Someone in the office said I was ‘dedicated’ to fitness this week. It’s not the first time I’ve been told that. I’ve been called ‘disciplined’ numerous times. Been labelled ‘hardcore’ more than once.
“You’re so good,” they say.
I often get asked if I ever sit still. Is there any sport I don’t do, or anything I won’t try? How do I stay so motivated to keep fit all the time?
The truth is, I’m not always motivated. Sometimes I really and truly just
But mostly I’ll think of how I feel afterwards. I’ll think of those endorphins, and that fire in my belly that stays with me for the rest of the day.
I’ll remember the awesome sunrises I’ve seen that were there just for me, and the silent, sleepy streets where just for that run, that ride, that bootcamp session or class, the city is mine and no one else’s – even if I’m exercising with other people.
I’ll think of the group of friends I’m meeting and how I don’t want to let them down, or the PT appointment I made (unless like today, I forget to set my bloody alarm and wake only when he texts me to see where I am!).
I’ll think of how much more productive, focused and energised I am once I’ve moved my body, even just for a little bit.
It’s not just my body that loves exercise, my brain does too. I learnt to love exercise not because of the weight I lost, or the changing reflection in the mirror.
I started to love it because of how it made me feel. Because of what it taught me about myself.
It brings me so much more than the weight loss and ‘perfect body’ I was in search of when I started.
It’s brought me self-belief that I can do anything I want to. It’s brought me a sense of belonging – in my body, in my city, in my physical and online network of friends from Brighton and beyond.
It’s taught me to try, helped me to grow, allowed me to explore my real sense of self.
Living an active lifestyle isn’t something I’m ‘dedicated’ to, or ‘disciplined’ in – it’s a part of me. It’s who I am. And it has been since I changed my life in 2011 when I finally gave up smoking.
I shared a tweet and Insta post earlier asking people how exercise makes them feel and we’re all on the same page. View the threads here and here if you want to join the conversation.
People said exercise makes them less lethargic, less prone to illness, it helps them reconnect with themselves and nature. Some said it helps their depression and alleviate anxiety.
It calms racing minds, melts away stress, makes us feel awesome, shows us we’re strong.
It brings health, happiness and the best high you’ll ever feel – you just need to find something you actually enjoy doing.
I wrote the below when I spoke at the Sussex Sport Awards, but ICYMI, here’s how you can learn to love exercise…
How to love exercise
The key to finding the joy in exercise is finding something that you love.
Something that’s fun and silly, something that makes you laugh. Like trampolining, or skateboarding.
Or something that’s challenging and rewarding, making you push your boundaries and achieve new things. Like running your first marathon or learning to swim as an adult so you can become a triathlete.
Something that let’s you make new friends, learn new skills, get outside, and get out of your comfort zone. Like joining a new team sport.
Living an active life doesn’t have to be about hitting the gym for hours on end (unless that’s what you love doing, of course).
It’s about lighting that fire in your belly (however big and wobbly it is) that makes you come home beaming about the great time you had in that class, on that run, at that cycle ride, even though you didn’t want to go in the first place – but made yourself do it anyway.
Find something that you can’t wait to go back to.
Something you want to get better at.
Something that inspires you to try. Like hockey does for me.
Try ALL THE THINGS until you find the above, and I promise you, you’ll wonder how you ever lived your life any other way!
How does exercise make you feel?