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For the Love of Being Active

Allo.

So yesterday I wrote about how to not hate running, and I feel as if it may need a little follow-up. I had a couple of comments that made me go “hmm, that is a good point,” and although I responded to them, I want to address them here as well because I feel they were valid with their concern. So today is yesterday’s less funny follow-up.

A couple people commented along the lines of “why force yourself to do something if you hate it?” and I AGREE, but I feel like that maybe didn’t come through in my writing.

Hate is a pretty strong word, and one that I try not to use often. When I use it to describe something like running, I guess I am trying to use it in more of a jokey-jokey manner.

I don’t think that I would ever do something if I really, truly hated it. But with running, I just thought I hated it. I never stuck with it enough to give myself a chance to like it. I assumed I hated it. I went into every run with thoughts of “I hate this” instead of being open-minded about it. Once I really gave running a chance, I discovered that fine, it’s not easy, but it has okay moments.

The other thing is, I have never exercised just to exercise, and I thought running was essentially exercising just to exercise.

But those comments made me think all day today about what activities I actually love.

Growing up I was active because I did a lot. I swam every day in the summer, did a lot of waterskiing and wakeboarding, skiing, skating, hiking in the forest, and played a few sports (I especially love volleyball even though I’m not great at it). I was outside doing stuff all the time. But the difference for me between those activities and exercising is those are all fun and I genuinely love them, and I have never found “exercising” fun.

But I don’t live on a lake anymore, so swimming, water sports, and skating every day are all out for me as ways to be active. I don’t live near very many hiking trails, so that is not really feasible either. My skis mysteriously disappeared after I left them in my Dad’s garage while I was moving (I am not blaming you Dad, but I’ll admit you are a suspect in their disappearance), and since there is no snow most of the time, that means skiing is out.

As for playing sports…sure, sometimes, but it’s not an every day thing. Office Boccia isn’t a very good workout (though it is fun).

I want to be active, and to maintain a healthy weight I need to be active, but all the activities that I truly love are not ones that I can do every day. The exercising just to exercise is a mindset thing, I know that, and my way of getting over it is to trick myself into liking activities that I previously thought were not fun. Or make activities that are typically not fun a good time.

Enter running. I love running because all I need to do it is a good sports bra, and a pair of running shoes (I do need new shoes though, mine are pretty old). I don’t need any other equipment, I don’t even need a treadmill. It gets me outside and active with minimal prep.

When I am running, I am still not thinking “I love this, this is so awesome!” but I have come up with little tricks to make myself like it. I like listening to music, so it helps me to like running. I like being competitive with myself, so I make up little games like “I WIN” to play while I am running. I like wearing new clothes, so new clothes for running make me excited to run. Those sorts of things.

Also, and I keep mentioning this, but I cannot get over how I feel after a good run. I don’t think there is any other activity that could make me feel any better. I also really like how motivated and excited I get after I make any progress. I just love how running makes me feel, as cheesy as that sounds, and that is probably the closest I will ever get to loving it.

So that’s why I run. I want to be active, I can trick myself into liking it, and I love the way it makes me feel afterwards. If you just hate it, and you can’t find a way to make yourself like it, then definitely do not force yourself to do it. Walking is way cool also!

There are so many serious running blogs that talk about running marathons, what to eat, what to wear, etc. but I know there are people who, like me, just want to be active and find a way to like running and maybe one day run a 5k. I hope that my post was helpful in that context.

And now I am curious…

  • Why do you exercise?
  • Do you exercise just to exercise?
  • What is your favourite way to be active?

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