I've discovered something interesting already!
Turns out, I like exercise. No, really.
I enjoy the feeling of it, the idea of it, the results of it. I even like the little painful reminders the next day that my poor old muscles have been in disuse for far too long.
What I've been missing all these years is a bit of solitude. Now, those who know me will be thinking to themselves that if there is anything I don't lack its solitude. I am a person who fits squarely into the "loner" category. I have my social moments but overall, I spend a good deal of my time blissfully alone.
The problem is that up until now exercise has for me been inextricably linked with other people. As kids exercise is a collective thing, we join little league teams, have gym with our classmates and play outside with our friends. For me these things were fun for a while, but then just as it is now I have a limited supply of sociability. I enjoy being with friends, but eventually I need to refuel with a little alone time. Give me some space a bit of quiet and a good book and I'll be raring to go again soon enough, but without that time I get irritable and surly and anything associated with forcing me to be sociable before I'm ready becomes something negative.
Now, my parents couldn't very well let me go off for a run by myself, or drop me off at a gym and come back for me in an hour. So, as I got older I began to associate exercise with being with other people, and more sedentary things like reading, writing, watching TV with being alone. Exercise was for when I felt sociable, sedentary things were what I did for myself, for solely my own enjoyment.
And while attitudes have started to change slightly, our society sees being alone a lot, or "anti-social behaviour" as something negative, so even when I was old enough to go off and do things on my own, according to most people the best way to get fit was to join a class, or a running club or find someone to go to the gym with.
But exercise is something I want to do for myself, and it turns out, by myself. I put my earphones on, turn up my best playlist of trance music and tune the rest of world out. The only thing left is me and my body. I listen to my breathing, feel my heart rate increase, feel the sheen of sweat on my forehead and the heat rise to my cheeks, turning my face a cheerful shade of red. It's wonderful. The only thing I don't like is stopping. I want to do more, I want to keep going, but thanks to a nasty experience with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and a story for another day), I know I can't. I am, however, looking forward to training my body up to a point where I can do whatever I want for as long as I want.
I have no doubt there will be times when I am feeling sociable and will want to spend time with friends getting a healthy dose of exercise, but whilst before exercise was something I could only do when I was in the mood, now I've discovered it's something I can do anytime I want.
Who knows, maybe as I get fitter and learn to love exercise even more I'll want to spend all my time hanging out with friends doing something active, but for now its good to know my alone time can be active too.