Thursday, September 25, 2014

The E. Word Part II

I started talking about exercising on Monday and then when I talked about my dad yesterday, but I wanted to write this follow up post today to Monday's post.
  There's obvious physical benefits to exercising such as preventing yourself from having a heart attack at 45, which sadly does happen more often than we would every want to admit and raising endorphins. One of my best friends in college, Lauren, used to always talk about getting endorphins from exercising and when she would call her mom during the day when we were in the throws of college stress her mom would tell her to go exercise and get some endorphins. It was so cute. While there's known benefits of it and while I know that I feel great doing it, I've struggled with making myself do it as much as I don't enjoy it. I would love to be more organized and disciplined in many areas of my life, but I'm not going to beat myself up for that. I do not beat myself up for anything these days. I lived that way for a while and it never got me anywhere good that is. Now the problem that presents to me... I don't know about you, but for me-- exercising just hasn't been that fun. Part of that is because of the mindset I've had with it, like I talked about Monday. I always thought of exercising just being for the purpose of working off calories.  I realize in life we have to do certain things that aren't fun such as laundry or the dirty dishes. We can say that putting effort into things is bad, but not all "effort" is bad. I heard a pastor say that this weekend, and I loved that. He said we all try to get away from anything that involves work and effort and we don't need to get away from it completely, because effort in life is actually a good thing. Things have to get done, bills have to be paid as our parents all say. However, I don't love forcing myself to physically exert energy when I'm not enjoying it. I would love to read studies about the affects of that on one's body to see if there would be any harm in that. Now! While I don't love the idea of forcing myself to physically exert energy, I do see a high importance and gain in exercising, so there must be a way to connect the two.

I remember a few times in my life where I have connected the two and really loved it. Even though I haven't been to the gym all year long there have been times in my life where going to the gym was a regular part of my daily existence and some of those times I actually did enjoy it. In college my roommates randomly decided to run a half marathon that was the week before graduation. As if we weren't busy enough preparing for finals, graduation, and saying goodbye to all of our friends, we decided to train for and run a half marathon. What were we thinking?! As crazy as that time was, it was actually really fun! I barely trained for the half marathon adequately, but knowing I was going to have to run 13 miles did make me go for runs with friends beforehand. I think that time of running gave me the physical and emotional energy to get through all of the other things we had to get through at the time. I love the way running and exercising consistently made me feel!

Training for that half marathon was also fun because I was doing it with all of my friends. If I would have signed up for that race by myself, you can best believe I would have canceled and not ever even trained or showed up for the race! It didn't hurt that my roommates were all training with me and also my boyfriend at the time-- now husband. My "training runs" with Ben beforehand were practically a joke looking back at it, but I can say it was one of the most fun memories I have of that last semester! I remember one time during our training run Ben picked me up over his shoulders and ran one mile straight as fast as he could with me thrown over his shoulders! I've definitely noticed for me there are two factors that make exercising really fun: doing it with friends as I just said and the type and place that I exercise. Fun really is my solution to exercising, really. It kind of takes away the whole not really feeling like putting on my work out clothes for anything other than lounging around the house and making myself feel better about NOT exercising.  I used to do that all of the time! I would dress up in workout clothes with  my tennis shoes and everything, honestly just to make myself feel better I think! Ha. I did it in college as well as a sort of excuse for not putting on a cute outfit but looking like I had gotten something done that day! Ha. I don't do that anymore. I also never experience that feeling of dread with not wanting to exercise. My solution for that is to exercise for fun. That sounds really, um, not very intelligent. But, for me it's definitely different than the usual mindset I have on exercising.

Exercising for fun means going on a hike with Lucy and Ben on a bright Saturday morning. Now, we don't live in a place now where we can go on hikes regularly-- but we will soon, since we have a big move coming up!! However, when we have gone to visit places that we can go on hikes, we love to go on hikes. When we visit Seaside in Florida, we always take advantage of their bikes and we ride bikes around the town-- which honestly feels like a little slice of heaven! It does not feel like effort or work whatsoever! We don't bike or hike for exercising, we bike to have a fun little moment together. We also love swimming in the ocean. While we are having fun together we are also getting all of the benefits of exercise and that natural vitamin D that I love so much! Another really simple way to do this is going for a walk. I realize I may be picky, but where we have lived in Georgia there aren't any places to go on hikes or swim that I really love the scenery of. So I did try to start incorporate walks. Walks are something you can do anywhere and everywhere. I try to make the walk about being in the present moment. I purpose to  take in all of the sights and sounds and smells. I frequently stop and look at the flowers, the trees, the bushes that I normally would walk right past. I don't focus on swinging my arms and having a "brisk pace." I focus on the present moment and being grateful, and without even realizing it, I'm getting the benefits of exercising. I focus on relaxing, on breathing, and on being thankful. I simply just focus on being alive and in turn it makes me feel-- alive.

I hope all of your weeks are going well and you are living guilt free, alive to all of the purpose and fullness that is available to us all! 

Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.
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