Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Movement and Me

Lately I've had a prolonged case of the Februaries. The general apathy mixed with a kind of overwhelming funk. I tend to get the Februaries every year, but this year, so far away from everything I love and amassed in an almost constant, chronic phlegmy-cough inducing smog, it's been particularly bad. 

When March comes, I normally like to get out and take a few deep breaths of the hint of spring hanging high in the air. But when I did that here I just coughed on the fumes.
A bit like a caged lion, I've been pacing around the apartment, loathe to go outside and loathe to stay in.  

Today, Jake went to to play basketball with a friend and for a bit I sat around feeling sorry for myself and generally bored. I thought about doing Pilates, but I'd done it for three workouts in a row. I thought about doing Zumba, but every time I do worryingly large chunks of hair fall out. So I sat in front of the computer and sighed.

Finally, I opted to do something I don't normally do: kickboxing. I did two kickboxing workouts, then a light weight/high repetition Tae Bo. I was sweating a lot and chunks of hair were, as expected, lining the floor, but I was feeling really inspired, so I created four new Zumba routines. Two and a half hours later, my muscles were shaking and I smelled like sewer, but I felt fucking awesome.

That was a really roundabout way of saying this: movement rocks. I wasn't a kid who liked movement for several reasons. Firstly, my own preferences; I preferred to do something else than be active. Secondly, I only ever moved with the intention to lose weight from the ages of probably 10 to 20, and the results were minimal. Thirdly, other people. I didn't feel comfortable moving because I got made fun of when I did it. As I've said before: hypocrisy is ugly. You can't tell me I'm unhealthy and then ruthlessly torment me for practicing healthy habits. Make up your damn minds! Anyway, at least in this department, I've decided that those people, to put it crudely, can suck it. They do not have any jurisdiction any longer on my relationship with movement.

I know a lot of you are either going to roll your eyes or want to rip out my throat when I tell you that I actually enjoy working out. Sure, there are days when it's a struggle or a chore, and there are days when the couch is more alluring than my sneakers or my yoga mat, but most days I love the  feel of sweat beading on my forehead, the feeling of my heart pumping blood through my veins, my muscles contracting and pulling, the oddly sweet rush of water that quenches my dry mouth. More than that, I love how relaxed and accomplished I feel afterwards. 

Now, at the end of the day, I firmly believe that your health is your own business and nobody has a right to tell you what you should and should not do with your body except you, but I strongly encourage you to find a movement that you like. I know a lot of you are like me and have had a bad relationship with movement because of other people and because you've only ever worked out because you want to be skinny. If you can get past these things - for me, the first came pretty easily, by joining Curves and an African dance class, but the second required (still requires) a continual reminder that my health and my body size ARE mutually exclusive - your feelings about movement and working out might have a complete overhaul. Especially when you keep on mind that all movement is good movement. We get told quite a bit what movement we should do, and those change about as fast as diet trends. So I say find a movement you love. Find many movements you love. And throw away all your Jillian Michaels workout DVDs (unless you really like being bullied while you workout. In which case, why are you reading his blog?)
I'd also like to share some advice I recently read. In this culture, we're bombarded with misinformed and financially-motivated messages of health and beauty, most of which encourage us to give up things In order to achieve what the proverbial "they" think is the gold standard. No cookies. No cake. No chips. No pizza. No wine. No.. If you believe in reverse psychology (or you've ever dieted) you know that every time you look at that candy bar/bag of chips/whatever it is you want and say to yourself, "I can't have it," you want it more. AND THEN you have it and feel GUILTY,  which probably makes you want more. The advice I read turned that around and suggested that we try adding things. Have another glass of water. Have another piece of fruit. Have another serving of vegetables. Add another 5, 10, 15 minutes movement to our day. 

As I said, ultimately your health is your business and you can do whatever you want to do. As for me, I'm really sore, so I'm going to park it on the couch and rummage through the fridge for something for dinner. You can choose to sit here and read more of blog. You can go out and take a walk. You can dance like a champ to your Paul Simon album. But remember to move for you and not for anybody else.


  1. My Februaries are particularly bad this year. Maybe because you aren't around to do things with. I'm feeling quite stagnant and my body really hates me for it. maybe I'll get up and do some Zumba today. I'm sure YouTube has a few videos I can use. :)
    Love and miss you bunches!!

  2. If you move in downstairs we can do Zumba together.