All my life I've been a pretty active person. I had some weight concerns after we moved to New Mexico, staying all summer in a motel while our home was finished. There wasn't much to do but eat, and I gained some weight (about five or so pounds) that made me a bit plump.
The weight was gone before going off to college, only to reappear in the first few months of my dorm-life freshman year of eating cafeteria food.
When I appeared for Christmas in Las Cruces, my mother wasn't happy. I wasn't happy either, vowing to be rid of it. I did, but it was hard and took learning some better eating habits. It would've been easier if I'd realized that exercise would help, too.
In the '50s, girls' sports teams were practically unheard of, gym class was a joke and exercising wasn't really something we thought of formally doing. Seemed like if we weren't cheerleaders, the only exercise we ever got was chasing boys.
No one ever yelled, "Let's go for a jog." It was more like, "Let's go get pizza!"
Girls were expected to wear dresses and skirts to school and sneakers were not de rigueur outside a gym. Instead, we wore little flats that made blisters on our heels. In the winter we'd be walking with bare legs, freezing to death.
In 1959, when I went off to Brigham Young University, pants on women weren't allowed on campus. That changed during the '60s, as did many views on girls playing sports. Now my granddaughters have ample opportunity to play soccer or tennis, and jog or go to the gym regularly.
While living in Salt Lake City, I did learn to ski. When we moved to Connecticut, I took up tennis and did some running but left the gym to my husband. The smell of a gym was like coffee for him every morning.
People look back at the past as being wonderful. But regarding exercise opportunities for women, life is much better now.
When we moved back to Provo, a diagnosis of osteoporosis got me to the gym.
I both hate it and I love it. Through trial and error I did find, like Marsha Doble the fitness expert advised, "I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing."
If I don't get up, eat a banana then walk out the door, my day will take over and good intentions will go by the wayside. Every morning it's hard leaving my warm bed, but after working out I can feel those endorphins rushing to my brain.
There are some anonymous funny jokes about not exercising like, "I don't exercise at all. If God meant for us to touch our toes he would have put them further up on our body."
Though I can laugh at these jokes, the only one I truly agree with is, "The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier."
When we get together with friends anymore, the talk goes to the aches, creaks and operations we have experienced. Face it, if one makes it to 70, we're looking down a barrel of a gun. Our bodies won't get any younger even with intervention. So why not be as fit as possible for the shape we're in?
How I wish I'd known how rewarding and fun exercising could be all those years ago. And boy, a good pair of sneakers to walk the college campus instead of those silly little flats would've been swell.
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