I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who and what in my life is an incessant draw on my energy. Health conscious friends and professionals always advise us to manage our stress levels; stress increases the hormone cortisol, and cortisol can overpower just about everything, from your sleep schedule to your weight loss goals and appetite.
I’ve always thought that the five people with whom you spend the most time are the best reflection of yourself. If, for example, your closest friends and family members, or co-workers, are always down-trodden, stressed out, depressed, and negative, I’d wager that it is highly unlikely that you are peppy and positive.
Exercise makes me feel good. It is how I cope with my own stress. (The other “Fabulous Five” coping strategies people tend to exhibit are: eating, drinking/smoking, shopping, loafing, and sex.) If I don’t get to exercise, I feel agitated and trapped. Exercise is my life-long habit.
I look forward to exercising.
What an advantage I must have over most Americans, who view exercise as a chore, an unwanted necessity, and a draw on (rather than a contribution to) their energy.
If this is your view of exercise, then you need to restructure your understanding of exercise.
Little kids are hard-wired for exercise. You let them outside to play, and they throw themselves all over the ground, climb trees, jump rope, play ball, and wrestle. When they are done, they sleep hard and well. The next day, they’re back at it. Wow, kids have a lot of energy.
To adults, exercising isn’t like playing. It’s a chore. It’s 30 minutes of “cardio” on an elliptical machine, and then some obligatory sets of weights. What for?
Change your view of exercise. Change your reason for doing it; it’s not about losing weight. It’s about feeling better.
Don’t think of exercise in terms of negative: “How much can I lose? How many calories can I burn? How much smaller can I make myself?” Turn it around. Exercise should augment your life: “How strong can I be today? How high can I jump? How many minutes can I run? How many pounds can I lift? What new direction can I test?”
The glass is always half full.
If your glass is empty, start pouring exercise into it. You’ll feel better. But you have to do it for the right (that is, positive) reasons.