I really don’t like to run. There’s nothing appealing or fun about it to me. Walking, on the other hand, is relaxing and invigorating. When I walk alone, I enjoy the stretch of my muscles, the smell of the fresh air, the uninterrupted thinking. When I walk with one or more of my kids, we’re able to have conversations, silly and important, with less teenage attitude. The movement seems to support civility and cooperation.
I want to like yoga. I really wish I did. I try it at least annually and every time I start, I’m enthusiastic. That lasts less than 20 minutes and then I admit (again), I really don’t enjoy yoga.
During our (very) brief stint with a marriage counselor, I realized that I needed to find some activities with other women. I have let my social circle shrink to almost nothing and I’m unhappy without girlfriends, some kind of contact with other adult women. There are several gyms close to me, but they’re expensive and intimidating. Mostly, the cost is intimidating. Our local city recreation department offers lots of fitness classes for a good price and I signed up for Turbo Kickboxing, mainly because it was offered at times that fit into my schedule.
The classes run 90 minutes twice a week. I’m in good shape (I exercise ~5 hours a week) but I am dripping sweat inside of 20 minutes at kickboxing. What I really notice, what has kept me coming back, is that for those 90 minutes in kickboxing class, I am completely present. I focus on keeping up, bobbing and weaving, punching and jabbing. I don’t worry about my marriage, money, kids, or anything else. There’s me, my sweat, and kickboxing.
It’s liberating.
I’m not especially good at kickboxing, but so what? We’re not training for the Olympics here. There are a dozen other women in the class, some as young as late 20’s, one in her 70’s. They’re happy to see me every Tuesday and Thursday morning and I’m happy to see them. We’re not close friends yet, but they notice if I miss a class and that feels good.
Of course, it helps to be able to punch and kick (safely!) and release the pent-up aggression. The real draw, though, is being completely present.