I have had many conversations over the years with people who make exercise and fitness a part of their daily lives, not to mention those who know they should but can’t seem to make it happen. A few of truths emerge:
- It takes effort. There is no getting around it. You must carve out the time in your schedule or it will not happen. If you are not taking time for regular exercise, it’s because you don’t want to. Period. It doesn’t require a devoted hour each day or every time. You don’t need the latest clothes, shoes, or equipment. It doesn’t actually even require a gym. It only requires you to do it. When I was a young mother, I had no money, no access to a babysitter or gym. I would put my daughter to bed at 9 p.m., finish up the day’s chores, and come 10 o’clock, I’d flip on the TV and just run back and forth down the hallway of my 800 square foot apartment for 45 minutes and finish up with 15 minutes of crunches, push-ups, and squats. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
- Motivation is a myth. Yes, those who exercise regularly often are psyched to get their sweat on. But not every day. Not every time. They do it anyway. The hardest part of the workout is the decision to do it. You cannot wait for the Motivation Fairy to sprinkle you with the burning desire to exercise. You just do it anyway and often the motivation catches up to you later.
- It’s rarely about the “looks.” Regular exercisers do it to feel good. To enable them to participate in life in they way they want to. To relieve stress. To connect with themselves and with others. To gain mental strength, in addition to physical strength. Simply put, it enhances their quality of life. Losing or maintaining weight is a by-product.
When you are in the midst of the turmoil and stress that often surrounds divorce, taking the time to focus on keeping mentally and physically strong is vital. It doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or become a fitness competitor (unless you were doing those things already). It just means taking some time to move. Say yes to endorphins!
In my own situation following divorce, many people thought I would stop teaching because of the extra time it took and the challenges I was facing. The truth was that teaching my classes was the one place where I still felt like me. It was the one constant when everything else in my life was changing. It was the one place where I had to focus my attention so laser sharp that other thoughts could not get in during that hour. It was the one place where people in my world still valued what I had to say, and honestly, I needed that validation!
Excerpt from DIVORCE is a PUSH UP: Get Strong to Get Through. ©2016 Laura Aiello