I could have hurt myself this morning, but I decided against it.
I wanted to stay still, to drift back into sleep after the alarm sounded at 4:30 am because my husband thought that he needed his travel-alarm foghorn to start his morning shift. Next time I’ll set my own, less jarring alarm and give him a brief slapping around instead.
Instead, I wobbled down the hallway as I usually do, made a strong cup of tea and got down to business. I work out every day for 45 minutes before my incredibly sedentary 10+ hour shift. It’s a four-day marathon, but it’s Monday, so I have a bit of sleep in the bank, and I promised myself that tonight I could brush, cuddle the kid and promptly stumble back into the Land of Nod. (It’s likely that reality will prove this to be a lie. Sometimes I live on a steady diet of delusion.)
I never used to work out in the morning. I never used to get up early either. Maybe you don’t want to do that, and who could blame you. I didn’t either. But you want to have the body and movement of a child, like my 65-year-old yoga teacher, who whips the hell out of us once a week. She makes me feel both inferior and inspired.
Try five minutes. Wake up five minutes early. Just five, don’t get crazy and aim for more than that. Do 5 minutes of exercise. I do 60 crunches in that time. Do 10 jumping jacks. Reach up with both hands into a gentle stretch, then touch your toes (or knees). Breath deeply. There. You’re all done. Tomorrow curl a couple of soup cans for 5 minutes while you watch what the weather will be. You can build your biceps while you decide what to wear.
I do my stomach exercises before bed, for five minutes or less. I have great abdominal strength, and I know because in yoga class people 20 years younger than me were groaning when Ms. Lee beckoned us into a V, arms stretched forward, until time stood still. I got to feel superior, if only for one moment.
Five minutes. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. Who knows where it will lead?