Some of you may cheer, while others will groan at the thought of implementing exercise into a daily (or weekly) routine. Lest you turn away now, let me be clear: this post isn’t about losing weight. It isn’t about building muscle and getting rid of ‘flab’ or the baby belly. Nope.
Rather, this post is about exercising for health‘s sake.
“Uhm…exactly what do you mean?”
Just this: in our culture, exercise often has to do with the two aforementioned purposes: weight loss or muscle tone. Did you know there is another reason to exercise?
I didn’t! Until recently, that is. Allow me to make this a personal post and share my story with you!
A PERSONAL STORY
I believe in exercise, that our bodies were designed to move, work and perspire. Sitting around 24/7 is actually quite hard on us over time. Why? Because we weren’t designed to just sit. When I found myself working an office job, I knew it was time to implement a regular exercise routine!
When I became sick with Lyme disease, that routine came to screeching halt. I just couldn’t. It took several years of treatments before I felt even an inkling of energy.
As I began improving, I attempted to re-implement half (only one half) of my normal exercise routine. Day one, two and three would pass with extreme effort. By the time I’d reach day 4 or 5, a fatigue collapse would occur and I would find myself unable to complete even the simplest household chores. It didn’t matter how hard I tried: I couldn’t maintain a daily exercise routine!
Finally, I threw my hands in the air and gave up. I quit! This was no way to live life! If I exercised, I felt exhausted and grumpy, too tired to visit friends, to be happy when my husband came home, to keep a good home.
I began to realize the energy I had was needed for leading a balanced lifestyle, complete with times of refreshing, friendships and running a household.
Goodbye exercise routine!
I resolved to focus on leading a balanced lifestyle. That was what mattered most!
A RETURNING DESIRE
Over the course of the past year, my desire for regular exercise returned. While attending the health center that helped me gain control over adrenal fatigue and my disease, I told them about this and how I always burnt out. Would I ever be able to exercise again?
“You must find your starting point!”
“Yes sir, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do for the past 4 years of my life. I can’t find it. How does one find their starting point?”
“Think smaller. If you can’t consistently do the same workout for at least 8 weeks, you’re doing too much. Begin with 5 minutes a day, if necessary.”
I readily confess there was one word in my mind! L-A-M-E! What good would 5 minutes of exercise do for my health?
And yet? My way wasn’t working! So I followed their advice.
As I did, things began to click. My perspective on exercise began to change as I found a ‘normal routine’ for myself.
EXERCISE ACCORDING TO THE BODY’S NEED
Exercise is often equated with ‘pushing’ ourselves. Going hard. About being consistent even when we’re tired.
Gals, I had to throw this mentality out the window! Instead, I began listening to my body.
In so doing…I found my starting point! Unlike the workout videos of the past that kept me tied to a screen, I moved outside the house, implementing exercise into my morning chore routine.
After hauling food and water to our birds, my legs travel a 15-20 minute loop in the country.
It’s not about speed or pushing myself. It’s about being in the fresh air. Catching sunshine (or rain!). Loosening tight muscles. Pumping my lymph glands. Jiggling the food in my gut.
I get to observe the world around me. Sometimes, I pause and let myself be amused by squirrels frisking on the old pine tree, watch whitetail deer run through the fields, observe sparrows bathing in a puddle on the road.
It quiets my soul to stop and observe creation. Somehow, worries seem smaller, life is richer and I am reminded of the God who cares for even a sparrow! Today, my exercise routine refreshes and recharges me!
While I love my ‘workout’ routine, I always try to live in light of my body’s need.
Between life’s circumstances and the ebb and flow of health issues, I sometimes find myself too weary to walk. Sometimes, I need is a down day instead! In these moments I don’t pressure myself. After all, exercise is about health and well being, not setting records!
I’ll return to my routine when this ‘ole body tells me it would be a good thing for my overall health.
YOUR EXERCISE PLAN?
That’s my experience with exercise! Listening to the body is important. Finding a starting point is essential, as if keeping it simple, enjoyable.
Do you know how to listen to your body?
Have you pushed yourself too hard? Is it taking from the quality of life you live? Are you in a season where rest is necessary? Hey, we all hit those times!
Perhaps (like me), you’ve given up? Found hard-core exercise to be too overwhelming in light of your energy levels and life’s daily demands? Could it be that you don’t need to wave goodbye, only need to bring exercise down in intensity? Where is your starting point?
Want to move on to part 7? Let’s talk about the food we eat!