On Day 2 of this challenge I made two lists. The first was a list of reasons to exercise, the second a list of reasons I don’t. As teachers we were always encouraged to be reflective of what we and the students we taught had learnt. Looking back at my list of reasons not to exercise, here’s what I’ve learnt over the last 97 days:
I don’t have time: well, clearly this is not true because for 30 minutes every day for the last 97 days I’ve found the time; I’ve made the time. Exercise doesn’t always fit neatly into the day and at times it is a downright nightmare to coordinate exercise around life. I’ve also had to make compromises and do less somewhere else, to prioritise exercise over something else in my day. Time doesn’t magically appear but you can find time to exercise – if you want to. I didn’t want to before but I do now.
I’m not good at it: of course I wasn’t. Why would I be good at something I never made the effort to be good at? I’ve had to fight my internal need to be amazing at something first time and “win” but the exciting part of the last 97 days has been seeing the progress I’ve made and watching my body “get good” at exercise.
I don’t have the necessary equipment: what, like a body? Legs and arms and (somewhere) abs? I don’t have those things? Actually, I’m really lucky because I do have the necessary equipment and it’s in good working order (most of the time) and recognising that and not taking it for granted has been an important part of my motivation.
I can’t afford it: nearly all the exercise I’ve done in the last 97 days has been either free or very low cost, especially running. I’ve had to spend money on the classes I’ve been to but I think the benefits of a shared experience and qualified instructor can’t be underestimated. Also, the £6 I spent on a Bounce! class replaced the £6 I would have spent on a bottle of wine that night.
It’s boring: yes… sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s really boring and repetitive but if it is then it’s not the right exercise. Having tried many different types of exercise over the last 97 days, I’ve found things I like, things I don’t, things that challenge me, things that bore me. Not all exercise suits all people and finding a match is like finding a new friend – one who makes you feel good about yourself so you enjoy seeing them a few times a week.
It’s too hard: then you’re not doing it right. Or you need to find a different type. It should be hard and it should challenge you – but if it’s too hard then keep looking because it should be fun too.
It hurts: see above. Achy muscles are okay, pain is not. I think the idea of exercise hurt more than the actual exercise 97 days ago – once I started I realised this was just another wall I’d built around exercise to stop me bothering.
I’d rather eat cake and drink wine: still mostly true. But now I eat cake and drink wine without feeling guilty. I also eat cake and drink wine when I want to not because I’m exhausted and need to or am stressed and need to. I’m more in control and can use exercise to regulate my mood rather than food and drink.
So here we are on Day 97 and it looks like I’ve run out of excuses not to exercise now.