Once upon a time, when I was an undergraduate, I used to live within walking distance of work. So every day I would walk a brisk 1.2 miles there and 1.2 miles back, never needing to visit the gym.
And then I graduated from college, moved to the suburbs, and stopped walking to work. I gained a little weight because I wasn’t exercising as much, was drinking more, and still eating like the five year old I am at heart.
So I decided to do something about it. But as I recently wrote about, exercise bores me and so I had to put some real motivation into this decision. It wasn’t easy, I assure you.
In my first few weeks of regular exercise I have learned:
- That pushing yourself too hard is a real thing. Don’t do it. Start slow, even if you’re just walking.
- That having something to read or watch helps motivate me. If I’m just listening to music I will eventually get bored and want to stop too soon. I have to keep my brain as active as possible.
- That a different part of my body will be sore every day, sometimes in places I didn’t know could be. But it will also feel good.
- That I need to drink more water. Otherwise I will get dizzy and or feel like there’s a stitch in my side.
- That my body seems to have a natural equilibrium weight, a place where it wants to be. I adjusted back to it more quickly than anticipated.
- That what works for some people does NOT work for everyone. Don’t take advice from non-professionals about what you should or should not be doing. They’re most often wrong because our bodies are all different.
- That consuming alcohol is like drinking the equivalent calories of a chocolate chip cookie. Make sure you really know what you want.
- That it is ok to take a rest day. Listen to your body and what it’s telling you it needs.
- That yoga is really good for helping stretch the muscles in my feet that unexpectedly seize up sometimes and cause me extreme pain.