I never thought I’d join a gym, not in a million years. Joining a gym puts me so far out of my comfort zone, you might as well have predicted that I’d also travel to Mars. If you talked to me a year ago, the odds seemed roughly the same.
Last week, I checked out all the gyms close to my home. I made a last minute decision to bring my teenage son with me which turned out to be a huge benefit. If you’re like me and have NEVER stepped foot in a gym since high school, it can be extremely overwhelming. I think the hardest part was stepping through that first front door. But having an extra body with me meant that I had an extra set of eyes and ears to check things out. I talked to the staff members and asked questions while my son quietly observed. My son picked up on things I wouldn’t have noticed, both good and bad. He really helped me with my decision-making process. Then I sat with my decision for a few days before joining.
So far, I’ve only used the treadmill. I took the advice from the folks at Nerd Fitness (waving hi!) and decided to start slowly. I don’t want to injure myself. I already own three pairs of Vibrams, so I’ve been wearing those. Yes, my shoes look a little strange, but they force me to walk lightly, with shorter steps. MUCH easier on my knee. You physically can’t go clomping down with your weight in your heel while wearing a pair of Vibrams! There’s no padding to cushion your feet.
I’ve been wearing Vibrams since I read Christopher McDougall‘s book, Born to Run. That book was a game changer for me. It was a Community Read in my area back in 2016. If I hadn’t read it for book club, I wouldn’t have touched it. I would have assumed this book wasn’t for me…and I would have been wrong.
Before I read Born to Run, I’d try to go walking in my neighborhood, but my knees were so arthritic, I couldn’t make it a habit. It never occurred to me that I’d been walking wrong! I didn’t know there WAS a right and wrong way to walk. It’s just walking, right? How can you walk wrong? Well, you can. And, I was.
If I lived in a climate where it was practical to go walking outside year-round, I’d prefer to walk around my neighborhood rather than on a treadmill. But this morning, my car’s temperature gauge said it was -12 °F outside. (-24 °C) That’s just too brutal. So, I went to the gym, stretched, got in a mile of walking, stretched some more, went home, and ate breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day.
Eventually, I’d like to try other things besides walking. My new-to-me gym offers free classes as part of its membership. A yoga class could be fun. There was a circuit training class going on this morning, but it looked rather intense for my fitness level.
As a side note, Lord of the Rings fans: did you know it’s 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mount Doom? I’ve only been to the gym, twice now. Two miles total. If I were to start at Bag End, I’d still be in the Shire, following the hedgerows, south. But, I’d be two miles closer to Rivendell! What fun link! I might follow the Hobbit journey in my imagination. It’s 458 miles from Bag End to Rivendell. The Hobbits went 458 miles in 27 days! I’d probably be able to make it in two years. (I’m no Hobbit!!! LOL)
It’s too soon to tell, but I think going to the gym is a positive step. I want to do this for my heart and my health, not out of shame for my body. I’m used nurturing myself with food. I’m still VERY new to thinking of exercise as a form of self-nurturing. It’s going to take time to change my mindset.
Have you joined a gym? What are your thoughts? As a newbie, I’d love to hear your advice.