I promised myself I’d write about how exercise makes me feel, to serve as motivation for future sessions. I have not resumed exercising for long, but I have experienced the value right away.
As I mentioned in my recent account of my Labor Day activity, I am most at home being at home. I’m in my element when I’m vibing to some mellow music and reading or writing (or, let’s be honest, about to doze off to sleep).
This low-level activity feels safe and comfortable, but it’s not causing me to burn substantial calories or tone and condition my body. To help myself advance further in my weight loss efforts, I need to exercise.
Here are three reasons I’ve found to exercise, to remind myself–and maybe inspire you.
Exercise makes me feel accomplished. At the end of a cardio workout, or a circuit routine, I feel like I’ve really done something with my body. After working out for about a month to Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred DVD last year, I was amazed to have gone from buckets of sweat and quickly fatigued arms to barely breaking a sweat and fast-forwarding to the next workout level. (I never mastered level 2 or 3, but there’s still time!) When the rest of my life is on autopilot, I can contemplate my increased endurance and my decreased mass to know I’ve done something good for myself.
Exercise makes me feel at peace. The old me would think it an oxymoron to find exercise relaxing, but during and immediately after a workout, I feel serene. I’m not a runner (except on the Extreme Fit Exercise gaming mat, which I reviewed a while back), but I have experienced the “zone” or the high that runners describe. It’s like nothing else exists in the world but my body and the activity it’s doing. For someone whose mind is always racing about something, it’s a welcome vacation to not be living inside of my head.
I have to add that I tend to sleep better after a workout day, too–again, I find it hard to shut my mind down, so it’s nice when my body does it for me, because I’ve pushed it more than it’s used to.
Exercise makes me reel responsible. This means the self-respect I earn from sticking to a routine, but also when I tackle other important things, like housework errands, that are always last on my to-do list, yet net me physical activity. I have been much better at taking care of myself with good quality food, but ramping up my physical activity shows another level of care, as our bodies do enjoy being taken out for a spin every once in a while.
These are the three ways I can give myself a pep talk to keep moving. Tell me: what do you like most about exercise? What keeps you going?