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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Exercise Does give Energy

When I was in high school I played on both the basketball and hockey varsity, rode my bike everywhere and then made the hockey varsity as a freshman in college. As a second year novice I coached all the sports for the high school and junior high. I loved coaching. However, I think the sixty-four years since my vows have not included exercise. When I retired, at age 80, I joined a gym and took a silver sneakers class. I was the only non-Hispanic in the class. Then I found Paradise Gym with a very active class where I actually managed to get down and (even more of a miracle) up from the mat. The gym became Club X but I stayed even though the class was now $40 a month but so much fun and convenient. I also made the 12:05 Mass everyday going straight from the gym. I found the exercise gave me more energy, at least until after lunch. Then, on sunny days, I spend a half hour in our pool.
Now, I am again allowed to exercise. Since I am still in isolation, I cannot go to the "armchair exercise" video at 2:30 each day, but I am allowed to go use the two machines that help strengthen my legs and arms. I try to do an hour of exercise each morning and I am finding it renews me in many ways. It is contemplative as I am alone. I watch the squirrels; we seem to have an entire colony of young ones who play tag and hide-and-go-seek and never seem to tire. I return to my room feeling at peace and content. After lunch I take a walk. Actually, I try for two 20 minute walks a day now that I am stronger. I am not a walker and would prefer to be swimming in our pool in Miami, but one adapts and the grounds are beautiful. I just am so grateful that I am able to walk.
This was not a spiritual blog but I guess one of the things I have learned in these months of isolation is the importance of exercise for mental health as well as physical. When I entered religious life at nineteen, one of my Jesuit cousins told me: "Eat well, sleep well, and play well and you will pray well."

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