Sunday, March 18, 2012

Exercise and Discipline

I am all sweaty. I just worked out for about forty-five minutes. My heart is racing and I've got a head rush. And I feel good.

Did you know I was in college the first time I felt endorphins from exercise?

Me in college
My freshman year was a crazy mix of roommate and academic stress and when fall exam week rolled around I was having a really hard time dealing with it all. I'd heard the advice that exercise helps stress, so I decided to figure it out. My freshman year our student center was being remodeled so the only gym available was the athlete's gym in the academic building (which us non-athletic students were allowed to use) so I trekked out there and tried it. I don't think I got the endorphin rush the first time, but I did get rid of some nervous energy, so I went back out there... 

I'm not sure if it was the second time or if it took longer, but I remember the shock I had when I finally tapped into that endorphins place.  And I remember esctatically going to my friends in the cafeteria and telling them I'd gotten endorphins from exercising for the very first time!!

And they were like, really?

in tap dance recital costume
Yeah... I was not an athlete growing up (or now) and I detested P.E. (I think it hated me too!)  While I've always loved a few activities, like swimming or dancing, generally I either didn't have access to a pool or the resources. I had done tap dancing for a year when I was six and ballet for half a year when I was seven (we moved before the year was up). But down here they only dance class they offered was clogging and a) I didn't really like it and b) it was expensive. I liked basketball okay, but I wasn't really good enough to join a team, though we did have a hoop... but I didn't like it enough to play by myself so I really only played if one of the neighbors joined me. My sisters weren't exciting enough to tear my nose out of a book.

I never understood why anyone liked sports or exercise. For me, the more you exercised, the more it hurt. I never got joy out of exercising where I felt a burn. But as I had never found the endorphins, that makes sense. I wonder if I'd found them as a kid if my life would be different? Eh, doesn't matter, didn't happen.

I did spend a lot of time playing outside. I had time periods where I'd do a lot of biking or walking, but I wasn't terribly consistant.

As you can probably tell from how the "See Pam Run" has gone, I've never gotten very good at consistency when it comes to physical discipline.

I'm not horribly consistent with spiritual discipline either, though I think I do a little better. I try to put first things first most of the time. Still, I think having a moderate amount of discipline in other areas affects our spiritual growth. I say "moderate" amount because I've seen far too many people replace the relationship with God with one discipline or obsession to say that it is always healthy. In fact, letting things go is often a sign of spiritual development in the "type A" department.

For me, however, I need more discipline. It's a balancing act. And while my chronic ear infections ceased many years ago, I still have difficulty balancing my life. I know I'm not alone in this struggle, but I am extraordinarily bad at it!

God, help me bring my life more in balance. Show me how to make it work.

And for my blog readers, this post also lets you know I'm restarting See Pam Run this week! Barring injury, I plan on finishing this time.

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