Some of you may remember that I created a mindful exercise routine for myself in an effort to make fitness a regular part of my life. The thought was that if I made it as simple yet fulfilling as possible that I would be less apt to abandon it as we fickle humans are apt to do.
If you don’t remember, well, move along, nothing to see here…
If you do, suffice it say that my routine has been more sporadic than I’d care to admit of late. I have my excuses, of course (I’ve been sick, it’s been too hot, blah, blah, blah…) but the reality is that I simply haven’t been doing the work.
I’m not particularly embarrassed or ashamed to admit this. It happens to the best of us. We make resolutions of improvement and, whether we achieve them or not, we’re only as successful as what we decide to do today and tomorrow.
With that in mind, I laced up the running shoes and set out on my first run in several weeks. I stretched as I normally do. I put the earbuds in, queued up one of my exercise playlists and hit the pavement.
That’s not a metaphor.
Literally, I tripped on who knows what – an uneven lip of concrete, a tuft of grass, an invisible pebble – and pitched forward. I almost righted myself and then… boom. Scraped up both knees enough to draw blood, scuffed up my hands and, yes, bruised my pride.
There’s, of course, the obvious lesson here about perseverance, and I capitalized on the teaching moment by showing off the wounds to my kids and boasting that I got up, dusted myself off and ran a couple of miles anyway, bleeding knees and all.
But for us “grown-ups,” I think there’s a more relevant moral to the story. Just like riding a bike, we really do never forget how to do certain things once we’ve learned them. Yet just because we remember how to do something doesn’t mean we’re done with the learning. Nor does it mean we’ll do it the exact same way every time. And no matter how many times we might do it, if we’re not mindful of the task at hand – in my case, attuned more to my actual steps than my checklist of to-do’s or the cool car I just passed or whatever else is grabbing my attention as I run – then there’s every chance we could trip ourselves up and land hard on the ground.
I guess now might be a good time to give myself a little refresher on mindful exercise, eh? At least, after I dig out the Neosporin and Band-Aids.