I watched a fair amount of the Olympic games this year. I was in awe of the sheer dedication these athletes have to their sport. It must be surreal when they finally get there! And if they actually win a medal, it must be one of the best feelings in the world.
Some of you may have noticed your inner critic getting louder as you watched these amazing athletes compete. Our comparing mind sure gets busy, saying things like “I should workout harder,” “Why can’t I be like that?” or “Look at how flat her abs are, I should do more sit ups.” Suddenly, what you do for physical activity doesn’t seem like enough.
I’ve heard fitness experts say “There is an athlete in every body.” No, I don’t think so!
I am not wired like an athlete, and that’s okay. I don’t have a competitive spirit. I do not like working out really hard. But I enjoy moving my body. I love to walk, bike, dance, and hike. I practice yoga regularly because it makes me feel so good.
I do not run. I do not jump.
And when I look at my guide books to pick out a hike, I’m not drawn to Ruckel Creek or Mount Defiance – the ones labeled difficult with a couple thousand feet in elevation gain. When hiking Angel’s Rest, I don’t think “Let me see how fast I can get up to the top this time.” I hike at a moderate pace and enjoy my time in the great outdoors.
I get out for a 30 minute walk with my dogs most days. On some days I have lots of energy, other days not so much. Once or twice a year, while on a walk I’ll notice that I feel like running. It is an odd feeling, believe me! So I pick a stop sign or other marker up ahead and I run to it, and then I’m done with running for a while.
I’m not an athlete, and that’s okay. If you’re not an athlete, that’s okay. And if you are an athlete, that’s okay too. Just as babies are born with their own combination of physical characteristics such as hair or eye color, skin tone, and physique, behavior scientists know that each one has patterns of behavior, or temperament, that are also part of their uniqueness. Diversity is what makes life so interesting, so let’s celebrate it!