© 2015 jen

Stamina + Endurance – The Gifts Of Daily Movement

When I was a girl in high school, my gym teacher really, really hated me for some reason. I was a tall, strong looking young woman, but I couldn’t perform well at most of the physical tasks in the class. I had no stamina or endurance and I was worst at running. I would lose my breath in a number of minutes. My knees hurt and would swell up when I ran. My ankles would roll and I’d fall down and my gym teacher, who saw me as a slacker, faker, hooligan, would give me more and more laps to run. I had to run before class and after school and I could never do the number of laps that my gym teacher was demanding from me.

I thought I just wasn’t a strong enough person. My body would just give out on me. I ended up going to my doctor and getting a note that excused me from gym because I had asthma and lots of joint issues. Problem solved, right? Wrong. I still had poor health, so I was losing,  not winning.

This is how I lived for most of my life. Trying not to break myself, through normal or slightly exerted effort.

In the last 3 years since I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, many of the conclusions I had come to about who I am and what I’m capable of have proven to be untrue.

These days I work out 7 days a week and vary the activity so that I’m constantly exposed to new movement. There is no time for my muscles to become used to anything I’m doing. Some people might see my exercise routine as extreme, but there is so much that I’m getting out of my daily exercise routine.

I’m stronger than I knew.

I’m more coordinated than I believed possible for myself.

I have fierce endurance and can push myself in ways I didn’t believe I was capable of.

At 44 I am getting close to being in the best shape of my life.

IMG_6344Me, bathroom selfie-ing it up.

Here’s the thing I didn’t expect with the high level of physical movement that I practice daily. Yes, obviously I am physically much more alert, quick, agile, and able, but mentally I feel the same thing is happening, and it’s not just mental clarity.

I’ve always been a creative person. Even when I was bedridden, which I have been more than a few times in my life, I always had some creative project I was working on: knitting, crochet or whatever. Today, I feel so much creativity flowing through my body every day. I have new ideas every day, so many that sometimes I cannot write them down fast enough, especially after exercise.

There are activities that I love like playing my ukulele and singing, which I can dial up to 11 these days. My hands don’t get tired from playing anymore. My arms are stronger than any amount of music I can play. My vocal cords have a new kind of stamina and nimbleness. My lungs can hold more air and circulate air more freely.

I’m moving into a new zone that I’ve never been in before. It’s a place of personal excellence. It’s a place where I can perform better at everything I do because I’m so much stronger and healthier. I have more to give to everything because my endurance is so much stronger.

Tony Robbins does a really good job of explaining the link between exercise and personal excellence in a Ted Talk I listened to on The Ted Radio Hour about Success.

 heidi-1Heidi rocking the kettlebell and her own personal excellence.

When I decided that I was going to exercise daily because I wanted to be stronger and more fit, I had no idea that the effort I would make in exercise would carry over into everything I do, but it has and I’m grateful for it.

Many people think exercise is about trying to be thin, trying to fit into a size 2 or whatever society thinks a woman should be. None of this applies to me and I pick none of the above.

This is about giving and receiving more from everything I do, because there is more to give.

It’s about getting used to feeling the burn of your muscles daily and knowing you earned it. It’s about learning to love that hurts-so-good body awareness that comes with daily exercise. It’s about pushing through what you believed you were capable of at an age when many people give up believing it’s even possible to be as strong and healthy as you were when you were younger (or in my case, stronger and healthier). It’s about self love. It’s about making yourself a priority in your own life. It’s about stopping the excuses and just doing it. Exercising in the rain, when you don’t feel well and when you don’t wanna.

 The truth is, I’m still a crappy runner, but that isn’t the point. The point is, I do it anyway and all areas of my life benefit from my daily exercise routine.

If you love the outdoors, there are a lot of activities you can do outside that can help make you fit. Running, riding an Aventon bike and hiking are just some of the outdoor activities you can start now.

As we age, the options are move it or lose it. I pick: move it.

You deserve to feel strong! Are you moving your body?  How’s your endurance and stamina? Is personal excellence something that matters to you?