I have been exercising regularly for a good 10 years or so now, and I tend to go in spurts of doing hard, vigorous workouts 5-6 days a week for a few months, sticking yoga and running in there to mix it up, and then slowing down and doing mostly yoga or walking and running 4-5 times a week. Sometimes my slowing down is due to some sort of ailment, and sometimes it’s just due to my energy levels.
I am always conscious of how I’m feeling physically and mentally, and if I’m going through a period of feeling sad, anxious a lot, or just bad about myself, I typically can identify the reason or reasons why, and figure out what’s missing, in order to get back to feeling good again. For me, in order to be my best, I picture the game Topple, the game where the game board sits atop a pillar and everyone takes turns putting their chips on, in hopes of not making the game board topple over and spill all the chips. The board has to be balanced in order to stay up. There can be some extra chips in one corner versus another, but not too many, or else it crashes down.
Everyone’s game of topple has different colors of chips, but no matter what colors they are, if the board isn’t balanced, it’s in danger of crashing. On my board, I have family, work, self-care, exercise, friends, food, medicines and vitamins, and probably more things I can’t think of at this moment.
We all know that exercise, in all forms, is great for everybody. Early this past fall, I injured my hand by pulling weeds in my yard, which put a huge damper on my exercising. I still got up in the mornings and did different types of exercises that I was capable of doing without irritating or further injuring my hand, but I was limited. Finally, around Thanksgiving time, my hand was feeling much better, and I was able to begin doing more with my workouts again. It feels great to be able to do more strength training, and workouts that make me sweat. When I begin to see some results, such as my clothes fitting better, I become more motivated to keep it up. Everyone’s body adapts to the level of exertion you’re putting on it, which is why you may see results quicker in the beginning, and then it seems to become a slower process.
For me, exercise seems to become an addiction, or maybe an obsession. Regardless of the term, I recently find myself thinking constantly about exercising. I go to bed thinking about what kind of exercise I’m going to do in the morning, and often I wake up before my alarm goes off thinking about how much time I’m going to have, and what all I can squeeze in to that time. If I don’t exercise in the morning, I am thinking all day long about how and when I can get a workout in sometime in the evening, regardless of how tired I am. There are times I find myself thinking about how, where, and when I could sneak in 10 extra pushups, or an extra wall sit, plank, or set of squats. Sometimes I will choose to do yoga in the morning, and even though it feels amazing, later in the day I’m feeling bad about myself because I’m thinking that I should have and could have done something harder, something to really exert myself.
I love exercise, in all different forms, because it makes me feel so good, but I catch myself constantly over-thinking it, and I don’t want it to turn in to a bad thing. Life is stressful enough as it is, nobody needs to be stressing about something that is supposed to help you de-stress. As I am thinking about this, in this moment, while typing, it goes right back to Topple. If I put too much time and energy in to the exercise section of my game board, it will still topple over.
Thank goodness for the writing section of my game board to help me sort out my thoughts, and keep my board in balance!