Me and exercise have never really been friends. Of course growing up I was lucky enough to be able to play in my street. So bike rides round the block as many times as possible, tennis over the hedge, Kirby (if your Scottish), tig and roller-skating (even if I copied my friend my asking for exactly the same ones) were the order of the day.
I shouldn't really tell this story but I feel it's appropriate to reinforce the fact that exercise and me, really aren't besties. My dad is a Glasgow taxi driver and one of our commonalities is that we never really did see the point in PE. Before he was a taxi driver, he was a milkman - so running up and down stairs for hours at a time during cold winter mornings was perfectly good exercise, so he wasn't unhealthy, he just shared the seem feeling I did about running round a field to end up where you started. Of course now as an adult, I know the benefits of exercise and healthy living yada yada yada. But back then, I hated PE so much, that sometimes, my dad would come and pick me up in the taxi before the PE lesson started and we would go and get a roll and sausage before he dropped me back at school. That was only on the days that I'd forged my mum's signature on one too many 'Excuse Ashley from PE' notes and I was trying not to get caught for that. Mr Quinn - I do apologize.
My transition into adulthood enabled for a little more exercise in the form of dancing on a Friday and Saturday night in Glasgow's array nightclubs (RIP - The Tunnel).
As I got to my 30's and I realized I didn't really have the same elasticity as my 20's, I started to exercise a little more. But admittedly, my bursts of gyming etc were still infrequent. Although, I did work with a personal trainer for 3 months and it was the best shape I've ever been but when uni came back into my life, I couldn't afford both. Then, I went to India and did my 200 hours yoga teacher training. Again, you'd expect to come back in pretty good shape after hours upon hours of sweltering Ashtanga but, I had swapped my poor diet and social drinks for the only thing I could get my hands on in dry Rishikesh - sugar in the form of Nutella pancakes. So Alas, I didn't come back looking like one of those Insta yogis. But, my mental state was ineffable - I can't describe the feeling of wellness.
More recently, with juggling work, uni and generally trying to have a life, again exercise falls lower on my to do list. Also, turning veggie over a year ago has brought more pasta and mushroom pizza into my life that I'd care to admit. But what I have decided is to go back to the foundations of all of the things I try and encourage in others when talking about being well.
To support my own well-being, I'm taking it right back to basics. To simply, be active. With reflection I realize alongside the tension between me and the old irritant exercise, there was another monkey in the mix - my mind. That voice that says 'Ugh you're not losing weight so just eat what you want', 'Oh you really are not fitting into that dress anymore' etc, you know the one. I've really been working on ushering that voice to be one of kindness and I really believe your body will show you what your mind speaks. So, instead of beating myself up at not losing 5 stone in a day (much like one of Peter Kay's funnier observations about dieters) I'm going to just try and be active each day. Be kind to myself while I do that. Yesterday, I did a little YouTube workout. Today, I walked around the marina in the gorgeous weather. Tomorrow, perhaps back to yoga. As long as I am moving each day I know I can begin caring for my body a whole lot better than I have been and it doesn't matter if I can't run 10k or do a million sit ups after 475 burpees...yet. Every journey starts with one step and I'm happy in the knowledge that I'm nurturing my body through being active daily.
If you recognize yourself in any of the above you might be interested in reading a little more about it here, from the wonderful people at Mind, a mental health organization. To those fitties who are already well-established gym bunnies/runners/general sporty folk - I salute you.
And to exercise - I'm sorry I ignored you all those years ago, do you think we can be friends again?
Be Active, in a way that makes you feel well.