Sunday, February 21, 2010

Exercise as an Expression of Love

This morning I had an aha moment while doing my morning workout. Exercise is an expression of love and I want to lavish this kind of love on my body every day. As a polio survivor I would see exercise as a drudgery. I hated my body and disconnected my head from my body for years! Gym class was always a nightmare for me - well except for that one day when everyone moved in from the outfield chanting their usual 'easy out' when I came up to the plate for kick ball. I connected with the ball and bam out it went only no one was in the outfield to make a play so I ended making a home run. But I digress.... I know many people struggle with making time to exercise, embracing exercise as a part of life and either push themselves to exhaustion or injury or don't even get off of the couch. I'm here to say - let's celebrate the gift of our bodies - the sacred temple that God gave us and take time each day to express that love through exercise.

As I lifted the weights I imagined building the muscle, nerve and bone connection. I imagined my bones as strong and healthy (especially in my spine and hip where the doctors say I 'have' osteoporosis). I focused on my form and compared myself to an Olympic athlete - yes this 56 year old woman can imagine herself to be anything she wants to be and so I steadied myself on the pilates ball with the spirit of a champion - right here in my own house. I am limited to a maximum of three pounds; my physical therapist and I designed a lower body strength training program which uses gravity and body weight to strengthen muscles since we want to protect the cervical spine. Regardless, I am loving and honoring this sacred temple.

When I conceptualize exercise as an expression of love, all the drudgery melts away. It becomes a celebration of life and love. I look at my record which I keep to track progress and look at how far I have come since I began upper body strength training last October. When training for a marathon, it's easy to mark progress - speed, distance but strength training is more subtle to measure. I love it when I feel sore because that's telling me I've worked the muscles. I also look at where I began - no weights, only a few reps and now I'm using weights. I could hardly hold myself in good form on the pilates ball and now I feel like a champion!

This weekend I will be at the Hyannis Marathon Race Expo I'll be signing copies of my book of inspirational poetry "New World Greetings" and sharing my journey from post polio to the Boston Marathon finish line. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by. If you cannot attend the Expo, you can purchase copies of my book through my website and remember I donate 20% of book proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund where I took the first steps on my healing journey.

Remember for every occasion, reach in and reach out to someone you love with a New World Greeting Card Easter is April 4th and engagement and wedding season is right around the corner!