Me and exercise have a tumultuous relationship.
When I was at school, I used to hate physical education (P.E.). The inconvenience of having having to lug around an extra bag containing my P.E. clothes, and the even greater inconvenience of changing in the middle of the day, and then again, changing back. And the sweat? I’m really not a big fan.
Plus I’m not good at it. I still remember the first P.E. lesson I had in Australia. We were going out bike riding. I was looking forward to it because I loved riding bikes, and hadn’t had a chance to ride one in England. It was a thirty degree day and I had just moved to Australia from London, where it had been snowing. My last day of school there was cancelled because it had snowed too much. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the intense heat of the Australian summer. Within the first half hour, I started to feel dizzy and faint. It didn’t help that I was also wearing a jumper that was only meant to be worn in the winter. I had to stop for a while and walk back slowly with the student teacher.
It was uncomfortable doing a subject I wasn’t good at. And so, when I got to year eleven, and I could choose what I wanted to study, I stayed well away from P.E. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t do any kind of physical activity until I was well into my masters degree.
I lost a lot of weight over a short period of time during my undergraduate degree, and I also had problems with having very low iron levels (though thankfully, I wasn’t anemic). So most of my undergraduate years were spent trying to put my weight back up and trying to eat healthily. Exercise wasn’t really on my mind.
And then I got a job in manufacturing. Before I got the job I didn’t know much about the industry except that it is a big part of the Australian economy. I didn’t know how physically demanding the job would be. My job required standing for most of the day and sometimes heavy lifting. This meant I was tired all of the time. But having my own money meant I was eating out a lot, hardly caring about the healthiness of the food. I gained more weight than I cared for so I joined one of my local gyms. Even though I tried going to the gym every week, it was hard when you come home tired and all you want to do is lie down and sleep. On the days when I worked afternoons, I went to the gym in the mornings but I found it hard it hard to concentrate at work afterwards. So I reduced to going to the gym on days when I wasn’t feeling tired or when I knew the workload at work would be light. Even then, I took it easy, just in case.
I’m at a new job now, still in the manufacturing industry, which means that the physical demands of my job have stayed the same. Add to that I’m working longer hours than I used to across a 24 hour rotating roster which rotates every two weeks. This means that on top of being tired, I’m often sleep deprived. About half a year into my job, I cancelled my gym membership. I hadn’t gone in a long time, and I didn’t see that changing anytime soon. I was just wasting money for nothing.
I still want to keep fit. I looked at a number of options to replace going to the gym. One of the things was group classes, which I hoped would motivate me to do high intensity exercises. But the group classes I wanted to join was too expensive. I found this app called couch to 5k which helps train you to run 5kms without stopping in just 9 weeks. Though it’ll definitely take longer than 9 weeks I’m going to work through that and finish.
I’m also looking at taking yoga classes. It’ll be a less intensive which will hopefully make me less tired. And I’m trying to walk as much as I can, not just outside of work, but during work as well.
This doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing intensive exercises though. I’m hoping to do some during long weekends and when work is less busy. There is a place called 1000 steps here which is a popular exercising spot that I’m hoping to get good at.
I’ll try my best to keep you all updated. It’ll also keep me liable.
Me and exercise have a tumultuous relationship. Doing my masters degree in public health made me realise how incredibly important is it. And though I think it’ll take me a while to find a way how fit exercise into my life in a way that’s comfortable, I’m not about to give up on it anytime soon.