I used to think that exercise meant running, aerobics, strength training, and all of those other high intensity activities. But now, at the age of 61, I have come to realize that exercise can involve so many other things. I have always been a walker(a brisk walker) and I still walk at least 3-4 days a week. I wanted to add another type of exercise that would help build my upper body strength. I have never had upper body strength. I remember that in high school we had to do the Presidential physical fitness test. I did really well on all of the tests that didn’t involve using my upper body. I couldn’t even do one push-up, I could only hang on the bar for three seconds, and trying to do a pull up was a joke.
I knew that I didn’t want to go to the gym and lift weights so I decided to join a women’s bowling league. Now for many of you I am positive you don’t associate bowling with a way to build upper body strength. After all, how much strength does it take to throw a bowling ball down the lane? For me it takes a lot. I can only use a 12 lb. ball and by the time I have bowled 3 games my arms are exhausted. I am finding that they are less tired now that I have been bowling for 8 months. I can actually throw the ball hard enough so that every once in a while(not often) I can actually get at least one strike. That’s not one strike in a game; that’s one strike in 3 games.
The nice thing about bowling in a league is that it is fun. Well, the game isn’t always fun but the women I bowl with make it fun. We laugh constantly about how bowling is a mystery game–you never know what’s going to happen.
I guess my point is that exercise is exercise. It comes in many forms and there are health benefits to each type of exercise. Do I get the same health benefits from bowling that I get from walking? No! But, I get the health benefit of building my upper arm strength, of laughing, and of spending time sharing with others. Bowling gets me out of the house and gets me moving. Isn’t that what exercise is supposed to do?
I am not a very good bowler but I am a better bowler than I was at the beginning of the season. How good I am doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I am exercising. Find an exercise that you enjoy doing. You don’t have to be good at it. If you enjoy the exercise you have chosen you will be more likely to stick with it. What do you like to do that gets you moving? Horseshoes? Croquet? Badminton? As they say, “Just Do It”.