Bittersweet Break(up).

After my marathon, I decided that I was going to take a much needed break from all things exercise-related.  I made this decision because of (and in spite of) a few different things:

  • I have been working out for the past 10 years, with very few instances of more than 3 days of rest in a row.
  • I have been training for various races without a significant period of rest since June, 2007.
  • I just needed a break, man!

I am not a proponent of taking long periods of rest with no activity, because that's just not the way that our bodies are designed.  We were made to move.  Some of us (me) were made to move slower than others, but we were all made to move.

This is what I'd look like if I were a car:


Although every person is different, according to some sources, it takes 30 days to develop a habit.  This may be true for brushing your teeth every morning and night, or following a schedule of tidying up your house, or remembering to print your TPS reports at work (shameless 'Office Space' reference aside), but in my opinion, exercise and healthy living does not fall into this 30 day window.

To me, following an exercise schedule is more like a very intimate relationship.  I've searched high and low, and I can't find the source (it may have been in one of my many psychology courses during college), but at some point I learned that it takes around 26 months to develop a genuine intimate relationship.  By the time you've reached the 26th month in a relationship, you have learned the other person's quirks.

You know that they leave the toilet seat up, they do this weird thing with their nose sometimes, and they leave their used Q-Tips on the bathroom sink from time-to-time.  At the 2 year mark, you've either come to terms with these things, or you've decided to move on.

This, my friends, is why it's difficult to keep a relationship on track after that goofy 2-year mark.

Now, pretend that the gym (pavement, your home gym, etc.) is your significant other.  Until you reach the 2-year pinnacle with your exercise routine, you are still undecided.  You could still go either way.  You still don't know if you want to 'make this work'.

I have been working out now for over 10 years.  The first 2 years for me were a little goofy.  I was on and off--I'd hit the gym hard one week, then slack for a couple of weeks.  I lacked the consistency that one needs in order to preserve their health and wellness.  However, I stuck with it, and since then, I have never imagined my life without a gym membership (presently, I have THREE).

No matter the state of my financial, mental, or physical economy, I always budget in my gym membership.

For those who are struggling to make exercise a part of their everyday life (thus a LIFESTYLE), please stick with it.  You gotta fake it till you make it.  Sometimes, in order to ingrain the habit into your LIFESTYLE, you need to do it for a very, very long time.  Then, it becomes like brushing your teeth or taking a shower--just another part of your everyday routine.

That said,  the past week for me has been more of a breakup than a break.  It's been kind of bitter sweet.  I knew that after the marathon and my injury, I really needed some time to let things heal and reset.  However, exercise has become such a part of my life that I haven't stopped thinking about hitting the gym since I last ran on the day of the marathon.

But, thinking is not DOING.  I've DONE a lot of sleeping.

On one hand, it's been nice to be lazy.  On the other hand, I feel like a sloth.

The other thing that I've noticed is that my attitude has been absolutely in the toilet.  I have been an ornery little thing, and hopefully I'll still have a boyfriend after this past week blows over.  I have not been my normal cheery, happy-go-lucky self!  There are many scholarly articles published regarding exercise and mood, so the connection between lack of exercise and my terrible mood is valid.   Many of the studies on this connection are old, but no less relevant.

In most related studies, exercise was shown to improve the baseline mental state of people suffering from all types of conditions (depressed individuals, alcoholics, those suffering with anxiety, etc.).  The bottom line, people:

Exercise makes me a nicer person.

Today, I'm going to the gym.

Because, despite the fact that he leaves the toilet seat up sometimes, I really do like My Gazelle, and I'd like it if he stuck around.

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