, ,

Embarrassed to Exercise :035

I remember what it feels like to be embarrassed to exercise

It first started when I was in elementary school. I lacked coordinated, stamina, understanding of most games and even strategies. I didn’t want to take part in any physical activities, so it didn’t bother me to be chosen last to be on the team; this was a given.


I just wanted to be left alone

On top of my lack of physical skills, being active hurt. The clothing rubbing against my troubled skin plagued me when doing normal activities; any extra activity caused pain from repeated friction. I just wanted to be still.

If that wasn’t bad enough, physical exertion made my stomach sick, my face turn red, I felt light-headed, like I would vomit. If there was any moderate running, my lungs burned and sides ached.

Extremes in weather made it worse. I loved the sun but it dried my skin just from the heat. My face got redder and hotter more quickly. My feet felt like anchors that I had to drag along.

Cold weather was equally painful. My already chilled and sensitive body recoiled in the the cold. My skin felt even more parched in the cool, dry air. The open cracks in my skin, open wounds exposed to the piercing air or caught on layers of clothing.

Oh yeah, and on top of it all, I was overweight. Forty percent heavier than my average classmate.

“Just let me sit out.” I thought, at every recess and every P.E. class.

Just let me be.


My biggest hurdle… embarrassment

So acutely aware of my abnormalities, what I couldn’t do, I was ashamed to even try. That would have made it worse, to try, fail and be teased even more.

There was a point, though, that I realized that by not overcoming this hurdle, I was keeping myself from what was beyond just that one, seemingly monumental hurdle!

If I had allowed myself, I would have gone my whole life not discovering how capable and healthy I have become because I was worried about what others would think of me!

I knew for years that my body needed to dance- to learn to move in a coordinated fashion and with expression.

I was embarrassed as a child because I thought dance was too feminine: I felt I gained favor from those I loved by being a Tom-boy.

I was embarrassed as an adult because I thought I looked silly stumbling around; that’s how I perceived myself.


Get over the hurdle

I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. My ailments and thoughts and feelings about my body and my life continually pushed me into a corner. I felt less and less capable, worthy, and even desirous of anything fun and worth while.

Something in my young self knew this was no way to live. I decided to change. I decided to make my biggest hurdle my greatest victory.

Quick synopsis, almost thirty years later I am stronger and healthier than ever. I feel fit, capable, coordinated and now I am chosen to be on teams! It feels really good to overcome such a multi-faceted challenge!


One embarrassing thing after another

Life is funny. It seems to give us lesson upon lesson until we really get it.

Recently I found that I am once again embarrassed about exercise. Like any good life-lesson, the circumstances are much different. Now, much more self-confident, capable and healthy, I am not embarrassed of my body, but I noticed being embarrassed about what or even how I train; in martial arts.

It started as a curiosity for me many years ago. I met my husband through this activity and we’ve trained off and on throughout the years.

It has been a form of exercise and self-study for me for 16 years. It’s true, there is so much to learn just by metaphors in training martial arts; as we have seen in many movies.  I have learned about boundaries, when and how to meet force, when to go around, flow, movement within movement, patience, muscle memory, overcoming frustration, learning with new training partners and so much more. For me, this training is so much more about how to work with and through a situation, rather than to cause harm. But, because I was training with people of similar interest, I didn’t notice so much the seeming contradiction brewing within me.

What would my yoga friends think!?

I train regularly with training daggers and learn to disarm and return attacks. This is does not fit my equally deep training in yoga. This does not abide by one of the tenets: nonviolence.

I don’t train martial arts to learn to be a violent person. Actually, in metaphoric ways, I have become much better at dealing with non-physical violence and even challenging life situations because of my martial arts training.

Most of all, I’ve had to remember that each of us has our own unique path. I must continue to tune inward and find my own way- without worry of what others think.


I don’t let this stop me from training.

While it still surprises me to see myself in a video, training with practice daggers, I know myself best. I know that I am not training to harm, but to learn the dynamics of life, to train and understand my body, to become proficient in an area of life (physical) that is most challenging to me.

Most of all, I can see the metaphors in life; how to defend and react not to the physical dagger, but the sharp tongue or piercing eyes of another person.

I encourage you to face your seeming contradictions and challenges as well. Don’t let the thoughts (or assumed thoughts) of other people stop you from moving your body the way you need to be healthy in body, mind and spirit!

I keep on training because of the many things I gain: quality time with my hubby, increased awareness, improved coordination and reflexes, strength and greater self-confidence.

If I worried about what others thought, I’d be letting my assumed thoughts of what they might think of me prevent me from becoming who I want to be; more educated, capable and to have greater perspective.

Now I: train martial arts, dance, do yoga, mountain bike and am excited to do more! I’m so thrilled to live in my capable body! No longer will I let others’ presumed thoughts dictate what I do or do not do!

Whatever your reason for embarrassment

Don’t let it stop you!

If you were to join any activity for the fun of it

…and as a result you gained in fitness, coordination or self-awareness–what would you do?

What would you do if no one were looking?

What if money were no object?

What are you curious about?

What do you admire that others can do?

Where can you start? How can you fulfill this for yourself?

Don’t worry about what others might think. You’re living your life!

It’s YOUR Exercise for YOUR Body!

Turn your embarrassment into accomplishment!


“If one loves, one need not have an ideology of love.”  – Bruce Lee