Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fitness and Flossing

I’ve always been religious about getting my teeth cleaned every six months. And every six months I’ve had to endure sitting through another lecture about the benefits of flossing. It was obvious to my dentist that I never flossed.

That is until the day I met a new dental hygienist who suggested I floss once or twice a week, or whenever I remembered. She gave me the freedom to stop beating myself up over not flossing every day, and since then, I’ve become a regular flosser.

Fitness is a lot like flossing. I focus on working out once or twice a week, or whenever I feel like it. I don’t beat myself up over missing a day. This is particularly significant in the fall and winter when the days are short, the sun hangs low, and the breezes run cold. I let the weather dictate my activity.

If it’s sunny but chilly, I’ll take a walk in the park; if there’s snow on the ground, I’ll ski. If it’s pouring rain, I’ll go to a club and lift weights or join a yoga class. And if it’s that rare day when the jet stream brings a warm front, I’ll don my cycling wear and go for a bike ride.

I’m not one for making or keeping resolutions. That’s an easy way to set yourself up for failure. If you set a goal of working out every day, or every other day, or once a week, life will get in the way and you’ll quickly miss a day and have failed.

I believe in setting a goal and letting the goal be your reward. Just as I need that 6-month cleaning to keep me flossing and hear the dentist say, “no cavities,” you need that periodic reminder to stay fit. Now’s the time to sit down, do some research and find a fitness goal/reward for the early spring.

It can be an organized event. Consider the metric century over Valentine’s Day weekend in Myrtle Beach. Or take up running and train for a 5k in a city you’ve always wanted to visit. It’s easy to find listings of events on such websites as or

Or there’s nothing like an active vacation to keep you active all winter. You won’t want to be the slowest in the group. WomanTours, Adventures in Good Company and Canyon Calling are all excellent places to find great trips.

Whatever you choose as your goal/reward, be sure you commit to it. Sign up and pay the registration fee. Tell everyone of your plans. And then when the sun shines, go outside and work out. And when the sun doesn’t shine, stay inside and work out. Don’t worry if you miss a day or a specific workout. Just aim for a few times a week, and keep your fitness goal/reward in mind. And when you remember, try to floss. Your dentist will thank you.

1 comment:

Bianca Jackson said...

It's all about setting off at a comfortable pace. Flossing can be pretty hard, so do it when you can. But don't force yourself. Little by little, you'll get used to the habit and your teeth and dentist will be happy with the work you've done.