Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: jog for 3 mins; walk 90 secs; jog 5 mins, walk 2.5 mins; jog 3 mins; walk 90 secs; jog 5 mins.
I get up early in the morning to do my C25K workouts, partly because it’s cooler then and partly because there are fewer people on the track. I do not like other people to see me exercising.
I refused to do any exercise apart from walking until I was a 24-year-old graduate student. I only began for vanity-related reasons: I had grown into my adult body and realized that it wasn’t as naturally thin as I’d thought it was.
I decided to start going to the university gym because it was free for students. It took several weeks of procrastination and agonizing even to get started. It was hard even to enter the building. My hands were shaking so much that I dropped my student ID card as I tried to swipe myself through the barrier. I was terrified and sure that everyone was staring at me, judging me, and making fun of me.
In reality, they probably weren’t. But when you feel you don’t belong, reality is irrelevant.
Last week, in “P.E. Trauma and Music Trauma,” I blogged about starting the Couch to 5K program even though I thought I couldn’t run. Doing something like C25K might not sound like a big deal to most reasonably fit adults, but it was to me because of a few adverse childhood experiences with running.
One line from the post, “It’s OK to be bad at this for a while,” struck a chord with readers. I had several lovely emails saying that this was a major “aha!” moment. Some were from former P.E.-haters, but many more were people who had been told in childhood that they “weren’t musical” or “couldn’t sing.” Some said they never fully realized how not OK this was until they read my post. One said she hadn’t been able to sing to her children because of being shamed for out-of-tune singing.
I’m bad at just about every sport. This certainly due in part to lack of effort. In a larger part, however, it’s due to feelings of loathing for it since having unpleasant childhood experiences in P.E. classes.
I’ve read a lot about the trauma associated with physical education. In some ways it’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in my experiences. In others, it makes me sad to think that a subject with the potential to bring health, joy, and longevity often creates emotional and physical anguish instead.
I’m not saying all P.E. teachers are awful, but there are serious problems with the way P.E. is often taught.