Monday, January 2, 2012

Exercising in 2012 (What's Your Excuse?)

Photo Source: Alantankenghoe

I know it's that dreaded "E" word.  The problem is that it really shouldn't be something we dread or cringe each time we hear it.  Exercise is such a wonderful gift we have been given, one that is overlooked.  Not anymore.  Exercising is 2012 is about taking advantage of what we do have, what we can control. 

Less than a year ago I was sitting in a room with a counselor discussing my struggles with depression after a third miscarriage AND my constant battle with anxiety.   My counselor made sure to point out that depression and anxiety are two very different things but sometimes the treatments for both may be similar.  At the time I was trying to switch anxiety medications and was having a really hard time.  For various reasons other than just the medication I was having a lot of stomach pains, anxiety, depression, and other physical ailments.  Emotionally I was a wreck and common tasks like eating were a struggle.  I had become a hermit in a few short weeks.  My counselor had suggested that whether or not I was on medications to help with my anxiety and depression one of the most important things I could do (I being the important word for someone with anxiety) was to make sure I was getting an adequate amount of exercise in.  Not feeling helpless is key to duking it out with my anxiety.  The problem lie in the fact that it physically hurt to sit up for too long let alone getting out of the house to do anything.

Luckily I was blessed with an amazing husband who strongly encouraged me to push through the pain, a little at a time.  I would go sit at the table and work on a puzzle for X amount of minutes.  I would take a walk around the block regardless of the cold weather.  The steps were small but it was amazing how much a short walk helped me physically and emotionally.

I'm not always in such a low state but like many exercise always seems like such a chore.  "I'm too busy.  I'm too tired.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  It hurts to exercise.  I hurt after I exercise.  It's not fun.  People are judging me while I exercise.  I often don't feel very well.  It's cold outside.  The gym is too far away. I don't have anyone to exercise with."  Etc. Etc. Etc.  Ya I use those excuses too. 

That's where exercise becomes an oxymoron.  Sometimes exercise will hurt or we may be tired but the way to get more energy yes even sometimes how to overcome pain is to exercise.  Starting before Thanksgiving I had started training to run a 5K with a friend.  Small I know but it was a goal.  Three times a week we would run for a minute and walk for a minute, 8 times with a warm up and cool down.  It took about 45 minutes.  Surprisingly those days that I ran I had a large increase in energy.  I was getting way more done on a day I exercised vs. one I didn't.  The first day or two I definitely hurt afterwards but that pain started going away the more I exercised.

Mentally, the thought of exercise can be daunting but if you just push that thought to the back for 30 minutes a world of difference can be found.

Currently I have been given exercise restrictions from my doctor and can't do anything more than walking.  I may not be able to burn huge amounts of calories or get my heart rate up.  That doesn't matter.  Walking is better than nothing.  Sometimes we are limited in what we can and can't do.  I just hope that when it comes to exercising in 2012 we do something to get the endorphins going.  Could it be hard?  Sure, but it won't always be.  In fact I find that in the end I'm a happier healthier person capable balancing quite a bit.

Truth be told.  I can't afford to not exercise.  Can you? 


  1. In short, no. Like you, I can't afford to not exercise.

    4 years ago, I spent more time in a car than on my feet. I was constantly tired and depressed. After moving to an urban area where I'm forced to walk 10 minutes to/from the train each day, I'm much more mentally present. I even *like* taking long walks now.

    Do you find you're more creative when you've been exercising?

  2. I totally do. Walking helps to clear my mind of all the crap, opening it up for inspiration to pour on in:)

  3. Great job Sarah! I exercise everyday. It is strange as you said if I don't that is when I feel the aches and pains. I use exercise to build my core, balance and strength. You might want to think of doing Yoga, for it benefits the autonomic system, all organs, relax, strengthens, the entire gamut. Keep taking baby steps. Good luck!

  4. Exercise is key to a healthy and happy body/person! I love both walking in the fresh air and yoga. Both help keep my body and mind in balance in this fast paced world!
    I am so happy you discovered the benefits of exercise Sarah! I agree sometimes we do need to give ourselves that extra push to keep up our exercise routine. Good luck with yours!! :D

  5. I definitely want to get more into yoga... when that is not on the restricted list. I've done it a few times and really enjoyed it.

  6. Absolutely, exercise is a must. I walk my dogs every day for 1 hour. I'm so lucky because I have the time to do it. I used to job daily when I worked full time, it was my destress and planning time. I hope to get back to jogging in 2012. Cheers

  7. Very true - I get so consumed with all the other things I do and make excuses