The Forest Gump Theory

6 Apr

I spent the first 24.5 years of my life, audibly at times, claiming, “I am not a runner.”  I guess technically I am still not a runner, so much as I am a jogger.  But, I am closer to being a runner now than I ever have been, and I get closer, yet, every day.

First, as a Christian, I believe that our words have power, and I greatly wish I had not spent so many years claiming something like that over my life.  Second, how did I know that I was not a runner, since I had really never tried.

I’m sure I ran as any child did, initially, but when I started to feel self-conscious about my weight, at a very young age, I avoided any and all activity wherein I may experience failure or look stupid because of my weight. So, I stopped running.

I was not exposed to many choices, for various reasons.  I played volleyball, but did not enjoy the pressure of a team come game time.  I was a cheerleader for a few years, but could have been much better if I had been healthier.  Outside of that short time period, I was relatively inactive. By the time I was 16 I was not involved in any form of exercise for the next 6-7 years. (I did join the tennis team once, but that was a short-lived failure.  Even today, no tennis for me.)

So here is my theory, and this is just a theory, if we never stop running then we would continue to be able to run.  I use running, because that is what I am focusing on right now.  In reality, I imagine it is the same for biking, hiking, skiing, water skiing, or any other activity. If we involve ourselves in something active that we truly enjoy, then we are likely to continue.

It is so important that we expose children to as many activities as possible, so that they find one that keeps them feeling motivated to stay active. We must enable them, not pressure and overfill their schedules, but enable them by creating an atmosphere in our homes where living an active lifestyle is the norm and the expectation.  Not every child will want to do the same activity, and that is ok, but being active should not be optional.  As adults, we must set the precedent, so it is important for us to search out new activities as well.

I know it is scary, trust me! I was terrified to jog on a treadmill… I thought I would look stupid (I pretty much do)… maybe it would quit working and I would fly off… maybe I would trip… In fact, once I did almost fly off.  My sister, Christina, got to see it. We both laughed about it, she a little sooner than I.

The reality is that with any risk there is the potential for reward.  I try new activities all of the time now, because I want to find new ones to enjoy.  I never want to become sedentary again, and I want to make exercise as seamless with my every day life as possible.

So, I will continue to run.  But I refuse to wear sweatbands or grow a beard.

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3 Responses to “The Forest Gump Theory”

  1. Margaret April 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I, for one, am glad that you will not be growing a beard.

    • weightsandmeasures April 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      Me too. It would get in the way, always contain crumbs, and probably be smeared with pb.

  2. Christina April 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    I am proud of you for running. And, am SO glad that the family I married into puts such an emphasis on being active…and that all of the nieces and nephews are now so involved in it!! I look forward to being able to incorporate my own children into those traditions!! (I am also glad that Jesse’s family has so impacted our family!!!)

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