After a good 4 weeks of doing absolutely no exercise at all (not my fault - I blame the flu and Diddy being in hospital).... I bravely decided to go to the gym on Monday night for a body pump class. I chose body pump as it really doesn't involve a lot of aerobic activity, and you can get away with being lazy by adjusting the weights you use. I was a bit flu-ey, had 'women's problems' and was extremely tired so I wanted something nice and gentle to ease me back into exercising.
Walking in to the room where classes are held, with a fake smile on my face, I instantly realised in horror that I hadn't read the timetable properly and I wasn't going to body pump.... but body combat!!!!! There is a huge difference. Body combat requires a lot more energy and there is more jumping around and kicking and pretending to punch things. Rather than lazily standing in one spot, holding a bar with a few tiny weights on it.... I was going to have to do stuff!!!!!
As I had already said hello to people, and was met with a chorus of 'long time no see!', 'where have you been?' etc, etc... I found myself too embarrased to leave. Just a few weeks ago I wouldn't consider body combat enough of a work out. I would usually do two classes back to back so it felt wrong to declare to everyone that this class was beyond my capabilities and leave.
I begrudgingly set myself up the back of the room and cursed myself for being so stupid to not have realised.
About 20 seconds into the first song I was into it. My flu symptoms began to disappear, my stomach cramps subsided and the sugar induced cloud of depression that had been swarming around me began to lift. I felt soooo good and sooo happy during the class that I decided to go for a little jog on the tredmill after class. My head felt clear and there were endorphins being released left, right and centre.
For the first time in my life it really hit home just how important exercise is!! I spent my highschool years handing forged notes to my poor PE teacher every lesson citing I could not participate due to 'women's problems'. I distinctly remember staring at my PE teacher thinking he was an absolute lunatic as he would explain to me that exercise is supposed to ease period pains.... as far as I was concerned, until he grew a uterus his opinion was moot. I would then launch into a lengthy description of why exercise made my period pain worse, and go into so much detail that the PE teacher would turn red and leave me alone. I now feel awful. He was right all along.
I had also been told that exercise helped improve your mood. I found this idea completely crazy as the thought of exercising MADE me depressed. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but I did think that all the people citing all these unbelievable advantages to exercise were delusional. I had even heard some compare exercising to the big 'O'. Whilst I'm afraid to admit I'm not quite there yet, I can definitely see some similarities in feelings at the completion of a workout to the completion of.... ahem... a different type of workout.
Body combat was amazing. The hour absolutely flew by and I punched and kicked the air like nobodies business. There is something about being in a room full of sweaty women shouting 'kill, kill, kill' as you all pretend that you are warriors fighting off air people that is so therapeutic. Every time my instructor would yell 'go, go, go' I would up the intensity instinctively.... like I had no control over my body (to be quite honest there really isn't much control anyway.... I did a lot of arm flapping and flailing as opposed to punching and kicking). I really wish I could hire an instructor to follow me around my house yelling 'go, go, go' while I do the washing, floors, tidying etc.....
So there you have it. I am a convert. I now believe exercise to be essential to mental health and a cure for period pain... along with a lot of other benefits. 33 years of wrongly thinking the whole point of exercise was to morph into a stick insect was corrected in 1 enlightening hour of body combat. Thank goodness I read the time table incorrectly!!!!!