Sunday, February 27, 2022

Fitness is the Celebration of...

In my celebration of maintenance--being where I want to be on my fitness journey, for now--I have begun to tally a list of markers of fitness for me to note, track, but most importantly, celebrate. I am a highly intentional person, by most accounts, and maintenance-intention is rather dull. Finding new markers of fitness might become a way for me to keep awake, keep myself lively. is being able to go on a five mile run, if you want to. I can already hear a friend's voice in my ear--are you high!?!--and maybe so. But this doesn't need to be a regular event, by any means. Yesterday, I wanted to move but it was cold outside. Nothing inspired me in the downstairs workout area, so I decided to take my running shoes to the indoor track at a local Rec Center. You can use the track for a couple bucks, whenever you want. Hardly anyone was using the track, and I enjoyed a delightful hour on the padded track, tending to running form, stretching and breaking every 1/2 mile or so. I pushed myself a bit at the end, I realized, because FIVE miles?! was within reach. And I walked it off for a bit, went home, and enjoyed an on-plan meal with a couple tv shows after. Fitness is being able to go on a five mile run, if you want to. Didn't require training up to it. The day after hasn't been a sore one. Fit.

As I sat with the notion of fitness is being able to do whatever you want to do, in your own skin, I bumped into a bit of a conundrum. What we want to do in our own bodies is shaped largely by past experience and the sense of possibility/impossibility we feel about it all. Most of us stay in our comfort zones, and create worlds and rationales for why that is, and what we can (or can't) and want (don't want) to do in our own bodies. Those who engage physical movement the least can often have the most narrow assessment of what it is possible for them/their bodies to do. And if they never get curious, as they age, this capability will get narrower and narrower. Most of us don't know what we can do in our own bodies, particularly if we have lived a mostly sedentary life, if movement in our bodies has been associated with pain, shame, failure, or trauma of some kind.

I didn't enter into CrossFit with a goal of jumping on a 20" box, for instance. Didn't even have the desire until recently, when I decided I wanted to challenge myself a little more than I had been. I didn't want to do that particular movement for a long time, so didn't. I assumed that I could not, or that it was simply not safe enough for me to try. Except now I know I can, and can for at least 100 reps. My sense of body-capacity expanded because space was held for me to stretch into More. Now I'm enjoying this sense of fitness, celebrating being able to jump higher on a box than I ever thought I could.

The conundrum can be tender though. Sensitivities and perceived judgments surround fitness in our culture. I was thinking out loud about this idea of fitness--that fitness is being able to do whatever you want to do in your own body--and this problem of measurement in it--that our imagination or assessment of what our bodies can do is totally conditioned by our past, and often more by our fears than actual body capabilities or possibility. I was trying to say what I've begun to learn in myself... When we move less, we have less idea about what our bodies can do. Only when you get curious and try new things can you discover new things your body can do. Right?  Well, I said it badly and landed in a quagmire of sensitivity and judgment, "your values are just different than my values", and more... which bothers me enough to write to learn more about it inside...

What does it require for human beings to get curious about their health, getting engaged in feeling good in their bodies? I know it took me fifty years to finally land in a relationship with food that feels sustainable and healthy. I guess it takes as long as it takes...and every one is empress/emperor of their body domain.

But I don't think fitness can be this being able to do whatever you want to do in your body in our overcultures today. With the various epidemics of diabesity, heart disease, chronic inflammations... and with industrialized, misleading-marketed food supplies, we have a higher and higher majority of population able to do less and less in their bodies. Traditional medicine and big pharma are shifting 'health markers' relying upon increasingly chronically-ill populations. Most of us are less and less experienced in our own bodies' feeling good. We don't even know what it feels like to feel good inside, and so our sense of possibilities and desires for what we want to do grow narrower and narrower. We become less and less curious...

In the end, better to celebrate what we can celebrate... Crafted this way, there need be no sensitivities or judgment at all.

Fitness is celebrating...

being able to go for a five-mile run if I want to

feeling most myself when I'm moving and "playing" in the movement

having all the energy I need to do all I love to do

staying curious about what I love to do AND what I am more afraid to try

leaning into discomforts of new things, in the camaraderie of friends and safely held spaces

maintaining weight and body composition, roughly, with good clean eating

continuously learning within my own and others' experiences...

[Feel free to add wisdom in the comments...!]

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