I did a thing – a podcast where I talked about fitness.
This may not seem that impressive if you don’t know me and my history. And if you follow me on Instagram, I seem to mainly post about my runs/walks/cycles. You’d think I was really into exercise! Trust me – it’s a new-ish thing…
I dropped gym the minute it was allowed in high school.
I didn’t play sports in school. I learned to ride a bike late — apparently flying downhill from our driveway into a passing station wagon when I was nine years old. When I was in primary school, our “gym” was the cafeteria, which meant that during any indoor sports activities, there was always the risk of running into a table.
In Grade 10, I decided to join the synchronized swimming team. I practiced several mornings a week, getting to school at the horrific hour of 7 a.m. to spend an hour in the pool.
When it came time for the team to enter its first competitions, I was politely told (along with my friend Julie, another non-athlete) that our skills were most needed on the sidelines. We were encouraged to come out to support the team, but we would never be entering the water again.
My after school activities were drama classes and flute lessons, it was years before I laced up my running shoes again.
As an adult living on my own after graduating from university, I discovered I was a short subway ride from the local community centre, and its Jane Fonda-style workout classes. I was in my late 20s, working as a freelance writer, and so most weekdays, I hurried down the stairs to the subway, entered the gym and found a spot near the back where I could hide while doing jumping jacks and squats, and doing basic choreography to Donna Summer blasting on the PA system.
Somehow, fitness became a part of my life; I joined other gyms, went to spinning classes, tried pilates, discovered yoga, rode my bike, attempted Zumba, and ran/walked on the treadmill.
Then the pandemic happened. I’d embraced indoor workouts before, doing yoga from a website as I’ve mentioned here on this blog. One winter, we rented a treadmill, but the cost and the room it took in our apartment didn’t make sense on an annual basis.
Just before lockdown, my husband popped my bike on an indoor trainer — it was the most basic of models, but I was hooked.
Flash forward to today, and I’m a virtual cyclist at least two or three times a week, and a couple of nights a week I close my home office door for some privacy so I can do an awkward (for me) dance class on AppleTV, not ready to share just how truly clumsy I am, as I trip over my feet in an attempt to keep up with three very talented dancers on-screen.
I roll out my yoga mat every few days, and head out for walks whenever I can. I lift weights following along with on-line trainers.
My focus has changed; whereas before it was about losing weight, it’s now about my brain, getting up out of my chair and changing my perspective. In fact, since I started working out almost daily, I haven’t lost any real weight. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ve gained more confidence in myself and more calm and peace.
Sure, there’s a bit more planning involved with type 1 diabetes — it’s been a constant learning curve figuring out how to deal with basal rates and pre-exercise food and boluses. And sometimes I screw up; I’ll be in the middle of a ride and suddenly crashing and reaching for the glucose tablet beside my laptop screen. (Let’s be honest, I often forget to put the glucose tablets nearby and instead, stumble into the kitchen looking for a quick fast-acting snack.)
It’s worth it. Yesterday, we drove to a local snow-covered golf course and went snowshoeing. I am not a winter person! But trying something new, getting outside, managing the trek without my blood sugar crashing, it all felt like a victory. Even if today, I can barely walk and my muscles are aching in places I forgot existed.
Is that what sports feels like?
To hear me talk more about my fitness journey, visit: https://www.findingyourbliss.com/radio/2023-01-07-karen-shopsowitz-victoria-lorient-faibish/
(Please remember, I’m not a doctor or an educator. Just a person who has had type 1 diabetes for the past 27 years. Please follow me on instagram at @grownupdiabetes.)