Self-care and resistance training…

At the best gym in the world

This post was supposed to be about why I hate the gym (and why I’m going anyway), but I’ve since decided that it’s actually about self-care – self-care in terms of really looking after yourself. The self-care that’s often overlooked in the name of self-indulgence.

It’s a concept that has kept coming up of late. Debbish referred to an article she’d read in this post late last year, and since then that same article has kept appearing in my feeds.

Have a read of the article – it rang heaps of bells for me. The key message I took away is that true self-care often involves doing the thing that you least want to do:

Sometimes actual self-care, “has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.”

It’s about putting in place those structures that mean you don’t need to escape your life as often as you might need to now. It doesn’t mean that every so often you don’t need to take time out or treat yourself, but rather that you don’t need to do it as often – or at the long-term expense of your health or goals.

I haven’t always disliked the gym…

I used to be quite the addict. You name a class, I’ve done it. I even used to double up – a pump followed by a step or combat…or vice versa. I can still listen to certain songs and will automatically know the steps from the old body step track or the rhythm of the pump track.

I stopped in my early 40s when a combination of injuries, weight gain, work travel, weight gain, work stress, weight gain, and chronic back pain took me away from the routine of classes. Actually, the chronic back pain started after I stopped – and stopped me from starting again.

I still moved. I walked and spent endless boring hours before work on the treadmill and cross trainer. The only time I had to exercise was before work and I decided that if I had to get to the gym by 5 am, I certainly wasn’t going to get up at 4.30 am to do something I disliked before heading to a job I disliked as well.  So, I ignored resistance training – even though I knew that I shouldn’t – and my pain got worse.

As we get older we need to do more resistance training.

Cardio is important, but there’s also that business about bone strength and maintaining muscle mass and how metabolism slows when muscles lose their mass. Yep, it’s technical and it makes my eyes glaze over too.

Aside from those reasons, I personally need to do resistance training to support a wonky back that’s always been wonky but is now more so as a result of too many years of doing too little to help it and too much to hurt it.

While I’m in substantially less pain than I was in Sydney, my spine has structural issues that need to be managed. It’s curved in a couple of places and I’m missing a few ribs and a couple of half vertebrates.  There’s also a couple of healed cracks in there from horse falls…don’t ask.

It’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life and managed relatively successfully until my early 40s – which was, you guessed it when I stopped swimming and resistance training…and when I started putting on (rather than lifting) serious weight.

They say that the best exercise for you is the one that you love…

That’s absolutely true. Regular movement is what’s important.  The problem is, I’ve spent the last 7-8 years doing only the exercise that I enjoy and ignoring what I know will be good for me.

While walking does my mind and my body a heap of good, I know that while it helps, it’s no longer enough on its own to keep my back strong.

That’s why even though I don’t enjoy it, in the interests of self-care, I’m adding resistance training back into my regular routine. I’m continuing to walk in the mornings – that’s non-negotiable – but I’m committing to the gym at lunchtime on at least two of the days I’m doing the corporate gig.

It doesn’t mean I have to like it, but I’m going to try and learn to enjoy it. I have a great playlist that I turn up very loud, and I’m just getting on with it. It’s a tough love thing and, while my mind might rebel today, my body needs it for tomorrow.

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

30 Replies to “Self-care and resistance training…”

  1. Being an adult and parenting ourselves isn’t easy is it, and we do get lots of conflicting messages about what self love is (or isn’t ). I too need to step up my resistance training and I enjoy it when I get back to it. No opportunity here unfortunately, but it’s on my list for when we move. Good luck with it Jo.

  2. Self-care is vital for our wellbeing and peace of mind. Having said that, I’ve been “resisting” going back to the gym for too long. I do love my morning walks, but I also need to do some strength training and toning up of my bingo wings and choccy tummy 🙂 x #TeamLovinLife

  3. Jo
    Thanks for this different perspective of what ‘self care’ also means. It’s not just the ‘treat yourself’ activities and presents, it is also about parenting yourself.
    Glad you’ve found new momentum in your fitness journey.
    SSG xxx

  4. Ahhh yes all so very true. The older we get we DO need to do more resistance and strength training … for all those reasons that make my eyes glaze over too. I’ve done all gym classes and forms of exercise known to mankind…even dating back to aerobics, leotards and leg warmers. I know … I’m that old! *sigh* I love walking like you. I started reformer pilates last year and am ramping it up this year to more often each week PLUS throwing in a weekly strength training class offered at the same place … starting next Friday. Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? Go us! haha xo

    1. I reckon we can compare notes on g-string leotards lol. Grant’s not working again so I don’t want the expense of pilates, otherwise I think I’d be into that too!

