Some people find the end of winter depressing. I am not one of them.
Wait . . . . What? Form fitting outfits? HORROR!
It's a well known fact that I put on about five pounds in butter weight each winter. I don't worry about it too much. As butter is apt to do, those pounds melt in the heat of summer. Since reaching adulthood, my weight's always yo-yoed a bit - never enough to make my BMI a concern, or even to change my dress size. So each spring, there's a little pudge that needs to be redistributed, or rather, evaporated. It's fine.
But over the last couple years, I've grown lackadaisical in my workouts. Time once spent doing crunches and lifting dumbbells has been reallocated to other pursuits. Since apparently my word of the year is "willpower," I knew getting back in better shape needed to be a goal for 2013.
There were a myriad of factors that lead to me dusting off the dumbbells last week:
At my annual physical earlier this month, the clinic scale displayed a number five pounds heavier than I was expecting, even for a mid-February weigh in;
The shimmy into freshly laundered jeans had become more a "suck in gut and yank";
My knee pain (which comes from having muscles that are too weak to keep my knee where it's supposed to be) flared up slightly last month;
and I'd seen maybe one too many inspirational fitness pins:
So last week I finally stopped pretending that my daily walk to the mailbox and hauling in firewood totally had me covered for cardio and strength training (although both activities certainly weren't hurting with my fitness) and got down and did the gut-busting ab workout I picked up in an issue of Sports Illustrated for Women way back when. (I loved that magazine . . .so much better than today's Prevention and Health, which seem to discuss self-tanner application tips more than they discuss actual female athletes. *sigh*) Then the next day I put myself through a series of upper and lower body exercises.
While displeasure with my body's appearance is usually what prompts me to pick up the weights again, there are so many reasons for women to strength train, besides a better looking body. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week results in a higher metabolism, lessened risk of osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, and better heart health, just to name a few benefits. That's reason enough for me to keep at the old dumbbells even after this pudge is gone. Yet we women tend to gravitate towards power walking and the elliptical machine when we think about getting fit. Cardio's all well and good, but we miss out on a lot if we neglect our weight lifting.
As a member of the girl power generation, I take pride in being strong. It's empowering to be able to open your own salsa jars or pull yourself out of the lake onto a dock with using the ladder. To me, it's worth a bit of sweat equity to stay proud of this body that's my home for my entire life.
So here I go again. Lifting the weights, doing the lunges, crunching the tummy. I'm not stopping until my arms look like this: