How To Get Up and Move Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
I’ve been navigating the stormof a crappy mood for months now and it’s brought more than a few surprises, the biggest being my motivation to exercise flew out the window.
After more than seven years of daily (ok, daily-ish) exercise, I thought I had this. After a lifetime of hating exercise, I learned to love it. I love working hard and sweating. I love the feeling of accomplishment, and I love the way being strong and fit feels.
That is, I loved it until I didn’t. One symptom of this overall crappy mood I’ve been in is, I’ve had no motivation to exercise for months. I just couldn’t get myself moving. And I’ve started to feel the effects in the form of mushy muscles and lethargy.
I found myself trapped in that downward spiral, the less you move, the less you feel like moving. The longer you go without moving, the harder it is to get going again.
Get out of the Sluggish Spiral
I’m moving again, but getting out of that spiral has been tough. It’s been fraught with fits and starts, and when consistency is THE key factor for success, fits and starts don’t cut it.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
A fit body feels better. Movement increases those feel-good endorphins which can help with mood. I’m not saying it will erase it, but I know taking a run or even a walk around the block or shaking it off has helped me mitigate a crappy mood. Also when you’re fit, you just feel better in your skin.
Own the feeling and move anyway. Admit you don’t feel like moving. Admit you feel anxious, depressed, angry, out of control, grief, whatever. Staying with the feeling, awful as it may be, will, in the end, mitigate the feeling more effectively than any mind-numbing binge watching. So own the feeling and move anyway.
Just do it. Movement of any kind is better than sitting and doom scrolling — even if it’s just washing the dishes or making the bed. Walk to the end of the driveway or the corner.
Lose the fitness tracker. Seeing progress can be a great source of motivation when times are good. But when you’re down and you’ve just numbed yourself with 5 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the tracker is only a reminder of what you haven’t done or how poorly you’ve performed. Doing is better than not doing. Take a walk, don’t worry about your heart-rate. Do a plank. Only a few seconds? Good for you, you’ve done it. You can keep records when you’re feeling better.
Use it or lose it is more than just a cliché. It’s a truth, and the older we get the faster we lose it. We also have more sedentary, mind-numbing activities available to us than any other generation in human history. Movement isn’t a panacea, but it’s necessary, and it will help to make you feel a lot better — you just have to get up and do it.