Does Exercise Really Make a Difference?

runningI know I said I would stop talking about work, but I have to mention it to set up this post.  Work has sucked.  I mean, seriously.  I hate going in, I hate being there, I hate the anxiety… it just all goes together.  Yes, I’ve already started looking for other work.  And yes, I’m doing what I can to make changes.  But that’s not what I want to talk about.  If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll already know this.  I’m a stress eater.

Oh yes.  The last few weeks have seen piles of wrappers and take out containers suddenly fill my garbage.  I’ve even gone to the KFC down the road more often in the last month then I have my entire life!  Sushi, pizza, and most of all, candy.  Yup, I slide down hard.

The last week I’ve been really down on myself about it.  Because of the rain, I’ve stopped riding my bike to work, but I haven’t replaced that exercise with anything else.  I’ve thought about running, even enough to pull out my running shoes, but I’ve never gone.  My anxiety level has slowly crept up on me until I lay awake in bed thinking about the next day.

Until this morning.  After once again failing to have a vegetable for dinner last night, I threw my hands up in the air and said ‘you’re not going back to where you were!!!’.  I worked hard to get where I am weight and health wise, and I felt stupid for allowing myself back into this cycle of bing eating for feelings.  I forced myself to get up this morning, put on my running shoes, and went outside.  I went for a 25 minute run.  Not my longest, and certainly not my prettiest.  One run.  And guess what?

I feel great.

When I got back from my run, I showered, made breakfast, cleaned up all the garbage from the last few weeks and sat down to write this blog post.  All in the same amount of time it usually takes me to get up and maybe brush my hair.  I have long hair.

One run!  that’s all it took.  Of course, this is just a moment.  I feel better this morning.  I’m not so stressed about going to work.  I don’t feel that same bubble of anxiety pushing up inside me.  And I’m pretty calm.  One.  Single.  Run.

I can’t say that this works for everyone.  Running, I mean.  But exercise is a completely different thing.  I believe that everyone is different, and the same thing doesn’t work for you as it does for me.  I’m built to run.  I’ve been good at sports for most of my life.  So for me, running is an obvious choice.  Riding a bike became a second obvious choice because of my knee injury a couple of years ago.  But that isn’t the same for my sister.  She’s not a runner.  She’s often tried, but it just doesn’t suit her.  She hates every second of it, and never feels she’s getting better at it.  But one thing she does better then I’ve ever done is swim.

My sister is a fish.  She can swim lengths for a straight hour without pausing, even when she’s out of shape.  She’s strong in the water, and sure.  I feel like I can’t breath properly, and there’s no control.  Whenever my sister hits her thinnest, it’s because of swimming.

My mom can’t ride bikes.  She tries, and she’s a determined kind of person, but she’s super uncoordinated and can’t seem to turn without taking a wide birth.  But she’s the only one in the family to have done a marathon, so running is something she can do in her sleep.

Everyone has something.  The trick is to find what works for you so that exercise isn’t complete torture every single day.  One day I ran in the morning, and my entire mood has changed this morning.  If one run can have this big an impact, think about what five runs a week can do, or a run in the morning and a weight session in the afternoon.  Hopefully I can push though the stress I’m feeling at work and keep this going for more than one day.  If I can remind myself how good I feel right now, I have a chance of finding that motivation.  Motivation is key.  It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.  I know from experience that if I don’t start in the morning, I have a severely limited chance of doing anything in the evening.  I work all day and I’m tired.  It’s sooooo easy to get home, put on you sweats, and lay about.  If I go in the morning, it’s already done, so if I do nothing else all day, at least I have that base.  But furthermore, if I do something in the morning, my chances of doing something in the evening jump drastically.

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