August means allergy season in our house. Sneezing, eye-rubbing, and allergic salutes can be seen performed by any one of three family members. My entire life has been plagued by seasonal allergies. It is easy to recognize the signs in two of my sons (one has luckily escaped this fate).
By this time of year, the grass usually has turned brown, the weeds such as ragweed wreak havoc on nasal passages, and it seems that every inch of skin itches. This year is a little different in that the grass remains a verdant green due to all the rains we’ve had in the mid-west. Still, the ragweed pollen is plentiful and other plants are drying down. We have one child left at home and he is one of my two that suffer with allergies.
As a young girl, I often was put in the nurse’s office at school if gym class was to be outside in the fall. At the time, it didn’t matter to me. But, looking back now, I think it singled me out and might have been better if I had just suffered through the class. A recent New York Times article points to a recent research study that claims how you felt about gym class as a child might have a lot to do with your exercise habits as an adult.
Being an allergic child, sensitive to grasses and pollens, was not the only reason I hated gym class. I was a waif. By third grade, I weighed all of 38 pounds! Seriously! This is true! The scrawny, quiet girl who could easily be blown off the sidewalk by a strong gust of wind, was not a popular choice when it came to picking teams. I was often chosen last, or close to it, anyway. Since I often felt terrible with my allergies, I did not do well with the assigned tasks of gym….certainly, missing classes in the nurse’s office didn’t help my abilities either.
As I aged, I was still slight in form. High school gym class was not any better, and in some ways worse, as I was known as a nerd by that time, garnering good grades, and staying out of trouble. There were bullies. They came after me during floor hockey, dodgeball, and basketball especially. I hung with jocks and they accepted me. But, the jocks were not the bullies.
I read the NYT’s article with interest. I think it has a point. I am not a person who enjoys physical exercise. I have to “make myself do it” because I know it’s good for me. And, I try. My athletic skills are still shameful despite years of trying to make them better. There was the summer softball league I joined at my first job as a nurse. I was an outfielder and could not catch a ball to save my life (or my team for that matter). It lasted a year. I found excuses not to go – even if it meant working an extra shift. I bowled in a league with my husband during the early years of our marriage. It was fun… but, going for wings (in Buffalo, NY) after our weekly games was the best part. The activity forged a life long friendship for me. We also joined a volleyball league for a season (or maybe, two?). That was not fun at all. The team captain was an obstetrician and he was out for blood! I was out for some fun I ended up not having.
So, my history with organized sports, and exercise is murky at best. I do not enjoy it. Maybe, as the study showed, it is linked to memories and experiences I had with exercise in the past. Personally, I fit the findings of the study.
But, I do know that I have to move – everyday – allergies or not; I need to remain active. So, by 4pm yesterday when I hit 10K on my FitBit, I was pleased. As you know, I am a gardener. Gardening confers exercise and calorie building and it takes much less skill. I’ll stick with that and just ignore the fact that it is allergy season in my house.