About a year and a half ago, I gave up running. I was no marathoner—three or four mile jaunts were my max, and I hit a 10-minute mile if I was lucky.
I quit because I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, and NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS: exercise and enjoyment should go hand in hand.
Some people would argue the two are mutually exclusive. They’re not. You shouldn’t do exercise you hate. Period. I don’t care if Jillian Michaels or Shaun T. or anyone else says otherwise. Put yourself on a punishing exercise (and/or diet) routine, and you will not sustain it. And what good is an exercise routine if you can’t keep it up?
For me, the enjoyment factor is all about avoiding routine. If I do the same exercise for too long—I get bored-beyond-belief. So it was with running.
In its place I’ve done a lot of different physical activities over the past couple years—aerial yoga, walking, bike riding, cardio circuits, spinning … and so on. What I do depends on how I feel, what interests me, how the weather looks, which way the wind blows—whatever.
This week, I’ve picked up running again. After such a long hiatus, I’m digging the heart-pounding, sweat-streaming morning treks. Will I keep it up forever? Probably not. Will I run a marathon? Not likely. Will I set a personal record? No chance.
When it comes to moving my body, I like doing different things and exploring new ways to move and being outside and ENJOYING MYSELF.
Some people are die-hard runners, or Crossfitters or weight trainers, and that’s awesome—as long as they love their exercise of choice and it isn’t some form of self-punishment.
The key is doing what you like and not listening to all the chatter telling you what or how or when you should be moving your bod.
If the idea of doing Crossfit or running or spinning three times a week for the rest of your life makes you miserable, you’ve chosen wrong. Get back to the drawing board.
Our bodies were meant to move, and there are infinite ways they can do so. There are no rules saying we have to do this or that or spend hours at the stuffy, stinky gym. We can spend an hour jumping on a trampoline, kayaking a river or walking in the park. We can go for a swim in our friend’s pool. We can climb a tree (my fave). There are infinite options.
Just remember, if you hate exercise, you’re doing it wrong. By “wrong”, I mean you haven’t found what moves you (literally and figuratively).
Keep looking, keep exploring, keep trying new things—and don’t be afraid to quit anything you’re not into. Hence my on-again, off-again running relationship. Call me fickle if you must, but life is too short to do stuff you hate.