Friday, February 18, 2011

Exercise

I have talked (or rather whined) about my exercising in various posts in this blog. My primary goal when I first started to exercise on a regular basis was to lose some weight and get some muscular definition.

For folks who have never exercised in their entire lives, even a few days of exercising can show a difference when looking in the mirror. Even other people notice enough to comment upon the altered appearance. And having muscles where none were before brought a high on its own. In short, it was quite easy to keep going.

But then, all new activities soon get the patina of boredom due to repetition. And sure enough, exercising too lost its charm.

Though I knew that exercising was helping me be fit and look better, it was still not a good enough motivation for me to do it regularly. Then I hit upon the idea of signing up for fitness classes. Knowing me, I knew I would feel guilty if I paid for classes and did not go since it would mean that the cost of every class I missed went down the drain (unlike the gym where I could always reason that I would go "tomorrow", though tomorrow sometimes never came for several weeks)

I was right. Where gyms had failed, fitness classes kept me exercising regularly. All this was back in the US.

Then, after we moved back to India, the first few months were too busy to think about resuming a regular fitness routine. I finally got back to exercising regularly in December. And of course, in January, I promptly fell sick. Fever and cough and cold and body-pain encourage lounging on the bed and not exercising.

Finally, I began to feel much better towards the end of January but (according to me  - I am great at finding excuses) still not in exercising shape. After all, I was feeling lethargic most of the time, sniffly-nosed and consequently, cranky .

But then after a week of excuses, even I became tired of them and finally decided that sniffles or not, I was going to start exercising regularly. I had exercised for 3 days in a row when it suddenly hit me that on all those 3 days, I was not lethargic and though the sniffles remained, they no longer made my cranky.

It did not take me too long to realize the only change I had made to my daily routine was to exercise. I had read in several sources about how exercise gives you energy and releases mood-enhancing endorphins. But, while I had always  agreed with being in a good-mood post-exercise (I attributed this to the wonderful feeling of knowing that I did not need to exercise for the rest of the day), I had always pooh-poohed the increased energy theory. Run over by a truck was what I usually felt like after exercising.

But now, I was a believer! I did have great energy for the rest of the day, the noon-time slump notwithstanding. And with this realization came another. Where I had not been motivated by the carrots of "being fit and looking good", I was motivated by "great energy and feel-good factor".

Not to say that I have now become an exercise freak. I still have to push myself to exercise on most of my designated exercise-days and I still sometimes continue lie down in bed long after being wide awake since getting up means having to exercise. However, it has become easier to not skip exercising and not come up with lame excuses since I started looking at exercise as something I do for mental and physical well-being and not for vanity.

Of course, since I have been enlightened only for a few weeks now, it is still too early to tell if this enlightenment too shall pass or not. Still, I am happy that it is working for now!

3 comments:

SK said...

Exactly what I love about running. :--)
The endorphins kick off and take you to a high. :--)

Saumya said...

You know the funny thing? I feel good after a run, but mostly during the run, I am wondering why I started out in the first place. The first mile is sometimes the toughest mile, and quite often I land up playing games with my brain to get through it. After that it is okay.

Good job with the discipline to exercise Archana

Archana said...

SK - yup, endorphins are good!

Saumya - so true - once I get into the exercising zone, I can push myself further without too much trouble. But getting into that zone is the tough part!