Some of you may cheer, while others will groan at the thought of implementing exercise into a daily (or weekly) routine. Lest you turn away now, let me be clear: this post isn’t about losing weight. It isn’t about building muscle and getting rid of ‘flab’ or the baby belly. Nope.
Rather, this post is about exercising for health‘s sake.
In our culture, exercise often has to do with the two aforementioned purposes: weight loss or muscle tone. Did you know there is another reason to exercise?
I didn’t! Until recently, that is. Allow me to share part of my story with you!
A PERSONAL STORY
I believe in exercise, that our bodies were designed to move, work and perspire. That sitting around 24/7 is actually quite hard on us over time.
When I became sick with Lyme disease, my workout routine came to screeching halt. I just couldn’t. It took several years of treatments before I felt even an inkling of energy.
As I began improving, I attempted to re-implement half (only one half) of my normal exercise routine. Day one, two and three would pass with extreme effort. By the time I’d reach day 4 or 5, a fatigue collapse would occur. I’d find myself unable to complete even the simplest of household chores.
It didn’t matter how hard I tried: I couldn’t maintain a daily exercise routine!
Finally, I threw my hands in the air and gave up.
If I exercised, I felt exhausted and grumpy. Too tired to connect with friend, to engage with my husband, to manage home and personal life in a healthy manner.
Slowly, the sad truth dawned on me: I needed every bit of available energy lead a balanced lifestyle.
And so I quit. Gave up. Waved goodbye to the body I wanted and my exercise routine. Instead, I chose the things that were essential.
A RETURNING DESIRE
As my health continued to improve, a desire for exercise slowly returned. While attending the health center that helped me gain control over adrenal fatigue and my disease, I told them about all this. And how I always burnt out. Would I ever be able to exercise again?
“You must find your starting point!”
“Yes sir, that’s the problem! I haven’t been able to find it!”
“Think smaller. If you can’t consistently do the same workout for at least 8 weeks, you’re doing too much. Begin with 5 minutes a day, if necessary.”
One word came to my mind at that point: L-A-M-E! What good would 5 minutes of exercise do for my health? And yet my way hadn’t worked. Why not try theirs?
As I began to implement a few minutes of exercise into my day, things began to click. My perspective on working out began to change. And I finally found a ‘normal routine’ for myself!
EXERCISE ACCORDING TO THE BODY’S NEED
All too often exercise is equated with ‘pushing’ ourselves. Going hard. About being consistent even when we’re tired and sore.
Gals, I had to throw this mentality out the window! Instead, I began listening to my body.
In so doing…I found my starting point!
Unlike the workout videos of the past that kept me tied to a screen, I moved outside the house. And after completing my morning chores, I walk.
It’s not about pushing myself, but rather, about being in the fresh air. Catching sunshine, rain or snow. Loosening tight muscles. Pumping my lymph glands. Jiggling the food in my gut.
I get to observe the world around me. Sometimes I pause and let myself be amused by squirrels frisking in the old fir tree, whitetail deer running through the fields, observe sparrows bathing in a puddle on the road.
It quiets my soul to slow down and observe creation. Somehow, worries seem smaller, life is richer and I am reminded of the God who cares for even the animals!
Today, my exercise routine refreshes and recharges me!
While I love my ‘workout’ routine, I always try to live in light of my body’s need.
Between life’s circumstances and the reality of living health issues, I occasionally find myself too weary to walk. In these moments I don’t pressure myself. Sometimes, I need a nap instead of exercise. And I’m finally ok with that!
WHERE ARE YOU AT?
Do you know how to listen to your body? Or do you push yourself too hard? In your drive and determination, are you keeping yourself from leading a quality life?
Perhaps (like me), you’ve given up? Found exercise to be too overwhelming in light of your energy levels and life’s daily demands?
Some of you are in a season of rest. Other should be but aren’t. And I’m willing to wager there’s a number of us that still need to find our starting point.
What’s yours going to be?
Be sure to join me for part 7 where we talk about the food we eat!