I went for a run this morning! This may not be such a big deal for those who are runners but for me running is not part of my usual activity regime. In fact I have a friend who runs and has been trying to convince me to join her but I thought she was crazy. Surely running can’t be the fun that she says it is?
I do admit to a fair amount of running in my twenties. I was in the army; running was a necessity to keep fit and I did it because the physical trainers told me to. It definitely wasn’t something I did for the fun of it. But this morning it was.
I had no intention of going for a run. I was having one of those mornings. You may know them; the kids wake early, the husband can’t do anything right (due more to my frame of mind than anything he actually did) and I was grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. I was supposed to be going to yoga and decided a walk along the beach would help me get my mind off being grumpy and better allow me to be in the moment at yoga and focused. So here I was walking and I was walking fast; but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I needed something more. I headed back to the car, dumped my jacket and started running. It felt good.
It’s hard to feel grumpy when the oxygen is pumping through your body. My mind finally cleared and I stopped thinking my grumpy thoughts. The tight feeling in my chest was quickly replaced with my heart working hard to pump blood and oxygen around my body. There was just no energy left to be negative; I was running.
I’m not saying that running is going to become a normal activity for me but today it felt good and that is enough. If I feel like going for a run again, I will. Normally walking is my thing. I take my daughter in the backpack or buggy, the dog on her lead and off we go. I enjoy it, the dog is my encouragement to get out there but once I start walking, it feels great. It is a time that I am not answerable to anyone, I am not rushing to get somewhere or do something; I am just walking. Recently life got busy and I stopped walking. This had a huge effect on me. I didn’t feel so good anymore, I was tired, I lost motivation and I become impatient and grumpy with my family and myself. In the end it was my husband who realized what was happening and told me to get out walking again and I have. I feel so much better. I have my ‘me time’ back and I am getting some exercise.
Exercise and activity is so important for all aspects of our lives. For me it helps me maintain my sanity. We all know that exercise is good for us but it also needs to be something we enjoy. Whatever that may be. Some people love dancing, they enjoy the music and the people; others like rock climbing; while for others a simple walk is enough. The trick is to find what you enjoy doing. This may take some time. Talk to friends and family, they may have some great ideas about what you may like to do. Try new things and if it doesn’t work out at least you can cross it off your list and try the next one.
Don’t do an activity just because you want to lose weight or you think it is the right thing to do. Do it because you want to, because it makes you feel better while you’re doing it. The chances of you sticking with something long term just because you think you should are fairly small. So go out and enjoy.
If you can’t find anything you enjoy right now then having a reason for increasing your activity can help keep you motivated. Think about what is important to you. Is it your kids? Do you want to be healthy enough so that you can kick a ball around with them or be alive to enjoy them as adults? Do you want to walk the Abel Tasman track? Do you want the freedom to do things with your family without worrying whether you won’t be able to physically handle it? Weight is not enough of a motivator. Find what is important to you and keep that in your mind as you increase your activity.
Remember it all counts and it can add up during the day. If you have a long driveway then walking to the letterbox and back is activity. Stop the car away from school or work and walk the rest of the way. As you get fitter increase the distance. Simple ideas that fit into your existing lifestyle will help you to make them a habit.
I would love to hear about your activity ideas.