Exercise for People who Don't Exercise
My entire life, I've always heard people say exercising was good for you.
And I always thought, 'Naw, that's for other people. That wouldn't work for me." Exercising didn't feel good - it felt uncomfortable and sweaty and made my face go tomato red.
Recently I met with a doctor who gave me a list of pretty usual self-care recommendations: try a mindfulness app, eat your veggies, try to avoid stress. She ended it with, "And 30 minutes of exercise a day - that's a prescription, not a suggestion."
Coincidentally, I had recently found a stationary bike in my alley and dragged it up the hill and into my apartment.
So all of a sudden, I found myself watching Netflix (if it matters: Outlander, and the new season of OITNB), and pedalling away every morning.
Let's be real, though -- this was never an easy process.
I'd wake up in the morning, and think, "I'm not getting on that damn bike today. No way. Nope. Not feeling it." And eventually I would do it anyways, because you kinda have to follow through on prescriptions, right?
So I'd sit on the bike, and think, "This is garbage, I don't want to do this," while I pedalled and made disgruntled faces.
But every time I would push through 30 minutes or so. And every time I got off the bike, I'd feel so much better. I would go through my day with more energy, feel calmer, and fall asleep more easily that night.
A few weeks later, when I had to skip a few days, I actually missed it.
I realized that not feeling it, and feeling anxious or in a bad mood, were actually the best times to take good care of myself and do what my body needed.
It’s really about finding what works for you - it doesn’t have to be going to the gym and flailing around on a treadmill.
Maybe you’re really into Zumba or Aquafit or roller derby.
Either way, if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma symptoms, or any other mental health issues... A daily prescription of 30 min of moving your body can help.
As someone who doesn’t exercise - I really had to experience this to believe it.
Amanda Hamm is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who also happens to knit, garden, and reluctantly exercise.