Faster, Higher, Stronger
February 10, 2014
The Hudson Household is “by invitation only” for the next two weeks. Anyone who does come to visit is welcome as long as they know that they are liable to be shown a seat and then told to “sit down and shut up”. The ‘day job’ is a necessary evil Monday to Friday and an unwelcome intrusion… It is causing me to miss vital Winter Olympic viewing…
Much as I love the Summer Olympics, my excitement level knows no bounds when it comes to the Winter Games. If ever Lovely Husband and I get on ‘Mr and Mrs’ and the “favourite sport” question comes up I know we’re onto a winner. LH has a passion for Formula One but for me, it is Figure Skating that is unmissable (with tennis and F1 a close second and third…). I’ve already had my first “fix” with the Team event and have got all the individual events circled in the TV guide and bookmarked online to ensure I don’t miss a single stroke of the blade… But I’ve also discovered how exciting many of the other events can be to watch. The moguls (bumpy ski-ing and tricks); snowboarding (and a history-making “first Olympic medal on snow for Team GB”); and the luge have already had me holding my breath and watching the screen from a gap in my fingers… almost too scared for their safety to watch but, at the same time, unwilling to miss what’s going on. It’s “white knuckle television” at its finest and the strength and stamina of the competitors is truly staggering.
Something strange has also happened. It’s made me more mindful of the need for me to exercise… not just to help on my weight loss journey, but to improve my general health and wellbeing.
Exercise isn’t just something to do when the waistband gets too tight or when the number on the size label is larger than we would like. It’s something that we should all try to factor into our lives, whether we are losing weight, maintaining weight, or never had an issue with weight in our life.
It’s not just about burning calories and whittling the waistline. It’s about strengthening our muscles; maintaining our mobility; improving our cardio-vascular system. It’s about about making sure our organs can function at their optimum level. It’s about giving this amazing machine we call our body the very best chance to be the best it can be.
Over the past eight months I’ve managed to change my mindset when it comes to exercise. In the past my view was that I hated it. I would complain that I couldn’t find an exercise that I liked. That it was too much like hard work and that it was hard to schedule into my day. That is no longer the case.
Don’t get me wrong. It still feels like hard work and I don’t think I’ll ever love it… but I have come to appreciate the benefits it brings me. My clothes are looser; once too-tight jeans now fit again; I like the feeling, twenty minutes after a workout, when I have the energy levels of a hyperactive toddler and the feel-good endorphins coursing through my body make me believe that I too could win Olympic gold… (obviously I have a very vivid imagination, but those endorphins can generate a pretty powerful “natural high”).
I’m even beginning to find my body is now in league with my brain when it comes to exercise. I’ve already turned on the television and settled back to watch the action from Sochi… and then not been able to get rid of the little voice that comes from nowhere and reminds me that I haven’t done my forty-minutes for the day; the little voice that tells me that I won’t be able to relax and enjoy the Olympic action whilst I’ve still got my own workout to deal with; the little voice that won’t be silenced until I’ve got off my bottom and got on with my workout…
It’s very strange. I really don’t enjoy exercise but there’s something about the “little voice” that I can’t ignore.
Even more strangely, the first five minutes of my workout are always the worst five minutes of my day… But then the magic happens… and some short time into my workout I find myself getting into a rhythm. I find myself not hating it. I find myself thinking “this isn’t too bad”.
Of course, I keep my eye on the clock and I’m counting down the minutes until I can stop and get on with what I really want to be doing… but I’ve realised I only hate the first five minutes. After that it becomes “do-able” (“enjoyable” might be stretching the point…). But the real pay-off is an hour later when I’m feeling really proud of myself for doing something that I really didn’t want to do; when I find myself brimming with energy and ready to take on the world; when my body is telling me “thank you” for giving it the workout it needed.
The Olympic Motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius which translates to “Faster, Higher Stronger”. In my own modest way it is what I aspire to as I tackle the “move more” part of my weight loss journey.
I’ll never be an Olympic athlete…. But if the “high” that I feel after my modest workout makes me feel amazing….. I can only imagine how out-of-this-world the “Olympic high” must be. It must be part of the reason why people fling themselves down mountains at unimaginable speed; the reason why they throw themselves into the air and twist and turn their bodies in ways that defy gravity; why they place themselves at the mercy of the snow and ice… and why, as an onlooker, it becomes so utterly compelling to watch on the screen.
So to all those taking part in Sochi, I salute you. May you stay safe and continue to inspire us to go that little bit faster, aim that little bit higher, and become a little stronger as we try to become the best that we can be.
With a hug