That is a pretty strong statement. “I hate to exercise.” Many people loathe the thought of getting off their couches, lacing up their sneaker’s shoe strings and putting one foot in front of the other.
From day one of my bipolar disorder diagnosis, I have been strongly urged to exercise. Whether it was to counteract the weight-gaining side effects of the medicines that I was on, or to help boost my mood during dark depressions, or to help channel my energy during a manic episode. In the end, exercise is important whether I hate to exercise or not.
I have to be honest with you that even to this day I think my endorphins are not working when I exercise. The endorphins are the feel-good chemicals in your brain that are jolted awake when you exercise. There have been so many times in the middle of an exercise session where I felt like crap. This feeling would stay with me to the end of the workout session. It had nothing to do with the attitude of “I hate to exercise”. I simply felt awful all over. I thought no amount of exercise could get me past this. I have even cried after I worked out. But after all that, I still believe there are benefits to exercising.
I like to exercise in the morning. When I exercise before I go to work at 9:00 a.m., I feel a sense of accomplishment. It feels as if the whole day is ahead of me and I am better prepared to face the ups and downs of the work day. I am in need of losing a lot of weight due to depression and medications. When I exercise, I feel better about myself and can see myself achieving my weight goals in the future. It becomes less “I hate to exercise” and more “what can exercise do for me”.
From “I Hate to Exercise” to “I Enjoy Exercising”
The key to turning that phrase “I hate to exercise” to “I enjoy exercising” is to find something you like to do. Do you like organized sports, aerobic classes, martial arts, having a personal trainer, going solo, or maybe a DVD? If you do not know, try them all to find what works for you. I have tried just about everything and have finally found some DVD’s that fit my preferences.
How much do you sit?
The thing is not about just getting 20, 30, 45 or even 60 minutes of exercise a day. That is great if you do! However, you must look at what you do with your entire day. How much of your day is spent sitting or being in one spot versus being active and moving around? Do you have a mainly sedentary job? Do you come home from work and plop down on the couch until you go to bed? Are you behind the wheel of a vehicle most of the day? Do you lie around reading all day or playing video or computer games? If this describes you, you need to move more even though you are carving out time to exercise.
Ways to Get Moving
To get a couple more footsteps in for the day do the following:
1. Park in the back part of the parking lot at work, the grocery store, the movie theatre, the coffee shop, etc.
2. Get up from your desk throughout the day and walk around the office or go outside to get some exercise.
3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. Walk to lunch.
5. Walk the dog.
6. Clean the house and vacuum.
7. Work in your garden.
8. Dance around the house.
9. Mow your own lawn.
10. During TV commercials do squats, leg lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, jump-n-jacks, walk in place, etc.
11. Stand up and walk while on the phone.
12. While watching your favorite movie, take breaks from sitting through the movie. (Don’t worry, the movie hasn’t changed since the last 30 times you have watched it.)
Just Get Moving!
Whatever you do, just get moving! If your attitude is “I hate to exercise”, then try just one of the suggestions mentioned above, at a time. Do it for a day, week or month. Then gradually add another suggestion. You can do this. You can get moving. Your body is worth it!