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Fitness Friday: Gateway Exercise

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There are many people out there who simply dread the idea of exercising. I believe that with the right type of exercise (a “Gateway Exercise” so to speak) and an open mind, people can discover their own passion for exercise. For those of you who have been to Hilton Head Health while I have been here, you have probably noticed that I love my job. I think it is possibly the greatest job in the world, or at least it is for me. I absolutely love that I get to be active as a part of my paying work day. A stressful day at work quickly becomes less stressful when I get the rush of endorphins coursing through my veins after a 50 minute treading class. I have more energy, my mind is more focused, and I am able to manage stress in a seemingly perfect way. Not only that, but I get to share these experiences with guests from all over the world. However, my love of exercise was not always existent. In fact, there was a time in my life when the thought of exercise was a dread to me as well. It was not until I found an exercise that I do love, my gateway exercise, which I started to notice myself enjoying others as well.

Throughout middle school and high school the most physical activity that I ever got was during football season. Not because I was an all-star football player or anything, but because I played the Tenor Saxophone in the high school marching band. “You were in the marching band, David?!”… Heck yes I was! In order to have effective performing posture, the core has to be engaged at all times. Not only that, but we easily exceeded the daily recommendation of 10,000 steps per day during our 2 hour rehearsals. Don’t get me wrong, in a fitness contest we would lose BIG TIME to a football player, but it was still a physically demanding activity that kept us moving. Not only that, but the marching band was fun. I have always enjoyed a good melody; what a better way to get exercise in my life than to combine it with something else I enjoy.

When I look back on it, as silly as it sounds, the marching band was my Gateway Exercise. It got me used to moving more than I usually do. It got me used to being on a regular schedule with a physical activity. It got me excited to improve my physical capabilities so that I could perform better as a musician. Eventually I hit a point when I was getting sick and tired of feeling so scrawny and weak just from holding the Saxophone. That’s when I started to adopt a strength training routine so that I could bulk up a little bit (plus I figured I would have a better shot at being noticed by the ladies as well). One of my marching band buddies became my weight lifting partner. We would go to the high school weight room after classes at least 4 days a week for about 5 months. I was so motivated when I realized how quickly my strength was increasing. Heavy weights quickly became my new favorite form of exercise! I loved it so much that I decided to sign up for the summer football training bootcamp my senior year of High School. This is when I started to realize that, mentally, I was changing drastically. I joined a football bootcamp with no intentions of playing football. The bootcamp itself was fun enough for me. One year before this, I would have laughed at the idea of doing a bootcamp… especially just for fun! This bootcamp involved a whole lot of conditioning and a whole lot of elevated heart rate. The best part of it all is that my physical stamina and capabilities in the marching band my senior year was amazing compared to the years previous.

Now, not only did I love moving more, but I also loved heavy lifting and interval training. In fact, I loved them so much that I decided to go on and study Exercise Science in college.  So, let’s take a step back; because of my Gateway Exercise, I became open to other forms of activity. Even some that I remember hating in the past like jumping rope. It’s amazing how much the realm of possibilities open up when an open mind comes in contact with a Gateway Exercise. All of a sudden, being active is no longer a barrier to your every day life, rather, a natural part of it instead. I was fortunate to realize the marching band as my Gateway Exercise. What will yours be?

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