Tag Archives: Personal Post

A (prose) Ode to Exercise

7 Oct

I stubbed my little toe this week. Like, REALLY stubbed it. Prettyyy badly. I think I may even have broken it! But what are little toes good for, anyway? They are so useless, and do nothing but get caught where they shouldn’t be and constantly causing pain. Bleh.

But this is not the first misfortune I’ve faced the last few weeks. I have somehow managed to burn my right index finger on two different occasions when grabbing things out of the oven. I sliced into my thumb with one of those fancy new knives I raved about receiving a few posts back while cutting through a bell pepper. Though it was not my fault, I also got my foot landed on during Ultimate practice the other Tuesday, causing it to be badly bruised along the edge. I mean really, the list just goes on and on. My recent bouts of clumsiness have gotten me analyzing my daily routine, especially my exercise regimen, to try and find answers.

When we first moved to Seattle, I worked out every single day in the gym. I would alternate between the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bicycle 3 days a week for cardio, and I at least lifted weights almost every single day.  I wasn’t looking for a job yet, as I was planning my wedding. Working out, especially first thing in the morning, as I was, really left me in much better shape than I seem to be finding myself in these days. I felt productive, useful, attractive, and whatever else is the very opposite of lazy. It really supercharged me for the day and made me more motivated for and productive at other tasks. And plus, weightlifting is so fantastically beneficial for our bodies. I ate guiltlessly during that period of time, because my body was burning more calories when resting due to the increase in muscle mass (because that’s what happens when you lift weights, and why it’s better for your body in the long run than just doing cardio).

When we moved to our permanent apartment, I became bogged down with setting up the apartment, unpacking, wedding planning, and many other things required in when moving states. I also did not like the gym at our apartment complex as much – it’s small, the weight machines are old and oddly difficult to use, etc. You know, the usual excuses. Therefore, for various reasons, I found myself no longer going to the gym. In fact, I quit working out altogether for a few weeks before we started playing Ultimate.

Ultimate Frisbee is probably the greatest sport ever. I am convinced it requires more running than Soccer; in soccer, there are down times where people aren’t running as much, but in Ultimate, everyone has to run non-stop the entire time. You’re running on offense trying to break from your defender to help your team get the disc to your goal, and if it gets dropped and turned over to the other team, then you immediately have to run just as hard on defense to work to get it back. It requires so much stamina and quick recovery. And because you’re running for almost 2 hours straight, your leg muscles begin to grow intensely and quite rapidly. It is better than any weightlifting you could probably do for your legs.

Now, while it was great and all that I was getting my cardio and leg workout, I wasn’t lifting weights and the work I had done in my arms was beginning to disappear, as they are not so aptly utilized in the sport. At first, I was sore for DAYS from Ultimate; my body didn’t know what hit it. And so, from there, I also fell out of the routine of lifting weights. I gave my all to Ultimate one day a week, and that became that. I’ve also started arduously job hunting, which keeps me couped up at my computer for 4-5 hours each morning. Then it’s lunch time and I’m hungry and (most often emotionally) exhausted from job searching/applying that I just want to relax, and thus end up BACK at the computer.

BUT, in addition to this, I’ve also recently given up my morning cup of coffee cold turkey. I felt dependent on it, and I didn’t like it. I am feeling like this may also be the cause of my recent absentmindedness, because said absentmindedness was not present until after I quit drinking coffee. But I digress.

It seems that I’ve forgotten how AMAZING weightlifting is, and I am resolving to start it up again. It heals your body and betters posture. It allows you to burn more calories at rest (and thus, lose more fat). It makes you more confident and thus, better able to handle the stresses of everyday life (of which I find many, being so prone to anxiety). But most importantly, for me, I just loved that energized feeling so early in the morning. As of right now, I have little desire or motivation to do the things I really enjoy doing, much less the things I enjoy doing even less (like the laundry). But I KNOW that if I could just drag myself down to the gym again and get back in the routine of lifting weights each morning, my attitude would be much improved.

I feel like living proof that exercise is a major cure for depression. When I don’t exercise enough, I am stressed beyond imagination, sad, and of a very angry disposition. When I get lots of exercise, I am so much more happy and pleasant. I need it. I’ve needed it my whole life. And you know what? It’s never too late for anyone else to start doing it, or to even start needing it, as well. We live in so stationary of a society – work is often so stressful that all anyone wants to do in their spare time is sit around some more, “relaxing” by watching movies or TV or playing games, or what have you. But exercise, instead of being considered draining, should come to be viewed as revitalizing. I know for a fact it is far more beneficial and rejuvenating than sitting and watching TV, which will only make one more tired. But get up, go out, and run for even just 10 minutes, and I guarantee you will find more energy at the end of it than you know what to do with. Even as a very active person, I still struggle at times to drag myself outside of my cozy apartment for some physical activity, but in those times I just constantly repeat in my head how much better it will be for me in the long run, even though I may not feel like doing it right now. It’s a sick cycle, and it can often be hard to break, but I have the utmost confidence that ANYONE could do it, so long as they tried hard. And it takes courage to try hard, especially in the face of what may be, for some, imminent failure. But you know what? That will make you an even stronger person, too – stronger than ANY amount of weight you could manage to bench press.

I will step off my inspirational soap-box now, since I’m feeling a bit better about everything. I am resolving to lift weights again, and it feels good. I already started by going the other night and doing what I could for my arms (which are still quite sore today). I couldn’t do legwork thanks to that nuisance toe of mine, but something was definitely better than nothing. I look forward to the benefits it’s going to bring. 🙂