By Jenna Fitzgerald | Copy Editor
I’m many things: a puzzle connoisseur, a cat mom, a defender of Hallmark Christmas movies, a crochet aficionado, a “Judge Judy” superfan and a lover of all things sage green. Until a few months ago, though, this list of curious quirks had another tacked onto the end of it — one I’m not the most proud of — couch potato.
Despite coming from a family of fit medical professionals, I never seemed to be able to find a sport or an exercise routine that I enjoyed. My parents were regulars at the YMCA, my oldest brother did daily yoga and my other brother was an avid rock climber. Meanwhile, the extent of my physical activity was walking to class and choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, and I ended each day feeling judged by the number of steps my health app had recorded for me. Put simply, I was unfit, and I was unhappy about it. The problem, though, is when you’re out of shape and inexperienced, you have no idea where to start, and you’re daunted by every option that lies before you.
This semester, I took the plunge — albeit because of a combination of scheduling issues and misinterpreted jokes. An open slot on my registration plan led me to sign up for 8 a.m. yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and a sarcastic comment to my friend about us becoming “running buddies” somehow ended with us going on 7:30 a.m. runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the span of just a few weeks, I went from never exercising and staying in bed until 10 a.m. to exercising almost every day and being out of my room just after sunrise. A couple days ago, I even signed up to do the Sic ‘Em 6K, which is happening alongside the Bearathon on March 19. The truth is, when you’re out of shape and inexperienced, there’s no good place to start — all that matters is that you start somewhere.
To make sure your newfound physical activity is more than just a phase, find ways to keep yourself accountable. With registration coming up, sign up to take a lifetime fitness course next semester; at the very least, your grade will serve as motivation to get out and be active. If you decide to try building this routine on your own time, then have a friend journey alongside you; you can’t make up an excuse for why you’re bailing on today’s exercise if your friend is waiting for you outside. Remember that there’s no time like the present to start, and it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day for you to decide to prioritize yourself and your health.
Happiness is built on habits, and before you can find joy in exercise, you have to have the dedication to push through the initial phase of low motivation, poor stamina, sore legs and general exhaustion. I may still be fairly unfit, but I’m most definitely not a couch potato anymore. It’s time for everyone to make the switch from the couch to a 6K.