Exercise

My art teacher today taught us a round of Tai Chi (I keep saying that, it was something else closely related to Tai Chi) and it got me thinking that maybe at least a small part of my problems with exercising come from lacking a comprehensive plan. I’m starting to think that “training one’s body” really involves three things.

First, there’s strength training. I’m not particularly concerned with being “built,” but this applies even if all you’re doing is cardio. The idea is to make yourself strong and build endurance.

Second, there’s flexibility training. Daily stretches and such to keep the body loose and limber. In some ways, as I understand it, this is to balance out strength training, which tends to make you stronger but less flexible as well.

Finally, the sort of exercise that you receive from something like Tai Chi. I’m not exactly sure what to call that yet. Whether you ascribe a spiritual, metaphysical, or purely psychological meaning to it, there is certainly something going on. The best way I can describe it is this; Every day, we live in a frenetic, fast-paced world. As a result, we all tend to be full of nervous energy that we don’t even realize we have. Yet try to stand still for a minute; chances are, you will start fiddling your thumbs, playing with your hair, rock back and forth, countless things. These very slow, deliberate exercises allow a calmer energy (my teacher accurately compared it to magnetism) to suppress this nervous energy. I felt it trying to bubble up frequently – twitches, giggles – but as the time went on, it was possible to become more and more relaxed, grounded.

I’m starting to feel that any exercise plan I could feel was worth doing would have to address all three points. Of course, I’m still lazy, so we will see. In the meantime, I hope that my teacher goes through more Tai Chi with us.

Go out and try something new!

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