What do you think of when you hear the word exercise? For some reason I picture Jane Fonda and leg warmers or my elementary school P.E. teacher s’ ginormous calves (woman P.E. teacher).
My relationship with exercise didn’t start off that great. When I was young, I had exercise-induced asthma. So I was the one who got to walk the track while everyone else was running his or her “mile”. The truth is my asthma probably wasn’t that bad, but I seriously hated running. I hated how my whole body jiggled up and down and how I couldn’t breathe and how my legs would itch after because they weren’t used to having so much blood running through them.
Then came middle school and I started ballroom dancing. We only practiced once/week so it wasn’t really much of an exercise regime, but I absolutely loved it. In high school, I continued with dance, along with the occasional bike ride, or rollerblading, but my main problem was that I loved food way more than I loved physical activity. Besides dance, I couldn’t seem to find something I really loved doing that counted as exercise.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first son I was a good 30-40 pounds over weight. I knew I had to do something to keep myself from blowing up like a balloon. At the time, my husband was away for training and I was living by myself. I decided that instead of coming home from work and sitting on the couch to watch TV, I would get on the treadmill and watch TV while walking 4-5 miles. It worked. I watched three seasons of Friday Night Lights and two of Arrested Development and only gained 28 pounds. That was also about the time I started doing yoga. A few months after I had the baby, I was introduced to CrossFit. I absolutely fell in love with CrossFit for 2 reasons…#1, the workouts were quick and intense (one day my workout lasted 9 minutes), and #2, I felt amazing after a workout both mentally and physically.
Over the next 6 years, I started to realize that I actually loved working out. I crave the endorphins and the feeling of accomplishment. I started out just walking on a treadmill, then was able to run a mile, then ran a half marathon, then jumped up on a 24’’ box, then did a pull-up, then held a handstand for a minute, and my list will keep going.
Find something that you love to do. Maybe it’s swimming, bike riding, running, walking, hiking, yoga, weight training, tennis, Zumba, or maybe you really love Jane Fonda??!? Be active with friends, your spouse, and your kids. Regular exercise will lower stress, help you sleep better at night, prevent health problems, help with anxiety or depression, increase your energy…the benefits go on and on. Ours minds are extremely powerful. If we tell ourselves we can’t, then we won’t. If we tell ourselves we CAN, then we WILL. There are two sayings that I really love, “The body will do what the mind tells it to” and, “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”