Besides knowing we (the Birke) can produce a small patch of snow from snowguns for the first time ever, I believe the Women’s Weekend of fun and fitness positively address universal concerns held by many women. As we desire to regain or remain fit around family and career demands, reasons why maintaining a consistent fitness routine remains elusive and touch on the following (I speak mainly for women in their 40’s and beyond):
1) Too busy! We have careers to do well. Kids to worry about or drive about. Home to keep warm and inviting plus all the other volunteer and zillions of other responsibilities we heap on ourselves on a daily, almost hourly basis.
2) Out of shape and butt looks fat. We perceive ourselves as the minority that feel Lycra is not our friend. With little free time to train in the past we are now seriously out of shape and out of confidence to start now.
3) Waning motivation. Lack of desire and drive to push us out the door - to “move’ - feeds on lack of free time and insecurity about about how we look.
4) Bad weather excuses. Reasons to do anything but exercise abound when the desire is not there. For sure, cold, wind, snow or even heat creates many reasons not to exercise outside. Lethargy seeps in when icky weather extends for more than a few days. Creativity and effort to discover different types of exercise to meet variable weather conditions and to dress appropriately for it (and there are many specialty outdoor stores to help you!) falls thru the excuse cracks.
5) “Comparison is the Thief of Joy”. Roosevelt’s quote is a favorite of Lynne Cecil’s and mine. Comparison to others often stifles action. Believing we are not very good in sport and fear we will be at the end of an event keeps us from participation and exercise.
Why the Women’s Ski Weekend erases many of these worries and how we can continue to apply exercise motivation to everyday life?
We realize most of us share the same fears in varying degrees and doing nothing, is not the answer. The Women’s Ski Weekend kicks off by making time for every woman to introduce themselves and say WHY they made the effort to join. For most? “We cannot learn from our husbands, we want to become more fit, we are anxious about our competency, yet we want to learn and enjoy winter”. The weekend take-away? Nobody cares how fit one another is, or how coordinated. The fun for everyone is to share in the laughter of trying, the openness of sharing universal worries and the support of helping one another. Self-consciousness about one’s bodies and abilities lesson.
Rid excuses and enjoy the fruits of commitment. We will ski or dryland train, whatever the weather, snow or lack of it. Everyone knows we are going outside; everyone discusses the best
way to layer clothing and proper equipment to bring. The group also knows schedules will be adjusted to meet everyone’s abilities for outside activity, and that not facing the ‘weather’ or subcoming to the desire to remain indoors is not an option. Yet on the flipside, no one will freeze or be left behind. The result? Confidence that We Can Do It. Challenging the elements, overcoming laziness, putting fitness first or at least in high priority with other goals creates positive results.
To remind oneself of all the fun and health rewards to be gained by making effort to exercise is key. By developing a habit of stepping out of usual, perhaps too comfortable ‘life’ routines and stretching one’s limits in big and small ways, is a lesson to be learned and practiced often. All the women who show up to ski and to put other family / work responsibilities aside to enjoy an unusually active weekend, discover a great feeling of personal satisfaction. Of course, wine, chocolate and homemade bake goods help, but their taste improves hugely when consumed after vigorous exercise and not out of guilt or frustration.
I firmly believe all effort to go outside and exercise will be rewarded in more ways than a Birke ski article can count. Moving consistently for 20 min or more, a minimum of every other day despite all objections to time, weather or any other excuse the lazy portion of our minds can conjur, will make us more confident, more productive and most importantly, happier.