My mum is someone who seriously sweats it out at the gym six out of every seven days. She’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, ‘I hated it. I really didn’t want to go. All the way there I was just thinking about how much I didn’t want to go. But I made myself. I never want to go. I always have to make myself.’
Let’s pause here for a second to give this woman some serious praise for consistently practising something she always dreads. Then let’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 don’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.
There’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 mother’s exercise philosophy – it’s FUN. Or at least it is once you find the activity that’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 it’s just a case of experimenting. I promise you that once you find it, it’ll be worth it.
Even though I’m personally against making New Year’s resolutions (I refuse to attempt radical life changes in the depths of winter when I’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. That’s why this month we’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 I’m always excited to try new things, so please let me know what you’re into – particularly if it’s korfball. I’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.