“But, I don’t feel like it.” This is the first in a series of articles that will focus on and dissect the many excuses and reasons we tell ourselves to avoid exercising, and how to overcome our blocks, fears, lack of motivation and to inspire ourselves to keep striving to live a healthier lifestyle.
After my mom passed away in July 2017, the last thing I wanted to do was to move…I mean move my body, get-up-off-the-couch kind of move. I am a personal trainer. I knew the best thing for me was to move. I practice what I preach by leading an active lifestyle and I read and research all there is to find on the positives of exercising and moving. Not only do I know how good it is for our bodies, I know there are at least just as many benefits to our brains. I can tell you that exercise is as effective, and studies show even more effective, than anti-depressants. That’s a big deal!
Yet, knowing all of this, I still was in such a sad, depressed state that none of that mattered and wasn’t enough to get me going. Now, I do understand that the grieving process is different for everyone, but there is a fundamental process that we all go through when dealing with such emotions as a death, a divorce, a job, or any significant loss of something or someone that was important to us. I knew that this feeling of not wanting to do anything was a normal process in my situation. What I noticed however, was that the more I sat and didn’t do anything physically, the worse I started to feel
After a few days of feeling listless, I decided to take this feeling of not knowing what to do with myself and channel the restlessness I was experiencing into a short walk to get breath of fresh air. Even though the last thing in the world I wanted to do was to go out for a walk, I wanted some part of my usual routine. I laced up my tennis shoes and out the door I went. I ended up doing my full two-mile loop with hills and all. The knowledge of my years of training and research had started to gnaw at me. More than that though, my body was trying to tell me something… and I listened. Sitting around was not good for me. Breathing the fresh air, working my lungs, absorbing the waning sunlight on my skin, visually changing my scenery and taking in the outdoor views, changed my mindset just a little bit. But that little bit did wonders for me. It got the blood flowing with vital oxygen to my cells to revitalize and regenerate my mind and body.
Just being outside is scientifically proven to increase serotonin levels, the feel-good, make-you-happier neurotransmitter which, among many other benefits, improves emotional stability, reduces stress, and regulates mood. Exercise also increases serotonin levels, so the benefits of being active outside are compounded and those two things pack a mighty punch when it comes to our well-being. Turns out, the last thing I wanted to do was actually the best thing I could do for myself at that moment. It made me think of how many people don’t feel like exercising and don’t actually do it.
The problem with that is the more and longer you stay away from it, the easier it is to keep staying away. The more often you get going, the easier it is to keep going. Think inertia and Newton’s two law of physics: A body at rest stays at rest. A body in motion stays in motion. I think this is why I couldn’t, and didn’t, stay on my couch too long. I just know how good it is for us to move our bodies. And sometimes, when you just don’t feel like it in your head, your body speaks to your brain to tell it to “get going, you need this, go do this now and you will feel better.” Help yourself help yourself. Listen to your body, even when you don’t feel like it. After you do, you will be happier, and in a better frame of mind. Let go of your “but, I don’t feel like it.” Start small, maybe with just a walk around the block. You really do want to. Take my word for it. You will feel better for it. The more you do it, the more you will start to feel like doing it. No “buts” about it!
Supporter for your health,