Why exercise for me has nothing to do with weight or fitness

why exercise has nothing to do with weight or fitness

I used to sweat it out at the gym.

I was there at 5.30am waiting for them to open their doors so I could run on the treadmill before my 6am spin class so I had time to get home, shower, have breakfast and get to work.

I had a heart rate monitor but I had it so I knew how many calories I was burning so I could balance it with my calorie intake for the day and make sure I was in deficit to lose weight.

 

Always trying to lose weight. Calories, calories, calories.

I would ‘have to’ go for a run because I was going out to dinner and wanted to be able to eat more.

Exercise was something I felt like I had to do rather than something I wanted to do and I felt so guilty if I didn’t do it.

Then along came baby number one.

I was carrying quite a few extra kilos plus, well, I couldn’t walk for all that long without feeling a bit like I was falling apart. You mums will know what I’m talking about.

 

Then there was finding time to actually exercise. I was breastfeeding so had to fit in around when the husband was home and when my hungry boy wasn’t feeding (so pretty much never).

Exercise was stressful. I wanted to do it because I wanted to lose weight but I had no energy and it was really hard to get out.

I’d set an alarm to get up early and exercise before the little guy woke and either he’d wake up just as I was sneaking out, or I’d be just too exhausted to drag myself out.

Now, with two very energetic little boys and after coming through having pretty bad anxiety last year and bouts on and off now, exercise is nearly 100% for my mental health.

I totally listen to my body.

Going for a walk is about taking a break for myself. I listen to podcasts, look at pretty houses, take different streets and lose myself in the adventure.

If I’m feeling stressed or my anxiety is a bit out of control, I run. I can feel my body needing to burn off that excess energy and in those times, running feels awesome. But I only do it when I feel like I want to.

My new favourite thing to do is dance classes at my local gym. I’m not exactly a pro dancer but I do my best and let me tell you, dancing to awesome music does not feel like exercise. It’s so much fun, distracts my mind (there’s no time to think when you’re trying to keep up with the dance moves) and I move my body. I love it!

I tried out one of their more hard-core, heavy weights and big repetitions classes and nope, it felt like work so I’m out.

I’m done with exercise feeling like work.

It has to be enjoyable.

It can’t feel like a chore. Sometimes I get to the end of the week and realise I haven’t exercised.

A few years ago I’d totally beat myself up about it.

Now, I take it as more of a symptom. Why didn’t I exercise? Did I just not feel like it? Am I taking on too much and not making time for myself? How do I feel?

This year has been the biggest year of learning about myself ever and being kind. If I can’t be kind to myself, how can I teach my kids to be kind?

There are so many options out there now, I think it’s a case of trying things until you find something you love. Something that you’re excited to do. And if it loses that excitement, stop doing it.

Find something else.

Life is meant to be enjoyed not wasted hating every moment of sweating out on a stepper.

Having said that, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve got a few low/no-cost exercises that I’ve tried out.

Low-cost/free exercise ideas

  • dancing – put on your favourite song and dance like no one is watching (singing helps too).
  • Youtube – there are soooo many free workouts on Youtube if you search for what you feel like:
    • yoga
    • samba class
    • kettlebell workout
    • meditation
    • speed circuit
  • following the kids on the play equipment
  • throwing a ball against a wall/up in the air/bouncing it and challenging yourself to beat the record (only works if you’re competitive like I am)
  • jumping on the kids’ trampoline
  • pulling weeds – this might not sound like much fun but it’s actually really satisfying and gives you a good workout too
Why exercise for me has nothing to do with weight or fitness via www.clairekcreations.com anxiety mindfulness stress

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