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Before reading this post, please remember that I am not a health professional. I am blogging about my own experience and what has worked specifically for me. For concerns about your own health and diet, please contact your physician or dietician for specific advice.
For the first installment of this series, see “How I Do ‘It’ — Healthy Eating”
We all want to love exercise, right?
Do we all really love exercise? Probably not all of the time.
I am a firm believer in the “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality. Caitlin actually wrote a great post on it here.
I would be lying to you if I told you I always enjoy exercising on a daily basis. I am here to tell you I don’t always enjoy it. Especially on those mornings during the school year when my alarm clock would start going off at 4:25 in the morning. Ew — just thinking about that now makes me shudder. I can’t wait for August to come.
For all you exercise haters out there, I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell my students and my niece and nephew — sometimes in life you have to do things you really don’t want to do. Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I love to exercise. I love the endorphins and the natural high I get after working out. Exercising is kind of like wine and beer — it’s an acquired taste that comes in time.
Do you have to be active to be healthy? In my opinion, yes. Health isn’t just about eating. Health isn’t just about exercising. Health isn’t just about your state of mind. It’s a combination of the three that make up a truly healthy person. For me, staying fit is not about how I look in the mirror. It’s not about how toned my body is. While those are some added benefits of exercising, it’s more about the health reasons. So, why do I stay active?
1. Exercise improves my mood. Whether I am angry or sad about something, I never leave a workout feeling bad about myself. I am always happier when I leave the gym or come home from a run.
2. It helps me manage my weight. I don’t think you need to exercise to be at a healthy weight, but I think it helps in the long run — which is odd that I’m saying this because I don’t know how much I weigh anyways. Exercising revs up your metabolism hardcore!
3. It boosts my energy levels. On days where I do not work out, I usually feel tired and lethargic the entire day. By getting in a workout early in the morning, I have already set the tone for the day by moving! I am more likely to continue my productive streak by continuing to move more frequently throughout the day.
4. My body is thanking me. Exercising is great for your muscles, flexibility, and keeping your heart healthy in the long run in life. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that I became a regular exerciser early on in life.
So how do I ‘do’ it? Dedication and hard work.
However, if you’re a new exerciser, treat this the same way you would with approaching a new dietary lifestyle. One step at a time.
Begin with baby steps if you’ve never worked out before. Start with walking. Just taking a 20 minute walk after work or dinner will boost your energy levels tremendously! Park further away from stores in the parking lot. Walk around town when you can. All of these things add up quickly!
I also refuse to compare my fitness level with that of others. Just because Susie down the street is training to run a marathon right now or Sally is training for a fitness competition doesn’t mean it’s right for me! I found what worked for me and recently shared it in the post where I talk about my current fitness routine.
No one changes overnight, as I have mentioned before. If you’ve never run before, going out and running 3 miles one day is probably not the best idea. Work up your endurance slowly, one day, one run at a time.
When I first started exercising, I found that writing it down in my appointment book was really helpful. I made it so it was an “appointment” — something I absolutely couldn’t miss. If I had my run scheduled into my calendar, it took a lot for me to skip it. There’s something about crossing a task off a “to do” list that makes me happy.
With time, I came to love exercising, I love the feeling of sweating and knowing my body is being challenged every time I go to the gym.
And to be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never once regretted a work out.
Question: How do you balance staying active with the rest of your life? If you don’t regularly exercise, what is holding you back?