Can the reality of exercise ever live up to the idea of it

by Anne Fitzgerald

My latest theory is that everything is best when it is hypothetical, and I am currently testing that with my workout routine. If I were to get up early, hop into my gear, and fling myself out the door to run in the darkness of the early morning, it would be wonderful. I would feel awake, alive, and energized as I pounded along the silent, chilly streets. Or I could slip into the front row of a yoga class and feel my entire self waking up as I stretched all the way up from the tips on either end of my body. It would be an actual, full-body kind of zing, and every part of me would be alive. Or I would dive into the pool, and as I immerse myself completely, the buoyancy of the water, the strength of the waves pushing back against me would make me, in turn, feel buoyant and strong. I would lap my way back and forth until I burst from the pool after swimming miles, and the crowds would be cheering.

No matter what exercise I had performed, I’d find myself full of life and love and happiness and energy and strength and joy and a feeling that the entire world was on my side and nothing, not even spiders or missiles or ebola or dragons, could stop me because that is exactly how awesome I am!

That is in my head. In the world exists exhaustion, the snooze button, the icy coldness, the missing sports bra, the broken shoelace, the runner’s high feeling more like the lowest point of your entire life, a too-crowded pool, falling over in the middle of plank pose, feeling more wiped out after than before, falling back asleep in the shower, running late, the fact that exercise, in general, whatever the long-term effects, is hard. Why do I keep getting out of bed, again? I am just a hopeless dreamer, chasing a dream?

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4 Responses to Can the reality of exercise ever live up to the idea of it

  1. lucky says:

    I get up at 4:30 every morning to exercise…I’ve been doing it for 2 years now, and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because I feel great for the entire day. Mornings that I don’t go, I just feel terrible and drag myself through work (especially in the mornings). Also, working out in the morning means I’ll stick with my routine. Chances of me going to that overcrowded (smelly) gym at night after work are slim to none…especially since I’m always tired when I get home. I always see the same people when I’m there in the morning…which is refreshing because in my mind, if others can do it, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do it. It’s great to feel accomplished by 6:30 am…when others are just waking up, I’ve already gotten one thing out of the way. But trust me, there are those days that my body just says no, and I need to hit the snooze button and stay in bed.

  2. Disgruntled says:

    Well, glad I’m not the only one. I go to bed at night with the idea that I’m going to get up and exercise first thing in the morning and my day will be great. Then the alarm goes off at 6:00 AM and I’m wishing it was the weekend again. Forcing myself to exercise is the hardest thing I do every day. I usually feel good when I’m finished but making myself do it is the hard part.

  3. Rae says:

    To me it should be against the law to get up that early for any reason. That’s why I exercise in the evening, after work. I find that it helps me de-stress after an ugly day or helps me clear my mind.

  4. conrad66 says:

    it is october 2008! i made a deal with myself at the beginning of the year that i was going to quit smoking! and excercise! still smoking. excercising when it fits my schedule. its so true that its harder than it sounds. BUT before the end of the year im going to stop smoking. and excercise everyday. because my body just needs it i think. the only way ive thought to make this whole thing easier on myself is to keep track of my progress, and reward myself with something when i get to certain points. im going to make a chart of my “so called health” where i can note things about my progress in quitting smoking (if ive cut back… etc), my diet (hours of sleep, glasses of water, amount of calcium), and excercise (what days i workout what area of the body) keep in mind ive had these goals for the past 3 new year resolutions and havent gotten very far. ill make another post if the chart/keeping notes seems to help me stay on the right track or not.

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