…and I’m not saying anyone has to exercise. Goodness knows a lot of the “Exercise Shoulds” do nothing but spoil the party. But as I’ve tried to let go of the Shoulds and exercise for my own reasons, I’m discovering some things I didn’t expect.
- I’m generally sleeping better.
- Less low back pain.
- Walking or aerobics tends to get rid of my nervous energy; I find weight lifting and yoga both help me meditate. Both cause stress to dissipate.
- I often get semi-“alone time” with some favorite tunes.
- I usually have a warm, relaxed feeling after a workout.
My muscles get warmed up and feel happier, though I wouldn’t call it a “runner’s high”. Perhaps that’s because I’m not a runner. Or, to quote someone who was a runner and eventually a racewalker:
I’d spent the previous two decades ingesting various mood-altering substances, and I damn well knew what it was to be high, and that you couldn’t manage it by running around in circles.
Lawrence Block wrote that in his engaging memoir Step by Step. I certainly don’t have grounds to disagree with the man. :)
I also want to note that feeling good when exercising is only something I’ve found when I’m choosing to exercise, myself — not when I’ve been pushed to exercise (by teachers, by parents, by other relatives). Let’s face it, it’s hard to feel GOOD when you’re feeling BAD about not losing weight. If your emotions are on overload you may not necessarily notice how your body feels when moving around.
What about you? If you choose to exercise, do you find yourself reaping benefits you didn’t expect?