Motivation to Exercise

I’ve reduced the stress in my life, I get a good amount of sleep almost every night, I take supplements tailored to my healing needs, and I eat what is slowly becoming an immaculate diet. It’s quite obvious to me where I now need to turn my attention: exercise.

Oh, exercise, why dost thou elude me?

I’m not that lazy. In fact, I’m fairly active around the house. I’m on my feet in the kitchen quite a bit, I do chores, and I work in the garden when the weather is good. I go up and down the stairs all day long. These days, I’m doing far more physically than I could have handled a year ago. I still get tired, though. I have to take a lot of breaks. I can’t help but feel this is because I don’t “work out.” I’m not a fan of “working out” and it seems sort of unnatural to me anyway. I mean, people didn’t used to “work out” did they? They just did work, and their work gave them exercise. Okay, so I guess I would probably walk quite a bit more if I didn’t have a car. I’m sure my arms would be majorly buff if I had to scrub all our laundry by hand. So, yeah, okay, chores and gardening aren’t enough, I guess.

What motivates me to exercise?

Perhaps the number one reason I want to exercise is that the body simply functions better when it is exercised. This means I will feel better, I will digest food better, I will get more oxygen and nutrients to my cells, and I will heal quicker. Healing is major motivator for me, especially since I have only a few more months before I would like to get pregnant, and I need my kidneys in the best condition possible. This is the reason I am sort of annoyed with myself for not having started long ago.

Pregnancy itself is another reason. When I was pregnant with my son, I had major nausea problems my whole pregnancy. I felt bad for my developing baby because I knew that not exercising meant less oxygen and nutrients for him. After reading this post by the Primal Parent, I’m motivated even more to exercise while pregnant. Apparently exercise reduces nausea and helps balance hormones. And I know myself–if I don’t get started right now, I will not exercise when I am pregnant. And then I will be miserable for another nine months, and set myself up for a less-than-ideal delivery and I will be giving my baby less health. Pretty heavy, right?

That bit about balancing hormones really hit me, too. Boy, do I need that. I have a strong suspicion that I have PCOS, although I believe I’ve been healing from it over the last year. Sadly, PCOS tends to increase androgen hormones (male hormones), causing unwanted hair growth, including facial hair. I’ve had to deal with this embarrassing problem for years, and it’s getting worse. I’m terrified I will have a full beard one day if I don’t get my hormones balanced!!! If exercise will help balance my hormones, I am ALL for it.

And then there are my feet. My icy cold feet. According to my ND and nephrologist, I have cold feet (and feel colder in general) because of my kidneys. That’s probably true, although it could be related to hormone imbalance as well, especially if I have low thyroid (I don’t think I have low thyroid, but that’s one common symptom). But I also remember something Michael Sandler, author of Barefoot Running said when I went to see him give a presentation last year: running barefoot in the cold increases foot circulation so the feet stay warmer the rest of the day. I don’t know if it has to be in the cold necessarily, or even barefoot, but it seems quite reasonable to expect my foot circulation to increase if I exercise enough to get my heart rate up. I don’t just want my feet to be warmer, but I also want them to be healthy. If I have poor circulation to my feet, I fear they will actually get sick one day. I’d really, really like to keep my feet.

And then there are my hips and other aching joints. I hurt all the time. I know this is because I don’t exercise. A while back I earned about $500 worth of treatment credit at my chiropractor for doing some photography for their website. Well, today that credit ran out. I cannot afford to go all the time. I need make my muscles and joints stronger and healthier by exercising them so I don’t have to constantly get them “fixed.”

Lastly, (probably not the last but the last big reason) is the desire for more ENERGY. I need more energy. I just do. I want to function at a higher level. I’m also hoping that I’ll need less sleep if I exercise. I currently need 9-10 hours a night to feel decent. It’d be nice if that was more like 8-9 hours to feel good. I’m a little jealous of people who get two more hours of precious time than I do every day. I promise I’ll use the extra time to clean my house!!! (Haha, just kidding, I don’t promise that, but I’d like to.)

What motivates YOU to exercise?