    1. I’ve had a few bad falls in my time, but remember the one that cracked my back well – I landed on my back & on a rock. Man, it hurt & Mum made me get back on…no blood, no noise.

  5. I agree! We do need to take better care of ourselves as we get older. Our body is the only one we have so we should look after it. I don’t particularly like the gym either. I really dislike all the reed thin women in their designer lycra with a full face of makeup and a hair not out of place. They always make me feel inferior and not once have invited me to coffee! However I do enjoy doing pilates and body balance classes a couple of times a week and walking most mornings. I think I get heaps of exercise and the pilates is great for resistance work. Keep going with it Jo, I’ve achieved amazing results from doing pilates the past 6 months.

    1. At my old gym in Sydney I used to call them the yummy mummys. They’d pull up in the beemers and mercs & prance about like they owned the place. This gym is more hard core but at the same time more laid back. It’s not fashionable enough for the Buderim cordial mum brigade. Come to think of it, I’ve never been invited for coffee either…what’s with that?

  6. This post resonated with me. Not so much of the exercise but what true self-care is. It is not all about indulgences!
    When I was post cancer-surgery and facing the prospect of ‘what the heck can I eat’ now, a wise person who was my psychologist even before I had the surgery, told me “think of the food you eat as helping to heal you too.”
    I have always tended to be an ‘eat what you like/love’ person and I needed to consider this above view because ‘the body needs it.’
    I did not want to go down the protein drink path (bleurgh) but accepted that even if I did not LOVE some items I could see them as medicinal and as my dietitian in hospital pointed out “yes, you can eat the little cake but value -add to it with a dairy product like custard or yoghurt.
    It has helped me a lot.
    Best wishes with your ventures but gee, get yourself somewhere that the people know BACKS as yours sounds pretty special. D xx

    1. In Sydney, I had a fabulous chiro who I saw monthly. It’s ridiculous but I’d pay him to keep me in alignment & then blame the time out of my week for not being able to do the work for myself. It was like if he was keeping me aligned, I could just keep going with my shocking lifestyle. The way our brains work, hey?

  7. I can relate to every word you said Jo – I hate the gym and the whole sweating thing but I know I need to be doing more than just a morning walk. I’ve invested in a fitbit to try to make myself walk more, but that resistance training thing is something I’m going to have to come to terms with soon (sigh)

    1. It’s small steps, Leanne…the getting your head around it is the biggest challenge I think. Mines not there yet, but we’re getting there.

  8. I need to add some type of resistance training into my routine. I started making a real effort to get healthy in September last year and I’m doing well but I know my age and at least two years of moving very little are working against me.

    1. Why is it that when we need it the most our age works against us? I think it’s nature’s way of telling us that we shouldn’t have ever stopped…well, that’s my theory anyway!

  9. Yay, the message that self care and treating yourself are two very different things, is finally starting to be accepted. Doing the things that we need to do for our health and well being is not the same as giving yourself the occasional treats. Having the confidence to claim that time for myself, is where I and many others fall down. The plan this year is to be up early and walk the mountain, before doing anything else and so far it’s working. Then the next step will be be to get back into regularly using my pilates and yoga dvd’s and do my resistance exercises in the water.

    1. That’s one mighty mountain to walk each morning too. The thing I like best about morning walks – & there’s a lot I love about them – is that no matter what sort of mess your day descends into, you started it with a great big tick.

  10. Ah yes. I’m struggling with the whole “doing the exercise I need to” rather than the “exercise I enjoy” at the moment. I love walking. But while it’s good for me in general terms, it’s not what my body needs right now. So I’m begrudgingly going to the gym and doing stuff I really dislike. I’m trying to create new habits and find a way to bring joy to it so it feels better. Great post Jo #teamlovinlife

  11. Oh yes, that piece really resonated with me as well…

    I’m enjoying pilates because it’s helping me feel stronger. I know I should / could do weights or something but pilates feels like a better option for me at the moment cos logistically it’s easier.

    It’s interesting cos in my blog post I mention I was less in need of the ‘self care’ crutches I’d used in my previous life and I’m a bit worried that I’m heading down that old path again now. Although I do kinda (mostly?) enjoy my new job I’ve spent a lot of sleepless hours thinking about it this past 2wks and waking up thinking about it. And it’s had my emotions yoyoing all over the place.

    The money is great and I do feel more contented in a professional sense but I worry it’s f*cking with my wellbeing a little…. (sorry about epic debrief!)

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