Diary of a Fitness Wannabe

USA Soccer Team

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

—US Code Section 20

This 1972 law affected the life of every school-aged girl across America. Title IX allowed us to play sports, expanding the definition of what it means to be feminine. Girls, if we so choose, may be as athletic and competitive as our counterparts. Pretty cool, huh!

I, for one, took advantage of this new freedom throughout elementary and high school. In college, I flirted with rugby and racquetball, but my true loves were weightlifting and running. In fact, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) and I exercised together. How romantic, right? Not. He’s uber-competitive and sweats a lot. To be fair, he says I jogged slower than he walked. True. I never claimed to be a sport superstar. I just enjoy being active.

Thin Thighs in 30 Days by Wendy Stehling

In the 80’s, I was working in midtown Manhattan so my fitness routine morphed into walking. I also swore by a little book called Thin Thighs in Thirty Days. I wish I had taken photos of my legs back then. They are but a distant memory. (On a side note, I ordered a new book! I’ll let you know on September 1st if the book works for slightly older thighs like mine.)

With marriage, we moved to the suburbs and a more sedentary life. To combat an increasing waistline, I rose early to exercise with TV fitness guru Denise Austin most weekday mornings. Her spunky kindness and real-life body kept me motivated, even on cold winter days.

Once we became home owners, my husband and I created a little workout room in our garage. We have enjoyed a Nordic Track, stationary bike, and treadmill in that room over the years. What’s great about it, too, is that when our kids see us using the free weights or other machines, they want to join in.

A backyard pool can be another fun way to get some exercise without the whole perspiration factor. In addition to floating around, maybe wade, tread water, or swim. I’m not a strong swimmer at the beginning of the season, so I’ll use a boogie board to focus either on arms or legs activity until I get back into the laps routine. Water is great for resistance exercises, too.

When talking with other women about their exercise routines, the two most common reasons I hear for why they don’t exercise or keep to an exercise regimen are 1.) not enough time and 2.) boredom. Believe me, as a writer with a day job and demanding family, I understand the time issue. I generally devote 20-30 minutes to exercise a day. Try not to feel guilty about taking time away from your family. Look at it this way, if you stay healthy, you’re around longer to care for them. If you don’t get to exercise on a particular day, no big deal. Just try not to miss two consecutive days. Otherwise, you may fall out of the habit.

As for boredom, mix it up! You can see by the variety of activities I’ve enjoyed over the decades that my interests and skill levels have changed. I no longer run, but I swim and do Pilates. Small weight routines are easy to fit in throughout the day, too.  I keep cute little dumbbells in my laundry room to do arm sets in between chores. No underarm wings for this girl! If you’re unsure about how to do exercises, ask the experts. I like Shape magazine’s online activities for new workout ideas and step-by-step explanations so I do the activity correctly and don’t hurt myself. Some of my friends enjoy going to yoga class together, others walk at lunchtime and still others are into biking. One of my nieces recently learned how to box and another is active in adult league softball and soccer.

In a ShapeFit article about why women may dislike exercise, one reason given is that we’re not necessarily in it to compete. Many of us “want is to get a good workout and avoid getting muffins and rolls around our bodies, yet keep eating them.” I know many women (i.e. the women in the top photo) who would strongly disagree with that statement, yet it rings true for me.

Post 1972, we girls have so many choices when it comes to physical activity. If you don’t exercise, what are your reasons? If you do, what kinds of sports or other workouts do you enjoy? What advice would you give to other women to help make exercise a pleasure rather than a chore?   Please note:  I’ve rated this blog as PG. 😉

This blog is my personal experience and opinion. The information contained here doesn’t intend to treat, diagnose, or cure any physical ailments. Please consult your physician before starting any new diets or exercises!

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