Incarnations of Gimnasia
In my grade school in Spain, gym class was an hour of briskly walking or running the perimeter of the school behind a monjita or of learning and performing a gymnastic routine in the gimnasio inside.
In my American middle school, we played games of kickball (in which I once, infamously, ran the bases backwards, having never heard of or played the game before) or handball or floor hockey for gym. In high school, it was more of the same…and once a year we added a unit on square dancing.
I hated haciendo gimnasia on two continents. When I was old enough, I squeaked through the requirement by getting easily injured and subsequently spending the periods grading papers for my gym teacher or sitting on the floor of the locker room writing poetry. I was unathletic and uninterested and unashamed.
Y, claro, equivocada. Much as I saw myself as a brain, not a body, that was neither a helpful attitude nor reality.
As an adult, I’m learning that exercise is not only about the calories I burn so I can eat more of my favorite macarrones con chorizo, but also about the health benefits (whether cardiovascular, or strength, or stretching, any exercise is better than no exercise for your heart, lungs, muscles, and mind)…and the asombro of achieving a goal (after starting to train a few months ago, I just ran in my first 5K!), or the placer (even if it is accompanied by some pain) of feeling myself in my body before or after a long day of too much screen time.
Yeah, yeah, whatever- words that will make your eyes glaze over unless you’ve found them to be true yourself. But here’s another bunch of words you might relate to: even if you’ve hated haciendo gimnasia before, try it again, try something new; you might just like it.
It turns out, I hate gyms (it’s better for me to not be around others cuando tengo hambre y calor and I hate wearing shorts in public) , kickboxing (who am I actually fighting?), most weight training (I want to throw the weights) and swimming (it feels like bathing with strangers). I can tolerate tennis. I like doing yoga and dance tapes at home and I (surprisingly) love running outdoors!
I am still reticent, and whiny, but I am trying to find the right incarnation of gimnasia for my self and my body. I have found out that I like to be alone or close-to-alone when I’m exercising, that I need to purposely build it into my day, and that I do better at sticking with things I could never have seen myself doing in the past.
Y tú? Can you relate? Do you hate exercising? Love it? And, cuéntanos, what do you do for your gimnasia?
*photo by Catwomancristi