Struggling to Exercise?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012

Let me be honest. I am not a fan of exercise. I know that exercise is a great thing but for some reason the word exercise conjures up everything I don’t like to do. Running. Going to the gym. Lifting weights. Sure, I like to move. But I don’t like to exercise. And when it comes to moving…I don’t do it often enough.

Last week a coworker of mine was discussing fitness tests for becoming a pilot. He recently started taking aviation lessons, and said that the US Air Force uses a few simple health assessments to ascertain health risk and pilot eligibility. Interesting, I thought. And something that makes a lot of sense. Who wants to have their pilot going into cardiac arrest 30,000 feet in the air?

Aboard a two-seater helicopter, once upon a time in Belize

The following day my coworker kindly produced a chart for me- a description of the four tests and the scoring for women in my age group. There was a cardio assessment component (a 1.5 mile run), a body composition component (measure your abdomen circumference), and two muscle fitness components (how many sit-ups and how many push-ups can you do in one minute?).  Even non-exerciser I was intrigued. Three of the four could be done in 60 seconds. And the run…well I know that it takes 20 minutes to walk a mile so it wouldn’t take more than 30 to go a mile and a half.

This information caused some interesting introspection. Did I want to try become a runner (again)? No. My body has made it clear this activity is not for me. (Much respect to the runners of the world.) Did I want to join the Air Force? Definitely not. (Much respect to our service men and women-I am proud of you.) Was I likely ever going to fly a private plane? Not in this lifetime.

But there were other forces at work as well inside of me.

The student in me wanted a score.The busy and lazy part of me knew I could carve out 30 minutes to do this. And hadn’t I been wanting to be more active for awhile now? My coworker said he knew where there was a track we could use. And I realized it probably wasn’t going to get any easier then this. The paper in my hand might just be an invitation from the universe. But I wasn’t sure if I was totally ready to leave comfortville, so this is what I decided.

I would consider doing these tests.

I would make a hypothesize of what my results would be for each one.

If it ever stopped raining in Oregon, I would test my hypothesis.

I would not think much beyond that.

Somehow this seemed manageable. I wasn’t committing. I was just…hypothesizing. And the more I got into making my hypothesises (hypothesi?) the more I had to imagine myself actually doing the tests, and the more curious I became. On what lap would my legs start to tire on the run? What is the average time for a sit up? How long could my arms last doing push-ups?  I didn’t look at the score card to figure this out, I looked inside to my imagination. I made my best guess and I wrote it on a sticky not and stuck it to the paper.

Putting my best guess forward

In my next post I’ll share with you what ended up happening. For today I’m curious to know – what is your relationship with exercise?? Are you happy with how much  you move? If you aren’t ready to start exercising, would try hypothesizing?


  1. Thanks Pamela.

  2. I like the concept of the sticky notes to encourage a goal. I am new to running as I started 2 years ago at age 57. I would like to improve my 5k time this year for the Troy Turkey Trot to under 40 minutes while under 60. Little things can help focus. Thanks for the tip!

  3. So true, Mary Ellen! I agree – it is the small steps we take that make all the difference. (That is actually the focus of my next post!) Wishing you all the best in the Troy Turkey Trot!

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