When ‘Working Out’ Becomes Work

By Cindy Bishop on 03/02/2010
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I wish that getting and staying fit was as simple as a walk in the park or as inspirational as frolicking through a field of wildflowers.

The truth is, shouldn’t it be?

I return to this topic time and again because months, even years go by, when I’m really feeling great about excercise.  

Then, out of the blue  (*poof*)  the love is gone.

Usually when this happens to me I write it off as a phase and believe this too shall pass. Sometimes it does, but sometimes I struggle. I try to remind myself that patience is a virtue — especially when it comes to activity. And just because I wake up one morning and don’t feel like hiking through the forest doesn’t mean I’ve ‘lost it’, nor does it mean I can’t take a nice walk through the park. (Are you paying attention, Cindy?!)

Recently, I was reading about a motivational theory called the self-determination theory (STD). It’s an interesting concept and grandfather to the idea of intrinsic exercise. As a theory it concerns itself with our natural or intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways — behaviors that intrinsically support our desires.

I’ll admit that sometimes I feel resentful about having very limited time for exercise. But, the truth is, I’ve made choices in my professional and personal life that leave me less and less opportunity for activity. So it’s time to re-evaluate.

Our reasons to exercise can be many. But isn’t the most important endeavor our search for joy and well-being? When I strive for nothing more than the high I get from healthy living, I feel fulfilled and content.

I know we have a wise and experienced bunch of readers out there – why not share how you’ve learned to re-group and revitalize healthy living behaviors in your lives?

 For me, the resolution may be simple. Be patient, re-evaluate and keep on plugging.

8 Responses (Add Yours)

  • It’s so funny, but often I feel the same way. I love exercise but not always. In one week, I might be active during most days; the next week, I’m lucky if I do an hour’s worth of physical activity.

    For me, I try to remember that being active makes me feel better (I also become a nicer person. :) ). My mood improves, my anxiety is minimized, my mind clears up. I also feel much more connected to my body.

    I guess that important thing is to be flexible and patient with yourself, like you mentioned. Like anything, some days you’ll be more motivated than others, and I think that’s OK. It happens with work and life.
    .-= Margarita Tartakovsky’s last blog post..When Your Loved One Has an Eating Disorder: Wise Words from Women Who’ve Been There =-.

  • Cindy says:

    Thanks, Margarita. I agree with you, and when we let these periods of in-activity go too long, our brains begin to forget all those good feelings you mentioned.

    The intrinsic joy and good feeling activity produces can quickly become just a faded memory — and that’s something you don’t want to lose!

  • Jaime says:

    Shoveling snow? Icicle lifting? The weather can really put some restrictions on what work out is available. Trying to keep faith that activity will pay rewards is hard when the routine becomes boring. I hear that spring is on the way!

  • Sometimes, when I’m really not in the mood for some exercise, I just focus on how I always feel afterwards, like revitalized, energetic, more centered within myself, and how more complete my day is. Then I do it, and it doesn’t matter what it is – a long walk with my dog, some yoga, biking, or a hike – and am much happier knowing I reap the big benefits ;)
    .-= Nutrition to kitchen’s last blog post..Crispy Panko-Crusted Tofu with Curry Sauce =-.

  • Rachel says:

    I admit to falling short of my fitness goals when things get crazy-busy. How am I supposed to fit it all in…unless I schedule it…but you’re right, that takes the oomph out of it.

  • Mallory says:

    Even as a fitness instructor, I think it can be tough to consistently motivate ourselves to exercise on a regular basis. The one trick that has always worked for me is putting exercise in as a scheduled appointment. Facts are, doing some cardio or strength training is just as important for your health as a doctor or dentist visit. There are only extreme circumstances for which you’d cancel an appointment. Pencil it in your calendar and make it part of your daily routine….hopefully soon enough you’ll crave the benefits you receive from a quick work out

  • love2eatinpa says:

    i am very fortunate, going to the gym/working out has never been a problem for me. i never lack for motivation. it is just a part of my day (four days a week), the same as brushing my teeth.
    HOWEVER, my issues are with food. it’s not easy to recover from 30+ years of compulsive overeating/bingeing, but i’m working on it. i’m working of finding that balance and getting that contentment you are talking about.
    .-= love2eatinpa’s last blog post..Our Behaviors are Contaigious =-.

  • cindy says:

    ah, balance. the key to everything.

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