Yes, yes. It's good for our physical health. It's good for our mental health. I know all these things. And don't get me wrong; we've been doing a lot of it lately. But I have a few beefs with exercise, and I think it's best to just get them all out there on the table. So the thing about exercise...
...is that it takes a while to get the hang of it.
I've written in the past about Daniel's foray into organized sports. The first year he was less than enthusiastic about things like running, paying attention, or touching a ball in any way. This year was quite a bit better, in that he did some actual fielding in t-ball and even ran after the ball some in soccer. I wonder, though, how long it will take before he can get through a game without multiple reminders to continue playing.
...is that it does funny things to your body.
Oh, not the good things that you expect to happen, like getting muscles and having more energy. I mean all the crazy pains and conditions and things not otherwise specified, like blisters and sore muscles and joint pain. From running, Kyle has developed hip pain, of all things, and therefore spends lots of time stretching and saying things like, "Ow! My hip!" like we're 75.
For my part, I have on-and-off pain only in the back of my left knee. I have a shin splint only in my right leg, callouses only on my right big toe. In addition, I have experienced a bizarre transformation in body shape. The more I exercise, the thinner my arms get. But nothing else. In fact, it's as if the fat from my arms has run down into my stomach, hips, and thighs, as I suspect they are getting larger. It's as if my body has decided it can give up a couple of limbs, but it's going to really insulate all the vital middle parts, which leaves me trying to propel my ample booty around with just these little chicken arms to balance everything out on top.
Here is me a little over a week ago, managing to look slightly chubby even as I finish a 4-mile race:
...is that you have to keep doing more of it.
This is a complaint that is about to reach the tipping point around our house. This summer Kyle kept increasing and increasing the length of his runs, until he decided that maybe he should just do a half marathon. In training for this he would literally run from one end of town to the other and back some days. Now a 5-mile run, which used to sound like an impressive workout, has become chump change, a "short run." Pretty soon we are going to run out of time for each of us to get in all the running that we want to do in a week without abandoning the kids.
Kyle finished his race this past Saturday, a trail run through the local State Park. Despite the hip thing, he finished right around his goal time. He writes about his race and, uh, training here. I have to admit that I spent the morning pushing aside fears that he'd sprain an ankle or be attacked by some woodland creature, so I was equal parts relieved and proud when he made it to the finish line. Even though he's making all the rest of us look like slackers.
...is that eventually your coach, instructor, or trainer will move or retire.
This was true in the case of Kyle's swim coaches, and it is true of my favorite Zumba instructor Claire, who is graduating and moving away in December. And if you are a sucker like me, you might be tempted to say something to the YMCA staff like, "If you don't find anyone else, I could maybe lead the class." And they might say, "Yeah, okay." And before you know it you're listening to Latin hip-hop during nap time, trying to figure out how you're going to pull this one off.
...is that eventually everyone wants their turn.
Eva just passed the minimum age for tumbling at our YMCA, so we've been taking her to Tumbling Teenies. She really gets a kick out of the class, which is basically a minimally-organized free-for-all with trampolines, springboards, and giant wedge mats. By t-ball season she will be old enough to play anything that Daniel plays, which means we will have double the number of games and practices each season. We've already limited Daniel from doing fall tumbling because the older kids' class time conflicts with my Zumba. Seriously, we're having a hard time fitting dinner into our schedules some nights. I wonder how it will be in a few years when we're all having to advocate to fit in our favorite practices or classes.
...is that it creates one heck of a lot of laundry.
Between the leotards, the soccer uniforms, the Zumba outfits, and all the running duds, I feel like we are doing piles of sweaty, stinky laundry every week. And don't even get me started about all the showering. Gosh, add in all the water we're drinking after exercising and we might be really exceeding our fair share in the utility usage department.
On the other hand... I'm sleeping like the dead every night, Kyle's lost 20 pounds, and they're gonna pay me to do Zumba. So maybe it's not all bad, but I'm keeping my eye on it.