Learning to Love Exercise
Since morphing into a fitness fanatic quite a number of years ago, I think the most common question I get on the subject is “do you actually like working out?” When I come back with a quick “yes”, it is almost always followed by, “at what point did it start becoming fun?” I will admit that it wasn’t at first, and I almost always had to find some way of convincing or rewarding myself to get my butt up and moving. Once it became a habit, and a significant part of my daily routine, I still wouldn’t say that I LOVED going to the gym, but I definitely enjoyed the feeling of community that the gym cultivated and feeling like I was part of something. It is said that ‘one of the key elements of happiness is being part of something bigger than yourself (Hsieh, 2010).’ Gyms are full of individuals that are working towards a goal and they create a culture of happy, hardworking and dedicated people. Not to mention the endorphins everybody is benefiting from by being physically active.
I Wasn’t Made For Running
For a long time I thought I wasn’t born for jogging. I thought that I had been handed all the genetics in the world that go against distance running, from a naturally stockier frame, poor lung capacity, thicker thighs that “slowed me down” and Attention Deficit Disorder that made me unable to focus for 10 km (let alone 42 kms that marathon runners do!). I have attempted to take up jogging at least a dozen times, and never has it turned into a routine, however, in the past few weeks, as the weather has become warmer and the sun rises earlier, I have started going out for morning runs before work. At 5:30 a.m. I crawl out of bed and head to the track for some sprinting, or just head out with no particular path or distance in mind. I have found myself waking up and WANTING to go instead of thinking that it’s something that I had to do. Work or no work, I still set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. to lace up and hit the pavement.
I started wondering why my morning jogs had become a hobby. Why was I eager to do something I had told myself for years I wasn’t good at or didn’t like? I then realized that for the first time in my life I’m not running for any other reason than it makes me feel good to sweat in the morning and gets my blood flowing. It makes me more alert and HAPPY to start my day.
The Light Bulb
That’s when it made sense. Going to the gym became something I loved to do when I stopped doing it to be “skinny” or to lose weight. When I chose to do it simply because it made me feel good, that’s when I started to LOVE it.
I’m still not able to point to a specific day or week that things changed, but if you are looking to ingrain physical activity in your life, asking yourself how you view exercise is a good place to start. As they say, mindset is everything.
Tara Newman is a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist who has made a commitment to help others embody an overall healthy and positive mind and body. Tara is a whole foods cooking/baking enthusiast, with a deep love for anything pumpkin or peanut butter flavored. Recently she joined NEDIC as a volunteer and is excited about getting more involved in the community in a positive way!
Hsieh, T. (2010). Delivering Happiness. Boston: Hachette Book Group.