In Which I Admit I Hate Exercise

23 Oct

My husband loves running.  He lives for the beautiful days when he can run the 5 miles to the dairy farm down the road, around the trails, and back home.  He loves the thrill of cutting time off a particular route and he welcomes the pain that running brings.  He would run daily if he could.

I run?  If chased by a bear.

I’ve tried several times during our relationship (ten years, people) to pick up running.  He insists that it gets easier after the first few weeks and has patiently jogged beside me, cheering me on and motivating me by humming the Rocky theme as I force myself to run jog just… one… more… lap.  It’s never stuck.

Last month, I swam laps twice a week for three weeks in a row only to then catch a horrible cold and lose my momentum.  A year ago, I made it weekly to a wonderful yoga class – until the positions put strain on my bum kidney and I had to bow out.

It seems there is little routine exercise that I ever commit to, despite knowing how good it is for my back and how important it is to not only be heart healthy but also to set a good example for my girls.  And everytime I try to begin anew, I end up kicking myself for not doing enough and eventually quit.

This morning after dropping the oldest at preschool, and after a very long night with little restful sleep and a very cranky toddler, I sat at a stop sign and pondered which way to turn.  Left to the walking trail?  Or right to my probably-still-warm coffee, a blanket, and some tv with a snuggly toddler.  I should mention I was still in my pajamas and it was 34 degrees out.

It wasn’t my slightly snug-fitting pants or my achy back that made me turn left.  It was my mood.  I have been irritable and anxious.  I have caught myself wanting to hibernate and to lose myself in the next season of The Good Wife.

cutest workout partner everAnd so I forced myself to walk today.  I even did a little jogging. And something happened after 3/4 of a mile.  The urgency in my steps eased. My shoulders relaxed.  I smiled at the baby’s antics as she picked up leaves and attempted to sign me their colors instead of fretting at how she was impeding my progress (good god, how is it possible for someone who moves so fast to walk so slow?). I lost my worry over the oldest’s first bus field trip without me and I felt ready for the day to begin.

Whey do I always forget how powerful fresh air (even cold air), sunshine, and movement are in lifting my mood?

Which brings me to my title.  I hate exercise.  I won’t ever love the activity, the challenge, or the pain.  But I do love the results.  It is a vital component in my self-care and it helps to manage my mental illness.  So though I am not committing to being a runner, a biker, a yogi, or a swimmer, I am committing to move every day.

Especially if it means I can wear yoga pants more often.

8 Responses to “In Which I Admit I Hate Exercise”

  1. elise October 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    awesome! way to go! my hubby ‘prescribes’ exercise to a lot of his patients. it makes so much difference, dozens of papers have been written about it (okay, I have no idea how many papers have actually been written, but it is scientifically proven to help with mental health even if you see no physical results–and that’s huge). it still kinda blows my mind how many people ask me if I have a car, or can drive or if I need a ride when I’m out with a stroller. yes I have 4 kids. yes I have a car. yes I walk the mile (gasp! 1 mile… it’s not really that far!) to pick them up from school and they walk home with me! and guess what? I do it by choice. and I feel good when I do–I can see the difference on the days when we don’t walk, and if there’s a time I need a good mental pick-me-up, it’s when those crazy kids first get home from school.
    I recently started running… okay, not recently, it’s been 2 years, but it feels like recently. and I gotta say, I didn’t love it for over a year. the only reason I kept at it was because of a good friend (and a perhaps-unhealthy-competitive nature). now I really do love it, I was really excited last week when I was able to get out and jog again for the first time since the baby was born, it felt good. and I was slow, and I didn’t go very far. but it didn’t matter. I was jogging.

    sorry that’s so wordy… this is one of my things. and thanks, for writing about it, and for doing it. because it you get the health benefits whether you like it or hate it, and those benefits are truly significant.

    • learnedhappiness October 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      It really does make so much difference! And I think people often don’t exercise because they feel it’s an “all or nothing” thing. But just moving is the key. I wish we lived somewhere we could walk to school/shopping. Alas, we are out the boondocks and the main road is too scary to walk on.

  2. story3girl October 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I feel like this a lot. I love having exercised. Just like I love having written. And parented.

    Wait, what?

  3. Alta October 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Just moving is a positive thing. It DOESN’T have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to feel like you’re going to die, and you don’t have to be left in a pool of your own sweat when done, in order to see benefits. Walking is great. It’s SO good for mood. I’ve run, and sometimes I like it, but when I got into the “I have to run” routine (when I was training for a half-marathon), I got so I didn’t like it at all. But I love soccer, and so I play. And I love lifting weights, and so I do. For everyone, it’s different, but moving around is a great step. ❤ Kudos!

  4. Emily October 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Me too! Exercise is the devil. Good for you for doing it anyway.

  5. Jaime October 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I’m with you. I don’t love it, like, AT ALL. But my body craves the endorphins for sure. When I had to stop taking my daily lunchbreak walks this past September to shuttle Jax to/from pre-K, it was like giving up drugs. I had no idea I would suffer from not walking for 25 minutes a day. Even my therapist says she sees the difference in me now. I can’t wait until June, when I can walk every day again. And yes, I’ll probably complain about it every single time (the heat! the sweat! the bright sun!) but also love how it makes me feel afterward.

  6. Kimberly M (@momgosomething) October 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    It cranks out that serotonin girl. Make it fun. It doesn’t have to be hardcore running. I can’t do any impact activities so I take walks. Change it up and walk in different areas around you town. Bring a friend…etc.

  7. tranquilamama October 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    For me the challenge was finding what activity I love. I love running, but I also love yoga, zumba (any type of dance), and Body Pump. The endorphin release is why I keep coming back for more.

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