I biked three miles yesterday. I never understood when people said they felt good after exercising. In my past it was always enmeshed with shame, self loathing, embarrassment, and a million other negative emotions brought on by the people whose only goal was to make me thin, regardless of what it was doing to my physical and emotional health. It's a completely different animal when you do this shit for no one other than yourself. When you work with your limitations instead of being forced to do things that leave you feeling broken and completely incapable. I totally get it now. I wake up wanting to go. It’s weird, really, but awfully nice.
I asked when it was the least busy and intentionally go when there are fewer people there. It’s me and dozens of older folks. Which is probably why I’m enjoying it so much. Little old men exercising in their jeans and polo shirts, women in shirts covered with flowers and rhinestones. The recumbent bikes are next to and face the indoor track and I watch these couples in their 70s slowly walking around it, holding hands. This place is just so welcoming and helpful and non judgmental. I really lucked out in this place being so close to me. I know that in any sort of typical gym I’d dread going and would probably run in the other direction instead.
I get on a recumbent bike and pedal my ass off. Not caring about how my shirt keeps riding up or that I’m sweating like a motherfucker. For whatever reason, I feel strong and determined and amazing. And I love it! I actually find myself wanting to go. I think, eventually, I’ll care less about the place being empty but right now it helps a lot that it is.
My current goals are fairly basic. 1) Bike for five miles, 2) build up the courage to use the machines in the weight room, and 3) walk a mile - 12 laps around the indoor track. They’ll take some time but they’re manageable goals that I know I can make happen. I’m excited to do this for my body. I’m excited to move my body, to make it feel better, to slowly push myself little by little. I’m excited to give my body what it needs. Because my body deserves it.