By Karen Galarpe


So there I was at midday today, doing brisk walking on the treadmill. Before I knew it, the 15 minutes warm-up walk was done and it was time to lift some weights. No, not the heavy kind, but more like 5-pound dumbbells for arm curls and 15 pounds on the lat machine. After that, 2 sets at the total abdominal machine to hopefully tone those abs. Then some time on the leg press, and maybe 10 minutes at the stationary bike.

It’s Monday, and it’s gym day, and again I am paying for the privilege of sweating in an air-conditioned gym. I marvel at how time flies—it’s been more than a year now? Wow!

I’ve been a gym dropout for a couple of times over the past 16 years (or since my son was born). I’d go for a few months, then drop out, thinking I can do it on my own and exercise at the UP Diliman Oval, but always, always, there’s something more urgent to do. So I’ve had a pretty much sedentary life for most of the time.

More than a year ago, I went to Baguio with my good friend Jing Lejano [], and walking uphill on the street got me panting in like, 5 minutes. She said, “Kung ‘di ako fit, mas hindi ka fit.” [“If I’m not fit, then you’re so not fit!”] Don’t I know it!

When my son got interested in enrolling in a gym last year, I enrolled myself too. On the first day of my training, my trainer put me on the treadmill. The 15-minute time limit seemed like forever that he brought it down to 10. He also moved back my speed from 5.0 km/hr to 3.0 km/hr. I was exhausted. He said, “Buti na lang naisipan niyong mag-gym. Ang hina niyo pala.” [“It’s a good thing you decided to go to the gym. You’re weak already.”] OK, I know, I know.

Fast-forward to a year after, and today, I do 5.3 km/hr on the treadmill for 15 minutes if I don’t feel like pushing myself. I can lift light weights and walk faster than I used to. I also feel stronger, and walk with a spring in my step, I believe. The muscles? Hmm, getting firmer, although the abs may take another year to be flat (haha!).

I read somewhere that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can do wonders to one’s health. Thirty minutes! Surely you can spare 30 minutes a day, right? Or, OK, 30 minutes every other day at the minimum. Go flex those muscles, girl, and do it for a healthier you.