Exercise: Some motivation required
Nancy Jo Tubbs

On some days the thought of clambering into workout sweats to step up on a treadmill or lacing up the boots to head out for a hike in the snow inspires me to the heights of procrastination. Suddenly, it seems imperative to organize the garage or start the delightful job of year-end taxes.

I envy those friends who are inspired to strap on skis and forge head-first into snowy gale force winds. When I make it to the gym, I find the regulars pumping weights that I would need to call a friend to help me lift. The rest are jogging—not walking, mind you—actually pumping with ferocity on the StairMaster, a forced trot that would have my thighs whimpering in a minute.

I not only admire those exuberantly skiing, pumping, anvil-lifting folks, I wonder what makes them tick? I’ve heard rumors of such things as endorphins. But, mind you, I had to look up the spelling of the word, and I’m not sure I’d know an endorphin if I met one in the locker room.

I’m a 20-minute-mile treadmill girl. In the summer, I’m a walker with Nordic poles in the soft evening light, ideally with a vibrant sunset glowing over one shoulder. I plan to pick up a free-weight soon. Maybe a three-pounder or something with a one on it.

That’s why I was jazzed to hear that Studio North was going to offer a weight-lifting class where I knew the teacher would have a starter-option for the weak-of-will-and-stamina, such as me

And then I learned that my old friend, Local Motion, was back in town, sponsored by Ely Community Education (ECE) and coordinated by Betty Firth. If there’s anything that will get me to hop into the sweats or lace up the boots, it’s doing a mile for the team. I noticed my propensity for team spirit in the summer of 2010 when Local Motion was first sponsored in the area by the Community Health Council. I signed up and recruited a team immediately, then loyally put in my 10 or 20 miles a week with the Nordic walking poles. A young woman on the team kept our total exercise numbers up by bicycling, sometimes several times a day, around Shagawa Lake on Hwy. 88 and back through Ely.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Local Motion is a program that individuals or teams of friends, co-workers or competitive strangers can sign up for, set an exercise goal and then ski, dance, swim, clean house like a whirling dervish, do yoga or tai chi, jump rope, walk or otherwise work out to accumulate an equivalent of miles covered per week. ECE is offering the program during February this year, with sign-up options at http://classes.elymn.com or at the introductory session at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Washington Elementary, Room 18. Weekly prize drawings and grand prizes for various accomplishments (most anvil-weight lifted?) will be awarded at the end of the month.

Prizes will motivate some, as team spirit gets my juices flowing, and others show up for the endorphin boost. Some of us want to lose weight and others are pondering the overall health effects of exercise. These days, one can’t tune into any kind of media without hearing that exercise is vital to our heart, mood, brain power, and every body part down to the lining of our blood vessels.

Seriously, give a minute’s thought to the endothelium. And, yes, I had to look up that spelling, too. Minnesota’s own Mayo Clinic put out the alert recently that it’s important to exercise so that the thin lining of our veins and arteries stays vibrant. This little-considered body part helps the blood vessels constrict and relax and regulates the delivery of nutrients within tissues, to list just a few particulars of its life-saving job description.

The Mayo folks reassure us that it’s never too late to keep the endothelium lush and vibrant by getting regular exercise. Guys ages 50 to 76 who had been even lazier than I am were studied as they adopted regular aerobic exercise, and their blood vessels regained the ability to dilate.

You probably know that regular exercise is also important for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding or controlling diabetes, reducing high blood pressure and managing cholesterol. All this in 30 minutes a day for five days a week. The Local Motion folks encourage you to “Do it for you.”

You have your own favorite motivators like Weight Watchers, local gyms and diet groups, friends who show up for the morning walk and commitments to New Year resolutions. Or maybe you need a new motivator, like Local Motion, to help you get regular exercise.

Should you step up and step out to “Do it for you” in 2013? The short answer is “Yeah.” The long answer is “Heck, Yeah.”

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