Friday, February 11, 2011

Because it makes me happy

There are a lot of reasons to run. It burns calories; it's good for the heart; it provides good training for darting after hyper kids or fleeing from purse-snatchers.

But the biggest reason I run? Because it makes me happy.

We hear all the time about how we should work out. But until I started running, I generally didn't stay consistent with exercise for longer than a few months at a time. Why? Because I didn't love it.

I think the "You should work out, and stick with it" message needs to be changed. Instead, try this on for size:

However long it takes, find a form of exercise that you love.

I don't even have to add "and stick with it" to the end of that sentence, because when you love it, motivation becomes so much less of a factor. I'm not motivated to run because I talk myself into it; I'm motivated to run because it makes me happy. Sure, some days it's harder than others. And I may some day let life get in the way, and find that I'm out of the habit. But I love running. I bet even if I get out of the habit, I'll end up getting back into it.

Have you found a type of exercise that makes you happy? If not, I have a suggestion. Try something new. Give yourself a specific length of time, however long you think it'll take to figure out if you love it or not (a month or six months or whatever.) Don't love it? Pick a new activity. Lather, rinse, repeat...until you find what you love.

What if five years down the line you've tried twelve different activities, and all you've discovered is that you really don't love running, cycling, Tae Kwon Do, Zoomba, circuit training, swimming, step aerobics, Wii Fit, Crossfit, boot camp, jump rope, or kickboxing? Well, you may not have found what you love, but you've been active. For five years.

And if you spend the rest of your life trying unsuccessfully to find new activities you love, at least you'll be healthy. But I bet that won't happen. I bet you'll find your niche.

I said I hated running. And yet I fell in love with it. Whatever your expectations are, I hope you'll give yourself a chance to find the form of exercise that makes you happy. We should exercise...but we might as well enjoy the process!

(I'm not sure if the guy next to me was breathing hard, or storing acorns for the winter...but I do know this was 11+ miles into the race, so when my husband wasn't taking a pic of me, I probably had some funny looks on my face too!)


Tia said...

I wish I loved it. I really do. I am currently hitting the gym frequently, and am about to try my first zumba class. We shall see.

Call Me Cate said...

As long as the guy behind you wasn't getting ready to spew on your shoes, it's all good.

You're right though - I've tried running several times. I don't like it. It's complete torture to me. I've found exercise that I can do, but I've yet to find anything I really love. As soon as I get my back straightened out, I think I'll take your advice and look or something I love.

Strength 4 Life Fitness said...

Yeah - that guy looks like he is ready to barf!
On this subject of loving what you do for exercise - I completely agree. How else will you stick with it? Will power, forcing yourself to do something you dislike/hate, and gritting your teeth through something will only get you so far.
At the end of the day it is about doing what you love.

SurvivorBlessing said...

Love running - have loved it for the past 15 years, on and off. But always get back to it! I think I was missing on setting goals like a 5K or even half-marathon.
For the moment, I am hooked (and hope I will be for a while).

Vixbil said...

Great inspiring post! I've fallen in love with running too, hated it at the beginning but love it now!!

Autumn in jeans said...

I like running... for the most part. I LOVE the feeling I get after running. My biggest problem is getting out and GOING instead of procrastinating (aka sleeping). I just need to square out some time and then RUN.

Love the acorn comment.