The Lazy Girl Chronicles: Life Lessons Learnt from Exercise

 “E-x-e-r-c-i-s-e”:  Eight letters strung together in a sequence that makes me cringe every time I see it. But we all know the dangers of avoiding the “E word”.

One PLoS Medicine report in 2012 revealed that persons could amputate 7.2 years from their lifespan by becoming obese and inactive. Couple this fun fact with being genetically predisposed to medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes (thanks ancestors) and you will understand why I had to convince myself to rip my lazy “derrière” off the couch and get active!

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Hence, last September I embarked on a venture I entitled “Lose the Lazy Life”. My mission was to seek out fun, innovative activities around Stirling that would keep me out of the gym but in check with my health goals.

As expected, I found numerous workout options. What I didn’t expect was to learn major life lessons while doing them! Here’s what they taught me.

 

#LosetheLazyLife Lesson 1: Appreciate The Small Things In Life

Appreciate the small things in life: for example, your ability to move! To get the fitness ball rolling, I decided to try an LBT (Legs, Buttocks and Tummy) class. As its name implies, this class focuses on toning your core and lower body muscles. My instructor was extremely helpful and patient . She even offered alternative exercise instructions for “beginners”. Thankfully, I managed my way through the 45 minutes of sit-ups, lunges and planks without completely blacking out. However, I was not prepared for the aftermath.

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During the days that followed my muscles were unimaginably sore. Reaching for items on supermarket shelves, trying to sit down, climbing one stair (literally one), became formidable tasks. But I didn’t give up! I stretched out those muscles and boomeranged back for a second dose of LBT the following week. Surprisingly, my body felt extremely energized afterwards and I moved around pain-free, days after the intense workout! Good job me! I gave myself a nice pat on the back and searched out my next fitness challenge.

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#LosetheLazyLife Lesson 2: Develop Interpersonal Communication Skills

I’ve always been curious about Cycle classes. I wondered why riding a stationary bike machine in an enclosed room would be enjoyable to humans so I decided to experience it myself. My instructor was exceptionally welcoming and started us off slow and easy. Then, let’s just say things escalated pretty quickly!

Imagine bikes pedaling at the speed of light, perspiration pouring down your face and body, your legs struggling not to give out under you and then, your instructor suddenly switches from shouting commands in English to what seems to be some variety of a Viking warrior language.

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“Did she say ‘Gear on’? ‘Get on’? ‘Gearthon’? That’s not even a word girl! Just keep pedaling!”

You try to keep up by mimicking the persons around you but are horrendously out of sync. Then, by some sort of divine intervention, midway through the class, your body miraculously adjusts to the rhythm of the proceedings.

Of course, as magical as her Scottish accent sounds, your Caribbean ears still fail to understand any word the instructor utters but for now it doesn’t matter. You’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And you get to it successfully!

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Fast forward to six classes later and my lower body is notably toned, my endurance for physical activity has improved significantly and I can understand at least 80% of Scottish diction (which has actually polished my communication skills in this place I now call home and helped me to make many new friends)!

 

#LosetheLazyLife Lesson 3: “Patience Grasshopper”

After watching Wonder Woman  this year, I fell completely in love with archery so when I found out about the Archery Club in Stirling, I just had to give it a go! It’s hard to admit but there is only one word in the English language that can accurately describe my first bow arching attempt: FAILURE!

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My match stick arms were not strong enough to harness the bow into position and when I did attempt to release an arrow, I punched myself in the face. Thankfully however, Co – founder of the Archery Club, Micheal Whiteford, refused to give up on me and gifted me some words of inspiration:

Archery is something I’ve done since I was a kid, it’s like meditating for me because there is a rhythm in everything you do. It reminds you to keep your chin up and keep a level head in form and in life. You will be terrible at first. NOBODY starts out good at archery, but you always improve every single time you shoot, so the more you pick up a bow, the better you get until you’re banging 10’s [hitting the bullseye] every time.”

Needless to say, I did pick that bow back up and a million attempts later (just keeping this real), my arrows were ripping through the atmosphere in a glorious way! (Target was still off by a mile or ten but hey! Baby steps man!)

Giving your lazy lifestyle a 180 degree spin is never an easy task. It requires a lot of determination, self- motivation and discipline. However, after experiencing both the physical and psychological benefits of being active (and learning amazing life lessons from this) I promise you there’s no way you’ll revert to old habits. So let’s do this together. Let’s “Lose the Lazy Life”. PLoS Medicine says it can extend your life by up to 4.5 years and this for certain is NOT “fake news”!

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