Tuesday, 12 July 2011

More and more

I have a few fitness related goals:

35 To run in and finish a 10 Kilometre race
50 To be able to swim 10 lengths of a normal sized pool
54 To double my lung capacity
98 To weigh 10 stone – mostly muscle

I hadn’t noticed before but ten crops up quite a lot in these. A nice round number – 10 Kilometres; 10 lengths; 10 stone. I am fortunate to have hovered around 10 stone most of my adult life. The lowest I weighed was around 9 stone after my first year in Central Asia.

10 stone, or around 63 Kilos has been my ideal weight. I last weighed myself at 10 stone in my late teens when I worked out several times a day and ate everything in sight. As a child I had always been small and skinny. The working out was an attempt to put some muscle on that tiny frame.

I reached a point where I was content with my fitness. I had muscles, nothing to shout home about but I no longer had stick limbs. And then I kind of just let it slide.

Every now and then I would do some press-ups; go cycling; I even tried jogging for a while, but nothing consistent. My overall stamina did improve, especially the periods when I cycled and jogged but I often struggled to push past certain limits. I wrote goal number 54 as I remembered reading about a military commander who allegedly said any fool can double their lung capacity. (Haven’t been able to confirm and reference this yet...) I had asthma as a child and still occasionally feel the effects so improving my overall stamina is something I keep returning to.

Yesterday I cycled to work and I would love to be able to say I managed to do so again today. I didn’t. Cycling just over eleven miles in the morning was tough but doable. Cycling the same eleven miles on the way home was a whole lot tougher. I don’t want to be exhausted every evening this week as I was last night but am very conscious that I’m not exercising any other way so feel the need to do something about that.

Listening to a friend speak at our church on Sunday I was struck by one point he kept returning to – whatever good you are doing – do it more and more.

Julien’s message needs to be taken in its own context but I feel there is a wider application to what he says. Whatever goals we have set ourselves – whenever we find ourselves doing well it is worth doing more and more.

We had the opportunity on Friday to meet with other friends from Central Asia to share a meal of Osh (rice, carrots and lamb cooked in cotton oil). My friend told me that his father had once set up in business with three other partners. They had a hugely successful first year, so much so that two of the partners started to ease off; to take longer lunch breaks and assume that things would continue as before. My friend’s father grew increasingly uncomfortable with this as he could see that the business would only decline if they did not all work together. Eventually the partnership dissolved and they went their separate ways. What would have happened to their business if they had identified what was going well, and focused on that – more and more...

I often throw myself completely into an idea but that does not appear to be encouraged in Thessalonians. Instead I see a gradual increase. A reflective approach. Try something. If it is good and worthwhile, do it some more. I will need to force myself to get on that bike again but also need to find a rhythm that allows me to continue exercising without wiping myself out. Do you exercise? How do you keep going? What works for you?

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