When Linda told me the story of her first triathlon, she perfectly articulated the importance of reconnecting with happy memories through swimming. If you can tap into past joy, you’ll look forward to your workouts.
My happy exercise secret is Richard Simmons.
During much of my childhood, my mom worked hard to manage her weight. She dieted, she went to a jazzercise class, and she did home workouts along with TV shows and exercise videos. Her prepackaged low-cal meals gave me a lifelong fear of quick-fix diets, but her “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” video tape made me fall in love with Richard Simmons.
Together, when I was preteen, she and I made a pilgrimage to a local mall to see Richard Simmons live on stage. Then, in college, I sweet-talked a friend into driving me to another mall so I could stand in line to get Richard Simmons to autograph his new cookbook for me. I also got my roommates hooked on “Disco Sweat” and other Richard Simmons video workouts. When stress and inactivity got us down, we pumped ourselves up by doing disco hair moves and shaking our booties.
In the technological transition from VCR to DVD player, somehow my Richard Simmons habit got lost; it had been years since I did the rhumba with Richard. But now that I bought myself DVDs, I can’t stop sweatin’! There’s something so uplifting about Richard’s sunny attitude, the wacky dance moves, the happy people of all shapes and sizes, and the great music. I had forgotten how good it makes me feel to hear Richard Simmons say, “I’m so proud of you!” and “Give yourself a hug every day; you deserve it!” The workouts are full of sass, silliness, and compassion so they lift my mood as well as my heart rate. I’m sure exercise endorphins have something to do with it, but I think it’s also just the knowledge that someone as unique, loving, and energetic as Richard Simmons is out there, still working hard every day to get people healthy.
What puts a smile on your face when you exercise?