I know I’m giving a little bit of mixed messages with this post compared to my last post “Relaxation Required” where I emphasized the importance of taking breaks from the daily grind to avoid burnout. In the realm of exercise and fitness, I’ve found that for the most part, the reverse seems to be true. Exercise isn’t just for getting your body stronger and healthier; it is also a great boost for a sense of peace, well-being, and mental strength. These benefits, however, only remain present for about as long as the exercise regimen lasts.
I honestly think the hardest thing for a fitness regime is physically getting up. Whether it be up from bed, from your desk at work, or up off the couch, physically moving yourself into the vertical position is the first, and ultimately hardest step. Just like Newton’s first law of motion roughly states: an object persists in its state of rest or motion and will remain as such unless acted upon by another force. The same general concept can be applied to working out. It’s a lot easier to keep moving once you’ve gotten up, rather than trying to convince yourself of all the reasons you should get up all the while not budging an inch.
Once I get up, be it off the couch or my bed, I already feel the momentum I need to start. Even if I just get a 15 minute walk or HIIT session in, I’ve at least accomplished something. Now don’t get me wrong, keeping the momentum going doesn’t mean I do anything crazy. If I’m sick or really not feeling well I don’t go for an all-in, extra intense, feel the burn for the next week kind of workout. I set limits that are reasonable and achievable. Simply getting out of bed and walking to the fridge to get some water on those days is enough; as long as it’s something.
I will admit that some days the last thing I want to do is workout. Sometimes, after a long day at work I just want to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. What has begun to stop me, however, is looking forward to the long term. Will this one night of good reading be what I remember a month from now, while I’m still struggling to get momentum and the strong body I want? No. But if I get home and decide to workout, even if I’ve had a bad day and I’m exhausted, I will remember the effort I’ve put into this journey and will be able to feel proud of how hard I’ve worked.
For myself, it’s not about always having the best workout or always hitting personal bests. Instead, it’s just about showing up and putting in the effort. At the end of the day, if I try the best I can with how I feel at the time, that’s enough for me.