Thursday, February 24, 2011

Move It While You Still Can!

New York City Marathon- Photo Credit
My dad turns sixty in a few months. Recently we were talking on the phone and he expressed how traumatic the aging process can be. He has been running marathons for nearly fifteen years, and suddenly all of these ailments and injuries keep popping up. What happened? he is asking himself. Where did the time go? We all feel young inside of ourselves, yet we possess a finite, limited number of years where our bodies can physically express the strength and stamina that belong to our youth. Move while you can, my dad counseled. Be strong. Take advantage that your body still works right, that you still have a choice.

I try to be respectful of my parents' counsel- I think that is part of the whole "honor thy father and mother" business in the Bible. But, it's hard sometimes. Especially when you're an adult and you say to yourself, but this is who I am, and this is what I like. Most of us build our world around what is comfortable, and exercise isn't always a comfortable fit for me. Sometimes I listen to other women express how they don't have anything against reading books, it's just not their thing. Reading is time consuming and it can be hard to sit down and focus. They have to constantly ride themselves to make it a priority, and in the end they think Why? When there are so many other things. Well that's how I feel about exercise.

But I am also a fan of living in a way as to prevent regrets later on, and sometimes, often times we need to listen to the older and wiser souls who can point an index finger at those regrets, and show us where we're headed. I'm trying to look ahead and listen.

I damaged my knees running the London marathon when I was eighteen, and after that I shelved my running shoes. I think emotionally that injury left me feeling like exercise and moving my body was no longer a real option for me. So I filled up my life with other things and every now and then I ask myself if I am missing that part of my life. Sometimes I am. When I listened to my dad talk about how desperately he is already missing that part of his life I felt an internal nudge. I can't run marathons, but I can still move. I can still celebrate my freedom and ability to feel strong, limber and healthy.

So I've decided that I'm an aspiring walker- although that's kind of an embarrassing admission. Of course we walk all the time, but I'm not talking about your everyday, casual stroll through the supermarket. Walking will always be overshadowed by the more impressive, more glamorous lime light that belongs to the runner. But there are some famously contented walkers out there. Determined, almost eccentric walkers. One of them lives in my neighborhood and I see her everyday, rain or shine. There isn't a transcendental American poet who didn't tromp around New England, and the British Romance poets are perhaps even more famous for their Wordsworthian country strolls.

Move your body, clear your head. Fresh air equals imagination and creativity. Maybe there is some part of movement still there for me, waiting. Maybe those disinterested readers haven't found the right book yet. Maybe all of us should sit up and pay better attention to the experience of those who have gone before us. Who knows what we might find out about ourselves?

What puts you in the mood to get outside and move your body?


  1. Just start! You can do it! The more you do it the more you will want to! Sometimes we lack the motivation to do something, but what we have to do it just "do"-get started, the motivation will follow. You will start to crave that feeling of moving, just like you crave snuggling up with a good book. Your brain and body will thank you!!!!
    Great Post!

  2. Ummm...that last comment was me, Karen. Apparently Cami did not log off my computer when she was here babysitting! :) Oops!

  3. This is an email response from my dad. Apparently he couldn't figure out how to post it because, as before mentioned, he is getting OLD!

    "It's heartening that some counsel of mine has been taken to heart. So perhaps we should have a chat about some other aspects of physical life one should enjoy before one's body starts giving in/, maybe, sex. Call me when you're ready to chat."

    If you've ever been given pause by my own particular brand of weird, this should explain alot. I come by it naturally!

  4. I really need to meet your dad.

    I am like you. I have taken years off from exercise at a time and not missed it one bit. But I will say that Zumba, Just Dance, and Pilates have taught me that I do like moving my body, as long as it feels more like fun than work. Wonder what your dad would have to say about that concept? ;)

    I walked all through my pregnancy with Elizabeth and it really helped me stay in shape. I think walking is great. I too consider myself a retired runner. I would love to go on a walk with you anytime your heart desires.


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