Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Things Exercise Has Taught Me

I have never been a fan of exercise.  At best, I viewed it as a necessary evil.  At worst, it was a waste of time.  But, after a hike this fall, that proved that I was severely out of shape, one of my New Year's resolutions was to exercise more.  I know it's good for a person's health, both physical and mental and many great writers swear getting outside and walking is necessary to the creative process- Henry David Thoreau, C.S. Lewis, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, and I venture many more.  As a sufferer of long Wisconsin winters, I figured it would help with my self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder.  I also was hoping it would help my clothes fit better and give me more energy.  So, basically I was expecting a lot and not sure exercise would be able to deliver, but in the past four months I've realized quite a few things.  Here are my top five. 

  1. You can start slow and still reap benefits.  In January, my goal was to exercise three times a week for twenty minutes a time.  Since it was January and we had cold, snow, and darkness, I used the treadmill.  Then I upped my goal a little each month.  Just getting active made me feel better and more positive.  And now I walk outside most days for 45 minutes.
  2. You can multitask while you exercise.  If I use the treadmill, I often just listen to some upbeat, loud, EDM music.  When I walk outside, I listen to podcasts that I downloaded or work on praying for family and friends.  If I ride my bike, I'll often pack snacks and books, and read and write in the park for a while.  If you feel guilty just going for a walk for a walk's sake (which you shouldn't- but if you do), have a goal in mind.  Walk to the library.  If you only need a couple things, walk to the grocery store.  Walk to visit a neighbor.
  3. You can just walk.  Some of the best days of exercise are ones where I just walk and think.  No music, no podcasts, no end goal just the sounds of the birds and thinking.
  4. You can eat more if you exercise.  I love chocolate.  Good quality chocolate.  When I did the cleanse at the beginning of the year, I felt great, and was losing a lot of weight, but I knew once the cleanse was done, I'd want to eat cheese, bread, and chocolate.  Exercising gives you more wiggle room in your food choices.  I am making better food choices, but I still love a nice Chocolove Toffee and Almonds bar occasionly.  I have kept off all the weight I lost during the cleanse and even lost a few more pounds.  Without exercising, I'm sure I would have gained a lot of this back. 
  5. You can skip a day, but don't be surprised if you don't want to.  At first, I had to push myself just to get three days a week in.  Now, there's been weeks where I go everyday, or only skip when it's down pouring.  I feel so good after a nice walk that I crave just getting outside. 
So what's keeping you from exercising?  Or, why do you exercise?  What motivates you?

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