9 thoughts on “Motivation to Exercise

  1. Wow Lisa, I’m happy to hear that you’re feeling motivated to exercise! It’s especially difficult to do when you’re body is out of balance. I mean when you’re tired the last thing you want to do is work your body. But it’s true. It really does give you energy immediately and especially over time. One of the first things I did for my health was train for a marathon in 2002 I think. Not that I’m a fan of over exercising anymore but i didnt know then. I started that mission right in the midst of chronic fatigue. It wasn’t easy but it improved my energy and outlook on many levels. I haven’t been able to live without it since, not to the same degree of course. 😉

    You’re right about primitive people not working out, but sit on their butts they did not. Building muscle would have been part of their everyday routine, in pursuit of food mostly. Whether it be building boats, chopping down trees for wood or starch, climbing palms for coconuts, tracking animals, the constant bending (ab work) of picking berries or roots. These days going to the gym or taking off on a run is about the only thing that compares to that level of impact and strength training.

    So, what motivates me to exercise? Blood flow to my ever so precious brain (and baby at the moment). And the understanding that you simply can’t be healthy without it. We have been programmed to need it. We evolved into this human creature partly by way of our activity level. Without exercise we are not fully human.

    Sorry for the treatise. Just chattin with ya over a cup of tea. 🙂

    1. My friend suggested I sign up for a 5K and thought it wasn’t such a bad idea, since it would have a concrete deadline and there are training schedules available online. I’m currently working through a lot of ideas, hopefully I can figure out something I enjoy enough to stick with, even when the weather gets gloomy here in Oregon.

      Ugh, I totally want to be fit like a primitive person now that you just described all that, lol. You are so right, humans need exercise. We just do. Just like we need nourishing food. It’s almost weird to me how important it is–just moving our bodies around and pushing our muscles on a regular basis.

  2. I hear ya on all this! Biking has been a lifesaver for me, since I HAVE to get to work each day – and I usually expect myself to bike there! 🙂 It’s my workout but I’m doing something useful, too, so it helps keep me motivated. I never go out thinking about weight loss or getting stronger or staying healthy – I just keep looking at the pretty trees and sky! It’s awesome! I also love yoga – helps me feel really good, stretched and strong. But…I go through stages. Sometimes I’ll only do it once a week, but other times, I’ll do it everyday. And then there are the weeks that I just don’t want to work out at all. I try not to make a big deal out of it cuz I ALWAYS come back to it – my body demands it!

    1. I love that you love bicycling so much. That’s how I feel about hiking. I love yoga, too, but I am so bad at keeping at it. Ideally, there would be hiking trails super close to my house and I could just walk out the door and immediately be in nature and start hiking. I am looking forward to the point where my body craves getting out and exercising every day. I’ve GOT to get into that groove.

    2. Oh, and I also love how you’ve made such a practical use out of biking. I would really love for my exercise to be practical, too, rather than something I have to “find the time” to do.

  3. Matt Stone recommends strength training for women vs. Aerobic exercise. If you want to go at it from a hunter gatherer POV (or really up until about 100 years ago) women didn’t really run, they squated carrying large loads etc. I would caution you about exercising too heavily while on GAPS. See what NCM says about it. My understanding is that walking, yoga etc. are encouraged but you need to be careful not to overdo it or you will lose progress.

    1. I totally agree that running isn’t an ideal activity for women but I wanted to jump in with my own personal take on getting started.

      Inactivity is so completely unnatural that if the idea of running a 5k is what appeals to you, if it’s what you think will motivate you, then by all means do it. 1,2,3 mile runs aren’t actually all that much. Once you get a routine you can change it. Once you find yourself sufficiently addicted to exercise you can settle into a more sensible approach.

      1. Yes, Peggy, I think at this point any type of exercise is going to be better than no exercise. I’m definitely not the type of person who’s going to start running 5 miles every day. I just learned there is a 5k happening in my town soon, so I am still considering it, although just from my recent walks around the block, I’m not so sure I could train my body that quickly. I’m such a mess. I’m just going to take it slow and build up from there.

    2. Carrie, I had thought about that, too–what is a more natural exercise for women. It’s funny, though, isn’t it, that women are much more likely to do aerobic rather than strength training? But I’m sure women have always danced, too, and that’s more aerobic. Hmm…I have no idea what too heavily would be, although I don’t think I’m in any danger of it, lol. Thanks for your thoughts–I will keep them in mind.

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