Some people excel at sport and athleticism from an early age, it is woven into their DNA. They take to any physical activity they try with ease and grace. The kind of people who won every race at sports day and captained every team. Then there’s those like me who were quite literally picked last for every team in PE, I swear to god if my classmates could have chosen the school bench over me they would. To be fair it would have probably done a better job at the time.
I was skinny, knock kneed, had an undiagnosed hypermobility spectrum disorder and the serious lack of muscle tone that goes with it. As is often the case when we are awful at something I avoided it like the plague, I don’t know if things have changed but in my day PE teachers had no interest in those without natural athleticism never mind the reasons why.
To be entirely honest my experiences at school with regard to fitness were not just negative they were actually traumatic. I was openly bullied for my lack of physicality and knock knees and viciously name called. I’m not sure though out of the laughter or the pity clap I would sometimes get coming in dead last for something…again which one was worse. I still won’t even so much as take part in a 5k race in public as a result, the idea of any type of competition fills me with horror to the point where I actually feel physically sick.
Why am I telling you this? It’s not for pity or sympathy, I am honestly quite fine. The past is the past. I want you to read this if you like me had no natural ability and let you know that it does not and never did exclude you from looking after yourself physically. No matter how rubbish you were at PE you can still benefit from various forms of movement. Heck you might even enjoy it. I certainly do, in fact I can’t imagine a life where I don’t get up and exercise pretty much every day. I am so grateful that I discovered first yoga and Pilates in my 20s which I found I actually quite naturally built for and being the antithesis of competitive sports allowed me to tune in with my body and learn to love moving it. It was this love of movement I took into CrossFit and strength training, the difference being in that situation I was pretty rubbish to begin with. However many years later of keeping at it I am actually
pretty strong and certainly fit.
That for me is the important aspect, being fit and healthy, being strong enough to squat down to the ground with a heavy back pack and stand back up, being able to walk briskly up hills without losing my breath, being limber enough to fold into my legs with no discomfort, being able to lift heavy suitcases over head for other passengers on trains. These are the things that matter to me. That and the sheer love of movement, oh heavens it is simply glorious to just move, there is a delight in using your body that is with language almost inexpressible. As though different movements all have their own flavor and to engage in more than one is like a banquet for the body. Plus as a result I honestly feel better at nearly 50 than I did my entire adult life.
Don’t let a perceived idea of not being athletic dictate to you that exercise isn’t for you, it is for everyone from those like my husband who are naturally talented in a particular field (running) and thrive in competition to those like myself who myself who had to work at it. In fact I think those of us who are not naturals potentially benefit even more as there are often underlying conditions that make us that way which are improved by movement.
Exercise is for all of us and is certainly one of the keys to health and longevity.
If you are considering getting moving and would like a little support either in person or virtually get in touch.