Every monday for about 6 years I repeated the following:
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
Yup! Hope you caught it - it’s the Scout Oath of the Boy Scouts of America. Pretty awesome (and rather simple) way to put a good set of self-rules down to follow for a good life-style, it seems. Be loyal to faith and country, help other people, make good choices, and take care of yourself physically and mentally.
One of those that has never been a focus of my life is the physically strong. I always tried to figure out what was actually meant by that, but recently I’ve decided that keeping physically strong should be something that ties into the mentally awake and improves my life.
I played tennis a lot in high school (especially during the summer - we’re talking 40 hours+ of tennis in a week), and that was plenty to keep me active and healthy. I wasn’t one to go to the gym and work out, but I would do cardio and stay as active as I could with tennis.
Then comes college. What a wonderful time, but I ended up not playing tennis any more. While I was bummed out by that (and still am, in retrospect), I filled that time with the Men’s Glee Club and The Friars, and made undoubtably the best memories I will have about college with that group. However it is important here to note that I didn’t have much physical activity. I walked most everywhere for all 4 years, usually a couple miles per day, and that was the extent of physical activity (excluding dancing for Friars).
To the present: I’m off at my first job, and far away from home (relatively). When I moved here, I bought a scale, with the intent of trying to eat a little better, get active, and shed a little of the - erm - college weight. A month after I had moved, I had lost about 5 pounds (yay!), but today I have gained that plus about 10 more (nnooooooooo!). (I had also bought a bike a few weeks in, and had been riding at least a couple days a week).
In an effort to get more active, I found one of the guys at work who played tennis and we’ve started playing a couple hours, twice a week. This has been great - it’s been a long time since I’ve felt so good. Playing hard and working to get my game back, and having a blast playing someone who I’m pretty equally matched against.
But this wasn’t enough for me. I could actually feel my body asking for more - maybe moving to a job where I sit at my desk for 40 hours a week hasn’t been helping that! I finally gave into my good friend’s hobby - running.
Running has never been something that I could get into; it just seemed boring and I figured I could never do it. Let me tell you, I was wrong. These last couple weeks have been hard, but SO rewarding.
My friend, David,suggested starting with a ratio that I could run. Last Monday I tried to benchmark running 4 legs, and seeing about where I could end up. After struggling for about 18 minutes with some scary highs and lows, David suggested for me to start out running 3:1 - 3 minutes of running, 1 of walking - 4 times. He also told me to stick to three days a week, so I dutifully finished out Wednesday and Friday with this 3:1 x4 pattern, and felt pretty comfortable.
This week, I moved up to 4:1 (O.O), and I have to say it went pretty well. Pain is pretty much nonexistent, and I feel pretty good after finishing the 20 minutes of running. (As a side note, tennis happened to fall on today - Wednesday - too, so I got a double whammy of activities)!
I caught myself today saying “I get to go running today!” to David as we chatted - a HUGE switch from how it was earlier. Running is starting to consume me…! I’ve started to formulate some goals for myself in my head, and I think I’m going to save a future post for those! :)
So as I wrap this up, I would like to encourage you to find something to keep you active. I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my mood as I’ve done more and more physical activities, and also in my mental abilities at work. It is something that has made a huge difference in my life thus far, and I hope it could help you as well.