My mum is someone who seriously sweats it out at the gym six out of every seven days. Â Sheâ€™s done this consistently for the last five years. She is, without a doubt, the most physically strong woman I know. But when I asked her how one of her sessions had gone last week, she turned to me and said, â€˜I hated it. I really didnâ€™t want to go. All the way there I was just thinking about how much I didnâ€™t want to go. But I made myself. I never want to go. I always have to make myself.â€™
Letâ€™s pause here for a second to give this woman some serious praise for consistently practising something she always dreads. Then letâ€™s all agree that life is way too short to be doing things you hate in your precious free time, no matter how good for you they are. I really donâ€™t think exercise should be seen as a chore. It is an incredibly positive thing to do – and not just to help you shed excess weight.
Thereâ€™s no getting away from it: exercise is good for you. The body wants to work and you will be rewarded for your sweat and labour by improved health and fitness. We all know this, but I did just want to pick up on a couple of points that I think sometimes get overlooked and are the major motivators for me when it comes to getting off my arse and doing something.
The first is the mood-enhancing, life-affirming, off-your-face-on-those-post-exercise-endorphins properties of a vigorous workout. Exercising makes you feel good. It boosts your mood, provides a way to work out stresses, clears the mind, gives you energy and has you sleeping more soundly. If this was the only positive outcome of a regular exercise routine, I would still stick to one.
The second is – and stick with me here if you share my motherâ€™s exercise philosophy – itâ€™s FUN. Or at least it is once you find the activity thatâ€™s for you. I firmly believe that there is a sport or physical activity of some type out there to suit everyone. The choice is not between your couch and pounding the mechanical pavement at an overcrowded, over-priced gym. There are so many options in between, and so itâ€™s just a case of experimenting. I promise you that once you find it, itâ€™ll be worth it.
Even though Iâ€™m personally against making New Yearâ€™s resolutions (I refuse to attempt radical life changes in the depths of winter when Iâ€™m flat broke and on a post-Christmas downer), January is a time when lots of other people decide to make positive alterations to their lifestyles. Thatâ€™s why this month weâ€™ll be sharing what works for us exercise-wise, and our personal experiences, in a bid to inspire you to form a new exercise habit or just try something new. Personally Iâ€™m always excited to try new things, so please let me know what youâ€™re into – particularly if itâ€™s korfball. Iâ€™m really curious about korfball at the moment.
More in the Love Exercise series:
What exercise do you love? How did you get into it? Please get the conversation going by leaving a comment below.