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  • Audrey Cleo

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    Confessions of a Reluctant Exerciser: The reluctant AND sick edition

    I’ve spent the past 72 hours attempting to keep my sinuses from exploding inside of my forehead. I understand this isn’t exactly possible and, in many ways, anatomically inaccurate, but the amount of pressure I’m storing upwards of my nostrils would have you think otherwise. I’m suffering from a hacking cough so violent at times, I tear up and fear that I’ve cracked a rib. It’s not pretty.

    And throughout my attempts at decongesting – the endless hot tea swilling and cough drop sucking – I am lamenting that I can’t go to the gym. Yes, it’s catching me a little off-guard, too.

    While I’ve waxed poetic about the many reasons I love my gym, most of them have little to do with actual exercising. But over the past year or so, though, we’ve gotten into a rhythm, my gym and I. I’ve plotted out which classes at which location fit into my schedule best. I know the sweet spots in time and days of the week when it will be the least populated. I’ve made my routine decidedly reluctant exerciser-friendly and, in turn, it’s become one of my better habits.

    So when a particularly aggressive head cold disrupts this flow, I can already feel the inevitable setback I’ll experience when I am, finally, healthy again: the soreness of my muscles after my first weights session, the unease with which I will stumble through my “welcome back” hip-hop class, how I’ll walk with a dull ache in my calves for two days afterward. The pains of just “getting back into it.”

    Which, of course, means I’ve been very tempted to go. But since at least a few of my symptoms are “below the neck” (chest congestion, cough), apparently I should avoid any exercise that’s more strenuous than online shopping. Cold-sufferers with “above neck” symptoms can engage in mild exercise.

    As a reluctant exerciser, I’m taking my downtime to relish not being able to go to the gym really listen to my body and gauge its needs at the moment. It’s forcing me to be present as I try to heal it, whether it’s through more sleep, various juice concoctions with added ginger or hours of lazy Sunday afternoon football-watching. So, when I’m back in fighting/dancing/surfing shape, I’ll be ready to face my routine with renewed reluctance, yes, but, more importantly, renewed health.

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