Make sure that exercise is fun

Unfortunately, I’m a naturally sedentary person. I was born that way!
My mother told me that I never crawled or walked until I was two years old. I imagine I had no reason. As a first grandchild, I was surrounded by aunts and uncles and parents who loved to carry me around.
Uncle Bill even lived with us.
Later, my mother was horrified that she had left me in the house by myself while she helped with the chores. There was a long runner on the library table with a kerosene lamp on top, and I could easily have reached the runner and set the house on fire. But she didn’t have to worry. I never moved from the spot where she had put me.
Being sedentary, I almost failed gym classes and have never been good at sports.
But later in life, I came to realize how very important exercise was. So I did my best to get some exercise every day. Mostly walking. I walked with Nancy and Cindy during my noon hours at work. And sometimes Ilene and Helen before work.
Then after retirement, I walked with Norma, Vernette and Vel every morning, until I had a stroke eight years ago. And that was the end of walking two miles a day.
I always enjoyed walking and talking with my friends very much. But it was really an obligation for a sedentary person!
Fortunately, I was introduced to water aerobics in rehab after my stroke. And for the first time in my life, I loved exercise.
I came home from rehab on Friday, Aug. 4, 2000, and went to our local retirement center’s pool the following Monday. And I’ve been there almost every weekday since.
Our water exercise group is very diverse —men and women, young and old, retired and still employed. We attend many different churches, have differing political views and come from all walks of life.
Yet, as diverse as we are, we form a very cohesive, supportive community. Quite possibly BECAUSE of our diversity.
Jeanine is our pool historian. She knows the history of aprons and the history of our town. Randy makes and sells beautiful jewelry. Donna works in a flower shop, which is a convenience for me.
Martha is a tutor and a wonderful cook. Lois is part of an online writers’ group and Elva is an organist.
Best of all, we care for each other. When I was in the hospital last fall, Pat arrived with a bouquet of beautiful roses and Della Mae sent me a card that she had crafted. She had even written the verse.
What fun it is to begin our day exercising together.
And while we talk and laugh, our teacher Tony keeps us working and makes sure we raise our heart rates to a helpful level.
Regular exercise can protect you from heart disease. It helps with balance, reduces back pain and strengthens bones. Exercise can improve your mood and help you manage stress. It’s even good for your brain.
But, in spite of all we know about exercise, sometimes it’s hard to get started with an exercise routine. If you have sedentary tendencies, find a class that makes exercise fun and social. You may be amazed how much you love it! 
Copyright 2008 Marie Snider
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist. Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com or visit her website at www.visit-snider.com

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