After my interview with Jean Shaw last week, I found myself thinking back to how I was two or three decades ago. I had always been fairly active, but allowed myself to slide into a situation where my only form of exercise was clicking my cigarette lighter and working the TV remote. I was an overweight couch potato, and felt permanently tired: I was in that peak of physical conditioning where I would get out of breath tying up my shoes.
I finally got sick of feeling that way, remembered my running days from high school, pulled on a pair of tennis shoes and went running. At least, that was the idea. In practice, I made about 25 yards before I collapsed into a grovelling heap.
It took me a while to learn how to get fit again. I started with a gym workout, tried aerobics, then race walking and finally running. Once I reached that stage, it wasn’t long before I took up windsurfing and scuba diving.
Oh, yes, somewhere in there I quit smoking, too.
Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. No matter how out of shape you are, the good news is that it IS possible to get back into shape. It won’t happen instantly, but it can happen sooner than you think.
After about a year, I ran my first race – a 10K. That was the farthest I had run since cross country in high school. Since then, I have graduated to half marathons.
When I lost my wife to cancer, I think running was the only thing that let me keep my sanity. Nobody who has not lost a spouse can appreciate the deep loneliness it causes and the time it takes for the grieving to end. Running was a way that I could escape into a different world, where the only pain was physical pain.
This year, I decided not to race. I might do a 5K some time, but I felt that after training for half marathons for the past two years it would be good to have a change of pace. I have not windsurfed for years now, and I found that my strength is going back to where it was when I was a couch potato – at least, for the upper body.
This is why I was so excited to discover the 7 Minute Workout. I hated strength training with a vengeance: sweating away on machines in the gym, or even lifting free weights for a home workout was miserable. As for pushups – forget it!
What I found out, though, is that just like the first time I ran, I was doing it all wrong! Three sets of 20 or 30 reps with weights is guaranteed to make anyone feel miserable, especially if you do it every day. With the 7 minute workout, all I do is 7 minutes a day, 3 times per week, and do you know what?
I actually look forward to the workouts. I take the weekend off, and by Sunday I’m wondering whether maybe I could do my Monday workout a day early. This from one who hated strength training!
The exciting thing is that I can tell how much my fitness is improving by the way I feel, as well as the way I look and the weights I’m using. My body is regaining the strength it used to have when I windsurfed, and I’m no longer as addicted to running as I was. I’m only running 3 or 4 times a week now, but running stronger and enjoying it more!
So if running is the only exercise you get, you might do yourself a favor and check out this program. And if you happen to know an overweight couch potato who wants to get healthy, send them in this direction: 7 Minute Workout.