As we sat after a round robin doubles tennis yesterday and asked each other – Why do we love tennis ? It is clear that in this countdown to New Years Resolutions, exercise is always top of the list. I see the overpacked parking lot in Jan and the scurry of reception staff in the change room as people cannot remember their lock combinations and wonder why in 2 months the rush will be over and same ones remain. How can we change that? Exercise is as good as a drug but it is much harder work. It has been proven that it decreases risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease and evidence-based studies show it improves mood, improves stamina and I think there is a component of mental determination that comes from fighting through exhaustion that can serve us well in our emotional challenges. So exercise is on my list too for 2013 and my hand arthritis is really challenging but keeping the list reminds me – that’s what we have to do, hard work needs motivation:
The list came pouring out of my head….
Comrades – show up because they came out to play with you
Book exercise –no excuses when it is booked
Try – try your best, you will keep getting better
Clear mental chaos – you can’t hit the ball if there are other thoughts in your mind
Mathematical challenge – the ball doesn’t just go back and forth – it is not just a lucky hit or miss – there is set up and strategy , your mind recalculating and adjusting
Fitness – singles is an exhausting game: – cross train with purpose - weights, elliptical and pilates - that’s the only way not to get injured
Friends – devoted, a family of friends – a social sport
Self esteem – we all need to feel important, being in a sport where you matter is a great feeling.
Confidence – challenge yourself – you may be surprised if you work out how to get a point and win. Celebrate even the smallest successes
Perseverance - you have to want it to push yourself hard - that is infectious
Go there - working out in the presence of others has so many benefits. You stay longer, are less distracted by other tasks and social connections are so important. The readiness to exercise is booked and reserved when you go.
Happiness – all those endorphins – Dopamine, Serotonins serve you well when you get home and deal with kids
Catharsis – whack out your frustrations, leave them on the court – man, that is a great feeling!
Attitude – know that even when the chips are down, that you are not winning, it is always one point at a time – just focus in front of you. It keeps you coming back with fighting attitude because you have to believe you can do it.
Dedication – be there. Period. Keep to your word – its your reputation. Then you are invited back
Humbleness – there’s always more to learn – keep practicing.
Time – there’s always someone who will play in those crazy hours after work, whenever you can grab an hour – find the time, you work it in when it is booked
Work out to great music – spirit run is the playlist on my shuffle. Sweat !
Give back – get fit and give back – at first I walked then I realized I could run – Run for the Cure, Terry Fox, Hospital fundraisers – not too far, stay in your fitness category, it is not about winning, it is about doing.
Staying in the moment - just for a moment, nothing else matters. The phone, the pager, the schedule. Just now is a sweet place.
Supportive family – be a role model and do exercise together – share the enthusiasm, it’s infectious.
Priorities – make it one – I am grumpy without my dose of exercise.
Treat yourself – I have fancy soaps for the after-exercise shower – that’s worth it.
Do what you love, love what you do – that includes exercise.
Grateful – these are the people who stand by you when cancer strikes and celebrate new life when treatment ends, see you beyond a scarf and believe you will play again after every chemo round….
That’s worth keeping, keep exercise on our list this 2013.
At 47, I was diagnosed with simultaneous bilateral invasive breast cancers. My world as a busy mum and doctor was in a tailspin as I underwent bilateral mastecomies, reconstuction, node sampling then axillary dissection, chemo then hysterectomy after significant BRCA mutation results. I then helped family members through BRCA testing and the difficult decisions. I made positive thinking cards to help me out of every hardship, push me forwards. Finding balance is hard after breaking my arm twice since then - I have difficulty with the slow down part! I am so grateful to be back at work, able to help people through the emotional side that comes with cancer - from Both Sides.