Truthfully, I have not always been an active person. Hard physical exercise was not something I would have voluntarily signed up for in my younger years.
I was a couch potato for most of my childhood and adolescence. I look back at that now with no small amount of regret.
My proper introduction to exercise happened when I was in my twenties. I took a kung fu class at varsity. What prompted me to start after so many inactive years were reasons both good and arbitrary but ultimately unimportant. The mental gearshift that occurred, however, was important.
To say I struggled was an understatement. I was not conditioned; I was not particularly gifted as a mover nor particularly body aware.
Somehow, for some reason, I persisted, it clicked with me. It was still hard for a long time. I got a little bit better. Slowly. It never became easy but the phase of feeling completely disembodied and incompetent passed. I learnt to enjoy the challenge instead of dreading it. Was it because I got stronger physically? Almost certainly but I also learnt to be okay with being terrible at something. That was the mental gearshift. It didn’t matter that I was truly terrible at something it no longer demotivated me. Where you hit the biggest hurdles are where the greatest changes happen and where you learn the most. And it’s impossible not to improve with persistence. Somehow through my martial arts training, my stubborn streak was refined into discipline, tenacity and willpower. Today I have those traits in bucketloads. Those traits have served me well not only in Kung fu but in life.
This whole journey affected me so profoundly it caused a career shift. I studied Pilates and have dedicated many moons to being a Pilates instructor. I have never looked back. My Pilates training and teaching has been no less impactful on me physically and as a person. It tempered my discipline and willpower with more patience, maturity, awareness and restraint.
Because I got a later start in life with this journey than most I am extremely passionate about the fact that you can start a lifestyle change at any age and that through determination and perseverance you can achieve amazing things. What you achieve may not be what you originally had in mind, but it will almost certainly be better.
Your experience with exercise will be different from mine as we are all individual however the gifts that movement will give you will be profound and enduring. Push through the initial phase where you may not feel like you know w
hat you are doing and where it seems like you will never get any better. That phase passes. I will also say you will come around to that phase again. Persist. It will change your life. I say this with 100 conviction from a place of experience. So, find the form of exercise that resonates with you and stick with it.