I’ve been on a serious (for me) fitness kick lately. I have gone through times when I was really fit, and other times…not so much. My problem is that most of the things I love to do are quiet, sitting-still-things: reading, writing, designing things, making stuff. And when you get too focused on those things, it’s easy to lose track of time and realize you’ve been sitting for a whole day. Which is not good if you want to be fit.

So anyway, my last fitness kick involved walking, but this time I got more serious. I decided I would feel better and get fit faster by running and riding my bike, in addition to the Pilates mat exercises I was doing for stretching and core work. So I’ve been alternating running and biking and following up with stretches.

This photo shows the latest brilliant (snicker) idea: my husband installed a pull-up bar in the living room doorway. I have no upper body strength at all, so I encouraged him to install this. My deal with myself was that I was going to do at least one pull-up every time I went into the living room. For the first week I avoided the living room like the plague. I couldn’t even pull myself up at all, I had to give a little hop to get my chin over the bar. Then I couldn’t do more than one pull-up. Today I did five.

It’s the same with the running: at first I couldn’t run all the way around one lap (approximately a mile). I know, that may seem pathetic, but I had to stop and walk part of the way. Last week I was able to run the whole way without stopping (and without my lungs burning, which is pretty major for me), and today I finished one lap and felt so good about it that I just kept going. I really felt like I could have gone on and on. With biking I went from two miles to four, and have just upped it again to six.

What I love about exercising is how fitness creeps up on me. When I start it is painful. And I mean Painful: my lungs are on fire, my legs feel like jelly, my abs and arms and joints and muscles just ache constantly. If I keep doing it, not only does it hurt less, it actually starts feeling good. It gets easier. I feel stronger. Suddenly things that seemed impossible (holy cats, run 2 miles???) are do-able. I’ll be running the two mile route by the end of this week. Maybe even tomorrow. That means I will run six or 8 miles this week, and I will bike 18 to 24 miles. And maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but by June, I will be able to do 10 pull-ups. That’s the goal. Baby steps!

What I love even more about getting fit is that the “I can do anything” powerful feeling you get from exercising then translates into other areas. Other things that seemed impossible are just minor bumps. I’m planning to get fit and stay fit this time, and not have to relearn this lesson over and over again!

How about you? Is fitness important to you? What do you do to stay fit? Please share your thoughts below!

“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.” ~Joan Welsh

“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero