The Importance of Exercise

It is no secret that we all need some form of exercise. Studies have shown that living a sedentary life and eating junk food can cause medical challenges, such as high blood pressure, weight gain, and diabetes, to name a few. My mom is a borderline diabetic, and she recently started exercising. I hast been doing it off/on for a number of years. But lately, I have gotten more serious about it because I am experiencing and seeing the benefits.

The first time I was started was in high school gym class. This was the only gym I know where the running track was suspended above the floor. I thought about running, but I was a walking potato sack in my teens. I didn’t even change into gym shorts before I used the machines because of modesty. When I went to my math class, my trousers were often damp with sweat. The first machine I was using was the leg press, which works the quads and the hamstrings. Within a few weeks, I was able to lift the whole 150 pound weight stack. I was so proud of myself for that.

It took time, but one thing I noticed that I was able to walk faster, and I was more nimble on my feet. Keep in mind that I was overweight all through high school, and strong quads really made a difference. Also, during that time, the symptoms of depression would soon make itself known.

Being depressed means that I didn’t have the motivation to do the things that I once enjoyed. Exercising was one of them. After high school, I didn’t see in the inside of a gym again for over 20 years. But when I started college in 2004, there was a gym in the same building called Blink Fitness. I wanted to join, but I could not afford the monthly membership, and I did not have the time because I was either working or studying.

Years later, I joined Gold’s Gym, which lasted for a few months. One accomplishment was being on the elliptical for a hour nonstop. I have as of yet to duplicate that feat. I was lifting weights, working out on the machines, and using the treadmill. I was not seeing any results, and I left since I also could no longer afford my membership.

A few years later after I had moved, I joined Planet Fitness because they were running a promotion. I believe it was $10 down, $15/month. I had a good job and I could afford it. I stayed there for a few years and it was great. It had TV’s, WiFi, tanning beds, a real locker room, a shower, and a wide assortment of machines. The treadmills even had a built in adapter to charge Samsung Galaxy phones, which were popular at the time. I would go every Saturday and/or Sunday just for something to do, and to get out and do something. I was really depressed, living in a basement apartment, and I had to force myself to go. Once I was there, I felt much better. But I would start feeling wistful everytime I was either on the treadmill or the elliptical. It remains a mystery to this day.

One thing I hated was the WiFi. On some days, it would not let me log on, and I needed my music, even though the gym already had music playing. I loved listening to my Pandora play list, or watching video’s on YouTube. In the meantime, I was starting to see results. I was no muscle bound mastodon, but I felt more fit thanks to all the running and lifting weights. I felt a lot quicker walking, my chest looked a lot better, and I felt stronger. However, my depression was working against me. On most weekends, I was simply content to stay inside and not do anything but watch TV, eat and sleep. Or sometimes I would visit my friend Lauren, who did not live far from the gym. I figured that I would go hang out at her place and spend some time with the dogs, then go to the gym afterward. But by the time I left, it was quite late, and I wanted to go home. It was hard to leave her house because I was having such a good time. But I didn’t want to be that friend who overstays his welcome.

After moving yet again, I stopped going to Planet Fitness because my complex has a fitness centre on site. Its not as well equipped as a conventional gym, but it had TV’s, WiFi, and a locker room with a shower and a sauna. Eventually, I gave up my gym membership. Now I go roughly two or three times a week.

I have been going regularly for a few months now, and I am starting to feel better. I’m a lot stronger, getting out of bed is no longer a painful chore, I can run without getting winded, and it makes me feel good to be physically active instead of vegging out in front of the TV. When I stop exercising, that’s when I started turning into a potato sack. I want to be more like my sister from another mister Renea, who is stronger that I am. No, I’m not jealous. I love her too much to let jealousy come between us. Also, exercise is a good way to kill depression, even if only for the moment. Sometimes I have to drag myself to the gym, but once I am there, I am glad I made the trip.

It is never too late to exercise. You can start by going for a walk at least three times a week. If you’re serious about it, and stick with it, I promise you will see results. But be sure to consult your primary care clinician before starting any exercise program. Everyone has different needs. The important thing is not to make fun of an obese person in the gym. You don’t know their story, or their challenges because you may be that obese person.

Thanks for reading my post. Sat Nam.

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