Sunday, 30 March 2014

Jon Bear Journal: Exercise

My Journal entry this month is kind of an update on where I am regarding a long standing goal I set here two years ago, which was to lose 50 pounds.  Exercise is something I've discussed on the blog before because it's something I think about quite a bit.  It becomes an increasing challenge for me as I get older.  There are simple answers to getting more exercise but how to make exercise enjoyable is not as simple as it once was.  When I was younger I had more time in my day for exercise, I had more energy and I had more friends who had time to share in an activity.  Those three facts made exercise something I didn't even have to think about, it was just something I did.

While I am not a superb athlete I am athletic enough to do fairly well in most sports.  As a child, a teen and a young adult I played lots of American football, baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis among other sports.  Having a twin brother gave me the opportunity to always have someone around who I could play sports with even if my friends' families were on vacation or friends were not allowed to go out.

The thing that made exercise most fun to me was the diversity of games I could play and the fact that I could do a lot outside.  I am not an indoor exerciser and I've never been a gym rat.  I tend to find indoor exercise boring.  A lot of people try to convince me that because exercise is important you have to get a gym membership.  I see the reasoning in their argument because of how much access there is to gyms and the relatively low cost of memberships these days.  I've tried that method though and I still am someone who finds it difficult to exercise alone on my own time.  As a result I rarely find the motivation to get out to the gym when I've had a membership.

Walking and/or Running/Jogging is something I do enjoy and when I've found success in losing weight during the battles I've had with my weight for the last decade or so it's always been when I've gotten into a good walking or running routine.  Recently I've been doing pretty well with regards to losing weight and I'm half way to my goal of losing 50 pounds which I set here a couple of years ago.  I owe a lot of that to eating more sensibly and becoming reinvigorated behind a walking regime.  I want to sustain my success though.

It has not been easy to walk regularly because of the cold, particularly this Winter in the North East United States.  I live in Upstate New York where the good portion of the last 5 months has seen temperatures either near or below freezing.  As an outside exerciser that hasn't made it easy, but I toughed it out.  While I think I can likely sustain my walking regime during the warmer weather, my biggest challenges are bringing more diversity into my exercising so I do not become bored and complacent about walking and planning ahead to next Winter in the hopes that I can figure out an indoor alternative I'll enjoy. 

My best friend and his family moved away to Texas and many of the close friends I had over the last decade have moved away from the North East as well.  That in part has made exercising tougher for me.  I do have a few friends in the area still and I have friends from work, but my social network isn't as great as it was when I was a college student.  The time I spend with my friends from work has mostly been either bowling (which usually involves fast food and drinking) or going out drinking.  My work place does try to focus on wellness and as such I might be able to discover different fun activities through our well at work program.  Other stores in our company's chain of stores have teams that are involved in sports that I might find fun.  So I think that might be my best option heading into the Spring and Summer.

I've been observing a lot of people who are older than me lately and seeing the difficulties they have getting around.  I want to optimize my health as I keep getting older so that some of the aches and pains that come with age are alleviated by keeping off weight and keeping consistently active.  As someone who does not like to exercise alone the other important thing for me to do is going to be finding a network of people to share the fun things that will help get me and keep me in shape.

Right now I'm at a tipping point for myself.  There have been a few times where I've reached my current weight just to put the weight back on.  I'm ready to keep moving in the right direction this time and I think that's possible.  I've talked about some of the ways to achieve my goals before but I've yet to do them.  I'm hoping I'll be able to update this journal entry with the story of a sports league that I'm part of and continued success in my weight loss.  While my successes have been slower than I would have liked, having our blog is helping to keep me accountable for my weight loss goals.  It would have been easy to not have achieved it the first year or the second year and to have just given up.  I haven't given up.  I see myself now as on the verge of a breakthrough. 

Hopefully the struggles I've had will help others who struggle just the same relate, and hopefully the breakthrough I seek will help inspire others who continue to struggle.  Slow improvements are still improvements and when stagnation happens it doesn't need to be the point you turn back it, find the courage to push forward. 

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