During summer here in New York, if you’re standing on the subway platform for more than four minutes, you’re sweating. Despite the fact that I usually need a shower from my commute, it’s not a “real sweat.” The real sweat comes from activity. If I haven’t really sweated, the day doesn’t seem worth it. As one of my gym friends said, I feel like I haven’t earned my shower. (Or, in this case, my second shower.)
It’s hard to nail-down exactly what I love about exercising. Maybe I’m addicted to endorphins. Maybe I’m a slave to routine. Maybe I’m afraid of what would happen if I stopped. But, I know I really love exercising. I feel my muscles work; the heat rises to my scalp. My mind begins a conversation of can’t – then shifts into Little Engine That Could-mode. Dance classes, intenSati, running, interval training, and now a little spinning thrown in for good measure…at this stage of life, how often do we get to really play and let loose, really and truly?
And when it’s all over, I love the after-glow. When I used to exercise in the evening, I loved coming home, showering, and with a wet head and dinner, sitting down in front of So You Think You Can Dance on a summer evening. Since I took up exercising in the morning, about five years ago, my day feels all wonky if I haven’t gotten my sweat in, like a gear hasn’t shifted into place.
We all know exercise is something we should do, but how do you turn the “should do” into a want-to?
Find a workout that works for you.
What did you love to do as a kid that you either stopped doing or felt a little too inhibited to do all-out at the time?
For me the answer is dancing, without a second thought. I was always in a dance class of some kind and when I wasn’t, one of my favorite things to do was to “make up a dance.” During my awkward pre-teen years, I hated donning a leotard and tights during class and on stage so I always stopped short of really throwing myself into the dance, which was my reason for being in a leo and tights in the first place. And that was a shame. But now that I can wear what I want, and feel more confident in my body, I LOVE a sweaty dance workout. Maybe you loved running, playing softball or tennis. How you can reconnect with an activity that brought you alive?
Which “rules” about exercising are keeping you from getting out there and experiencing the high?
Hate the idea of having to join an expensive club to exercise? Cringe at the idea of being in a class in front of other people’s potential scrutiny? Think there’s no way you can devote the amount of time all those experts recommend you spend exercising to get the full range of benefits? Are these real reasons, or are they excuses? There are so many alternatives to the gym – go for a walk outside, find a trainer who works out with you in your apartment, join a team sport. Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t or don’t want to do. Experts say that bursts of exercise throughout the day are just as effective as one long training session.
What can you do today to move a little? Do one thing. Even if all you can do is put on your sneakers, you might be surprised how the rest will take care of itself.