Never really into sports, not overly graceful (understatement of the year), and more likely to be found reading a book than working out.
So, not a big surprise when I say I haven't participated in any sort of "regular" exercise program since before The Professor was born. (He's 6 now, for those keeping count.)
We have a somewhat active lifestyle. But I don't really "exercise". Unless you count yoga. Which I don't. Because, while it can be strenuous and really excellent for flexibility and balance, it's not the kind of workout that gets your heart rate up. I enjoy yoga a lot, but it's not a calorie burner.
And, yeah, I could stand to burn a few calories.
My problem with most "exercise" is it is boring as hell.
I've tried joining gyms a few times over the years. But, no matter how enthusiastically I try to approach it, "going to the gym" quickly becomes a chore that I loathe and resent. I just can't get into step classes or aerobics or spinning or even treadmills and weights and machines.
Brain Not Engaged. Abort. Abort. Abort.
And, being the antisocial butterfly that I am, team sports and activities, which are slightly better at engaging the little gray cells, are not exactly high on my list of Things That Don't Suck.
But I think I've finally found an "exercise" I can really enjoy: Karate.
I know. Whouda thunk?!
But yeah. I've been taking Kenpo Karate lessons for a couple of months now. And I'm really enjoying myself!
We enrolled The Professor in classes a few months ago and, after taking him to a few classes, I decided, Hey, that looks like fun! So I signed up for the adult classes! I was a little nervous at first, but I'm loving it more and more with every class.
With Kenpo, my body and brain are both engaged. I'm learning something fun and useful and it's a great workout. (I have to admit the push-ups and crunches we usually do in our warm up still totally kick my ass. I mean, push-ups! Before I started this class, I hadn't done push-ups in 15 years! Who does push-ups?! Oh, right, me now.)
One of the best parts is that, in a way, The Professor and I are learning together. I attend the adult classes two nights a week and take The Professor to his "Pee Wee" classes on two other nights. (Where I learn a lot just by watching, to be honest.) Then, we practice together at home.
My training's a little more advanced then his, of course, but not much. We're both learning Yellow Belt techniques and we both have the same teacher(s). So, while my instruction is more in depth, we are, essentially, on the same page. I love that I can "help him with his homework" as it were, and that we can have fun practicing our techniques and forms together. (Per his request, Santa is bringing him his own punching bag to practice on at home. Shhhh.)
Oh, sorry. Where was I? Oh right, quality time with the kid.
As much as I'm loving that I get to share this activity with my son - and, maybe, in a few years, with both sons - I also love the "me time" that I'm getting with my lessons.
One of the first things my Sifu told me is that when you step onto the mat, you leave everything else off.
Unlike other times I've "tried" to just be in the moment with other types of exercise, with Kenpo I am effortlessly and totally engaged from the time I bow on to the time I bow off. I'm not thinking about co-workers or housework or politics or drama or anything else but what I am learning and doing.
How zen is that? :)
Speaking of my Sifu - I actually have two. The Dojo is a family affair and the instructors are father and son. The younger teaches the beginning classes and the elder leads the advanced classes, though he occasionally leads our class or works with specific students when we break into groups.
We're a small class - about a dozen of us "adult beginners", all told. And we rank from White Belts (that would be me) all the way up to Brown Belts, who are more assistant teachers than students.
Both instructors are, of course, experienced Black Belts. Despite that fact the the son is barely old enough to shave. Okay, okay, that's not true. He's college age. But still. I feel pretty freakin' old gettin' schooled by a kid who's almost young enough to be my ... well, not son, thank goodness, but definitely a much-younger nephew or something.
Still, he's not only an excellent martial artist, he's an excellent teacher. You know that old saying? It's true: Just because you know how to do something, doesn't mean you can teach it. That's harder than most people think. And my Sifu, despite his youth, is very good at both. I feel like I've already learned a lot! Which is why I don't mind so much that I have to call him "Mister".
Well, that and the fact that he could kick my ass with both arms tied behind his back.
No. Really. He totally could.
I know that I'm babbling on and on and that most people couldn't care less about my new hobby. But, I'm enjoying this whole thing so much, that I'm just bursting with it.
That would be me putting the O in OCD, I guess. ;)
Bottom line: I'm having So. Much. Fun! And I'm so glad that I decided to take a chance and try something new!
Your Turn: When's the last time YOU did something that was brand new to you? How'd that work out for ya? And what's your favorite form of exercise?