“Use it or lose it.”
Back at the end of June, I wrote a blog post called Exercise When You Really Don’t Want To in which I bemoaned the fact that I don’t like exercising and had to come up with ways to trick myself into doing it.
At the end of that blog post, I said I’d report back on my progress in a few months. Here it is just a few weeks later, and things are going well, so I decided to report now.
Why did I get back into the routine despite my dislike of exercising?
- I was buying larger size clothing.
- My back hurt almost all the time.
- I was feeling low-level anxiety.
The first thing I did was sign up for a series of 6:00 a.m. exercise classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’d been minimally active for a few months so although I wasn’t starting from ground zero, I was definitely out of shape.
That first class was awful. My back was so stiff and sore that I could hardly move. There were some exercises I couldn’t do so I had to modify. I realize people have to modify all the time, but these were exercises I was doing with no problem a few months before. I couldn’t bend down and touch my toes because it hurt.
Not a good situation. I went home disgusted but also pleased that I’d taken the first step again.
In my earlier blog post, here are the things I said I’d do to get myself back on track:
Sign up for short-term exercise classes. I did! I committed to exercising two days a week for a block of time. Then something funny happened: I started going to a third class almost every week. Now I’m leaning towards four or five.
Pay for my classes in advance. I did that too! It was a chunk of change all at once, but the thought of losing money by not showing up has been a decent motivator.
Make sure my classes are early in the morning. Six a.m. it is. Although I wake up early in the morning, I don’t like getting out of bed to go to the gym first thing. However, the thought of going to the gym after a long day at work is worse. I used to do that, but at the end of the work day, I want to go home and stay there.
Take a walk during my lunch hour on the days I don’t do an exercise class in the morning. I haven’t done well with this one. In order to avoid working more than an evening or two a week, I tend to take a short lunch break and eat at my desk. It’s a trade-off that works for me.
Try to do one fun thing during the week. I haven’t really done this either. Surprisingly, I’ve been having more fun at exercise class than I thought – not a lot, but a bit – so I haven’t been feeling the need to seek out anything more. The odd time I go to a Groove class so I can dance with abandon.
What are my results to date?
- My larger size clothing is starting to feel a tiny bit looser.
- My back isn’t sore anymore (with the exception of a couple of days when I had a back spasm).
- The low-level anxiety is improving.
I still don’t care for exercise but I do care about my health and that’s the payoff. My routine of 30 to 40 minutes four or five days a week isn’t going to win me a medal but it does put me in a better state of mind and makes my body feel better which is exactly what I’m after.
I’ve finally realized that there’s no excuse for not exercising. When I wasn’t being active, I had a long list of reasons at the ready. It was all baloney. I was making a conscious choice.
If you don’t want to exercise, that’s fine. But don’t do what I did and justify your lack of activity with excuses.
Take responsibility for your non-action and simply say, “I don’t want to exercise.”
If you want to exercise but feel there are barriers preventing you from doing so, take responsibility. Talk to your doctor or other health professional, and then talk to someone who specializes in the field of fitness. There’s always something you can do.
If you’re as (un)excited about exercise as I am, I urge you to still consider some sort of physical activity, even a thirty-minute walk a few times a week. You’ll feel the difference and will be a lot better off.
Movement is medicine. Make sure you take it.