fitness · holidays

Thanks-giving to physical activity

Today is Thanksgiving in the US. This holiday has a rosy mythology and a horrendous actual history. But here it is, and I’d like to take a moment to give thanks to the activities that make me happy and feel good, offer me social connections and time in nature, that test me and challenge me, and release stress and provide peace– peace in mind and body.

Thank you, cycling, for all the opportunities to move under my own power through space, rolling along roads and paths and trails. You remind me that my legs are strong, that my lungs can work hard, and that I can steer myself through life in very fine fashion as long as I keep my tires pumped and chain lubed (and preferably a friend whose wheel I can draft!)

Pata and me this summer, caffeinated and ready to resume our Friday coffee ride.
Pata and me this summer, caffeinated and ready to resume our Friday coffee ride.

Thank you cross country skiing, for giving me entry into magical snowy woods and fields. The quiet of winter is the perfect environment for gliding along on my skis, listening to the sound of my own breathing. I didn’t grow up with snow, so my snow-age still feels about 12; I get so excited to go out there that I will wake up and bound out the door early to take advantage of fresh snow.

Me in 2016, at a meadow near my house. Hoping for snow this winter...
Me in 2016, at a meadow near my house. Hoping for snow this winter…

Thank you weight lifting– we don’t know each other so well yet, but I got a chance this year to spend a little time learning how much you have to teach me about me. I always thought water was my element, but I think I need to expand it to include iron. Let’s make a date to get together and explore our continuing relationship in 2020, okay?

Of course that's not me, but we all have our aspirations (from unsplash).
Of course that’s not me, but we all have our aspirations (from unsplash).

Thank you squash (the racket sport, not the vegetable)– we have been together off and on since I was 21. You are definitely high-maintenance– I have to find courts and partners and times to enjoy you, and it’s not always easy. And once all those things are in place, you still ask a lot of me. My ankles and knees have lodged complaints, but you are still special to me. I learned a lot about competition– how hard it is to win and how easy it is to lose– from you. You gave me tough love, but love comes in many forms, and I appreciate yours.

Competition from 2014. Lost in game 5...
Competition from 2014. Lost in game 5…

Thanks swimming and scuba– one of you is a steady life-long love, and the other a passing (if too expensive) fling. You both offer me immersion in another element– water.

A big thank you goes to walking and hiking and playing around with friends and family. I’m grateful to be able to enjoy companionship and movement in so many ways that provide pleasure and satisfaction and occasions for silliness.

My last and biggest thank you this year goes to yoga. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you! Together we work through stress, anxiety, exhaustion, recovery from injury, healing from illness, and strengthening for all the other movements I do. Most of all, you help me come to know what state my body is on any given day, and prescribe some movement or stillness for that state. You know me better than I know myself. Thank you, yoga.

Ropes yoga class, warrior 2 pose.
Ropes yoga class, warrior 2 pose.

Readers, what sport or activity or movement are you feeling thankful for these days? I’d love to hear what you have to share on this day.

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