This semester, I am a new woman. My friend and I, having both suffered relatively recent periods of stagnation and weight gain (me last year, her last semester), have determined to reform our habits. Though I must say that I have been doing a supremely good job of eating healthily, the whole exercise thing has not been my forte. Nor has it ever been. And my friend … well, she’s not so good at either and has always lucked out by having a fast metabolism (until the college lifestyle got to her…).
Anyway, for the first time in either of our lives, we are truly committed to being healthy. We’re eating healthy (working on smaller portions, particularly). Perhaps the most monumental change for both of us, however, is that we’re going to the gym. Every day. I have never in my life actually wanted to go to the gym, but something changed for me, and now I love it! We both do. In fact, not only do we go to the gym, but we get up at NINE to go. Yes. Nine. When I told my dad that, he said, “I’m sorry, I think I misheard. Did you say nine in the morning?!?!” For people who know me, the idea of me getting up early for anything at all is completely ludicrous. Correction: was completely ludicrous.
Not anymore. The gym makes me feel so good that I will sacrifice my usual ten hours of sleep to go early. What has made this huge difference for me? My discovery of a wonderful exercise machine. When I used to think of the gym, I thought “treadmill.” And when I thought “treadmill,” it was always accompanied by a mental “Ahhhhhh!” In case that’s not clear: I hate the treadmill with a passion. So, when my friend introduced me to the elliptical, I was amazed.
It’s an amazing contraption! Really. What’s so nice about it is that it’s easy on your joints. It feels like walking or running on air! There’s no (or, at least, very little) strain on your spine, knees, ankles, and feet, and yet it still provides a strong cardiovascular workout. You can change the resistance without any added pressure on your joints; higher resistances also increase bone density and can decrease the likelihood of osteoporosis.
What else do I like about the elliptical? It provides an upper body workout, too. The machine has levers that move back and forth with the circular motion of your feet, providing the arms with a workout equivalent to the resistance of your legs. I love it. Very much. In case you couldn’t tell. Anyway, I have changed my ways irrevocably, I do believe. As has my friend. For those of you who fear the gym as I did, I encourage you to try. It’s a different experience entirely, in my opinion.
Note to self: “gym” no longer means “Ahhhh.”
Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a sophomore at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.