I've not been a life long exerciser. It is more that 40 is drawing near and energy isn't what it used to be. Already in my minor bit of exercising I definitely have more energy for the rest of the day and stress is sliding off easier and not settling into my bones.
Here's what I'm learning:
1. Numbers can kill your motivation. I refuse to weigh myself at this point. I have a fair idea of what I weigh but then you become obsessed about where you think you ought to be (probably from some number on some chart somewhere) and you get depressed because you aren't getting the numbers where you want them. My treadmill tells how many calories you burn and how far you walked. After my first 30 minute workout, I looked at those two numbers and thought, "I walked farther than that!" I was bummed.
2. Numbers can help your motivation. I suppose the reason numbers bum me is because they are in comparison with other people. Even that weight chart is in comparison to other people. I want a weight where I feel good, that's all. There is no chart for that except how I feel.
But the other day, my mom mentioned that my oldest brother, who turned 50 last month, wants to go to the old farm where we grew up, and run around the block this summer. If you aren't familiar with country blocks, they are usually four miles around. Our old house is gone. The old barn is gone. There is nothing really left down there of home. Two and half miles are paved and a mile and a half are still dirt (they usually put some rock on them), at least as far as I know.
My initial reaction was "I want to do that!" Seriously. I really do. I want to run (more likely run/walk, or maybe even walk/run) four miles out at the old homestead. Then something else stuck in my head. I want to do it in under an hour. Comparisons about. The New York Marathon (26 miles) was run in a little over 2 hours this year. I told my mom I wanted to run in under an hour. Her response, "That's too fast." Unfortunately that was motivation.
I've been pushing those numbers on the treadmill a bit, and I've walked/run over two miles in an half hour twice. No, I couldn't do it back to back today, but I've been pushed just enough for now to start putting me on a pace.
3. Finish strong. I've been raised with the idea of "Leave it all on the court." In other words, don't finish with an ounce of energy left. Well, at forty, and I suspect at most levels, I'm learning to finish strong. This morning, I knew I would finish my two miles under 30 minutes. Something in me near the end said, "Push it. Finish hard." Then something else said, "No, finish strong. You've accomplished your goal." So I didn't push it. I had pushed it to do what I did. Exercise is 90% mental.