I’ve been struggling with my motivation and enjoyment of exercise for awhile now. I started out 4 years ago hating it and learned to love it. But last year I started having back issues and then I fell and got that concussion and I haven’t felt thrilled about exercising for awhile. Being in pain makes it lame. I can’t do the things I was doing before so easily and constantly worry that whatever I do or don’t do will make it worse. Then the whole concussion thing just slowed me down even more.
Oh, I’ve been exercising, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been dragging myself to the gym and doing the damn thing.
In a way, I feel like exercise and I are an old married couple who need to get our spark back. We need some new toys or new setting… maybe some role-playing? Yeah, getting your heart rate up is pretty good and helps with stress whether it’s all that thrilling or not, but this thing used to be hot and steamy and fun! I need to get back to that. We’re too young to give up on passion, exercise! Stella needs to get her groove back.
Some things are off the table right now and I’ve decided to accept this and get over it. I will not be running or lifting heavy weights anytime in the near future. However, I’m also tired of worrying about the whole back pain thing. I’ve been chasing my tail on that and not getting anywhere. If nothing I do seems to make any difference, why not just do what I want? So that’s what I’m doing.
I quit my gym and joined a different one. One that has BodyPump. When I really think about what I have enjoyed most in terms of exercise, BodyPump always rises to the top of the list. I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea or not as far as the whole back pain thing goes, but I went back to my first class in over a year 3 weeks ago. Oh, I was sore for days afterward. But I went back the next week and it was much better. I’m hoping to work back up to 2-3 days a week. This was the most exciting exercise I’d done for a long time.
Come to think of it, I just don’t really like regular weight lifting. It’s boring. I hate resting between sets. I hate counting. It’s repetitive. I know, I know, it’s all the rage, but you know what, if I don’t enjoy it, I won’t keep doing it. So maybe this back pain thing is a blessing in disguise in some way, it’s reminding me to be true to myself. That’s about as positive as I can get about the whole thing.
Next, I realized, I’m kind of sick of being in a gym. Sure, I still manage to get some enjoyment out of the music on my headphones while slogging it out on the elliptical or stair climber. And thankfully, my new gym has a ton more cardio equipment than my old one, so there’s more variety. But the reality is, I want to be outside! And I live in California where the weather is almost always tolerable, unless it’s pouring rain, so what’s stopping me?
Last week, instead of the gym a few nights, I went for walks. I walked around my neighborhood which is beautiful and peaceful. I live close enough to a hilly area where I can get some up and down hills for variety. So, I’m not jogging anymore, but that’s okay. I enjoy walking and I feel like it does my mind good to be outside. It’s beautiful out there. It smells good.
On Friday, instead of hitting the gym, I stopped at a park across the street from my work and hiked around it. I enjoyed these walks and hikes much more than I’ve enjoyed the gym for ages. It feels good to breathe the air instead of being inside with all the sweaty people.
Then on Saturday morning, I found my new yoga studio. Why do I wait so long to do these things? Yoga is the other physical activity that always comes up when I think about what I really enjoy. I can’t wait to really get back into my yoga practice. I have a ton of old posts about yoga on my blog if you’d like to read some of my thoughts about it. Hint: I’m a big fan.
So there it is. In less than one month, Exercise and I have completely renewed and reinvented our relationship. Instead of drudging along doing exercise I wasn’t really enjoying anymore, I have three new activities to explore: my new gym and BodyPump, Hiking, and Yoga. I feel excited to exercise again! I’m imagining getting up and having a nice long walk before work or an early yoga class, Saturday mornings on my yoga mat followed by brunch and coffee at the outdoor cafe and the farmers market when it starts back up, finding new places in my area to walk and hike (so many!), trying new group classes at the gym, and so much more!
As always, you have to keep changing and adapting to make things work for you. What was great yesterday may lose its appeal over time. This is okay! We can decide to try different things. You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again if you’re tired of it. There are so many options, find the ones that appeal to who you are today.