26 March 2012

Getting some exercise

Anyone who has lived in Cambodia, and more specifically, Phnom Penh, for any length of time will tell you that it's not an easy place to exercise, although there are some creative ways to do it.

For me, my preferred forms of exercise would be riding a bicycle, walking or swimming. All are doable here, but the first two are hazardous! The roads were not designed for the volume of motos, cars, SUVs, and trucks that now use them. The footpaths are also the only place to park the above mentioned motos, cars, etc, as well as being places of business. Yes, many businesses extend right across the footpaths to the street. There are now a few parks around, and one popular form of exercise I mentioned is aerobics (I wrote about it here) or Khmer dancing. It is now possible to walk quite a distance along the river front in reasonable comfort, but you've got to get there first. There are also some exercise machines there if you feel like exercising in full view of the passing population (I got caught in the act of testing one out by one of my students).Bikeways are non-existent, and cyclists are not exactly high on the totem pole when it comes to traffic.

Swimming I do a little of, but I'm not consistent with it. The other alternative is to join a gym. I've done that a couple of times, both in Australia and here in Phnom Penh, and it's OK, but you have to be really committed to going, and the decent ones are not cheap either! So what do I do? Almost two years ago I had to pay a 20% loading on my international health insurance because my BMI was over 30. Last year I managed to get it down just below that, and was determined to get it even lower, but didn't really succeed, and alas, my love of chocolate and good food has not been helpful. With just 3 months to go before the said insurance premium has to be calculated again, it was time to get serious about doing some exercise and losing those excess kilos that had crept back on.

A while ago I bought a relatively cheap exercise machine (elliptical/bicycle/stepper/twister), but I hadn't been consistent about using it. Now, with the deadline looming, I put out a plea to my Facebook friends for some help and encouragement, and determined to build a new habit. Last week I managed to average 22 minutes each day, and I did do some every day, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. This week I set a new goal of 25 minutes every day. I'm hopeful that I can do it.

The other thing that's important is that I don't just want to lose the weight for the sake of some dollars. I know the exercise is good for me in many other ways, and exercising and eating well are part of taking care of the amazing body that God has given me. Already I'm feeling some benefits, and hopefully the scales will start to show some benefits as well.

What about you? Do you find exercising a struggle? Please tell me about your exercise challenges. What helps you stay motivated? I'd love to read your comments.

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