk around the yard for a few minutes. I seriously resent the attitude that we are not moving, we are not getting any beneficial exercise, unless we are doing something which is recognized as being FOR exercise, part of some program, or part of a weight loss diet/’lifestyle change’. I resent the guilt this attitude instills in a lot of good people, especially a lot of good fat people, who feel that they are being lazy, being ‘bad fatties’, because they do not ‘exercise’, per se. As you said, movement is movement. If we are not sitting/lying absolutely still, we are moving, & ALL movement counts. Also, how we live in our bodies is nobody’s business but our own, & exercise is not a moral issue.

    And good for you for finding ways to move that work for you. I am not able to really dance, have never been able to play sports, cannot swim or balance a bike, so walking has been my relied upon & constant form of movement. And, yes, it is easier & the time goes faster when there is a goal, when I am walking & accomplishing something else at the same time, but I manage to overcome the desire to turn around & go back in the house & get in a walk for its own sake, too.

  3. Great Post! I am just coming to the same conclusion. Though I do enjoy walking for exercise and am trying to make it more of a habit, I am constantly fighting with that inner critic that says it doesn’t really “count”…I should be on a treadmill or an elliptical or in a step class rather than actually bopping through my neighborhood, with Lady Gaga on my ipod and enjoying the fresh air, my neighbor’s flowers, etc. Where did I get this idea that if I LIKE it, its not “real” exercise?

    • Very likely, from the cultural assumption/social construct that considers anything pleasurable to be frivolous and/or morally suspect. There really is a quasi-religious air about Healthism; that’s just one of the ways it emerges.


  4. I love walking for exercise. I clip a pedometer to my belt most days and track my movement, to make sure I’m hitting a 10,000 steps a day minimum, as per recommended by a number of health organisations. A day of shopping can provide DOUBLE the amount of recommended exercise. And I don’t even notice I’m doing it.

  5. A lot of studies only count recreational, pointless activity as exercise. I’ve always found that to be classist and anti-sustainability. In my opinion, the best way to be active is to build it into my life. I try to make at least part of my commute walking, and if my job involves some movement I consider that a plus. As far as I’m concerned, exercise machines aren’t worth my time.

  6. I didn’t go to the gym this weekend, but I darn well got a lot of exercise!

    Let’s see… I hauled equipment for a band, danced the night away, and helped load the equipment back up. Oh, and hauled several pieces back into my house.

    Go on, exercise police, just try to tell me that hauling heavy speakers or a mixing board isn’t exercise. I dare you.

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