If you’re anything like me, there are moments where a statement like that will result in a fist pump and a “Yes girl! I know that’s the truth!” But then if you’re also like me, there are other moments where that statement results in sinking deeper into a sea of pillows and blankets or flipping over to Pinterest to find some super motivating workout pins (without ever lacing up the trainers).
Anybody else been there?
We’ve all heard the benefits of exercise: improved mood, improved confidence, a lower risk of health complications, better quality sleep, looking toned and fit, a good excuse to buy that cute sports bra… the list goes on. And honestly, they’re all true!
But you know what else is true? The temptation to skip it, put it off, take it easy… The resistance is real, friends. I’m literally preaching to myself while writing this! I’m by no means some buff gym guru, but I have experienced some amazing benefits in staying disciplined in the area of exercise. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of why it’s a recommendation worth taking!
One of the best ways to battle a mental or emotional storm is to clear your mind with some physical movement. After a stressful day, blow off some steam at the gym. When your mind is swirling with thoughts, practice focusing on just a few things for the moment: movements of weights, patterns of breathing, stretches, dancing, whatever you do! While your body is moving, your brain gets so many happy chemicals that don’t just theoretically boost your mood, but it’s scientifically proven to. You can literally remap your mood, perspective, and focus just by taking some time to exercise. Be it a walk or a run, a yoga or boxing class, a gym partner or you-time, a surf or skate session, dance lessons or a living room dance party… Whatever it is, the idea is just to get moving. There’s something so satisfying about the soreness you feel after a good workout. There’s something exhilarating about crushing a goal or improving a skill. And as you stick with it for a few weeks, the resistance gets easier to overcome.
Exercise can even surpass just the personal benefits. In a day and age where Netflix binges and sleeping in are praised, a life of discipline – even in the small things – is worth striving for. We have a spiritual responsibility to steward what we’ve been given. For starters, that’s our bodies. What we fuel them with, how we move them (or don’t), and the condition we keep them can really speak volumes about how we are doing in that arena. Of course, there are plenty of legitimate healthy complications that keep people from being able to keep off weight, and I’m not saying we should all strive for that perfect beach body. What I’m saying is to really evaluate whether we are really doing what we can with what we have to take care of ourselves. Instead of falling into the world’s vice of being idle, glutenous, or vegged out on a consistent basis, let’s seek God’s wisdom to be people fervent to steward what God has given us well so that we can accomplish all that he has in store for us while there is a heartbeat in our chest and breath in our lungs. This can speak volumes to the world around us; being a people who are good stewards and reflect well as we reflect Christ. It can also prolong our life and allow us the be a vessel with stamina, strength, resilience, and discipline so that God can use our lives to touch hearts and build His Kingdom. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything to get in the way of that.
Again, I’m convicted even just writing this, ladies! It’s not an easy thing to master, but it does get easier over time. Let’s help each other stay on track, hold each other accountable, encourage each other when it gets tough, and celebrate every mile-marker on the journey.
To close, here are my top 3 tips in challenging yourself with this recommendation:
1. Keep a bag with tennis shoes and a change of workout clothes in your car so you’re always ready. If inspiration strikes or your scheduled time comes up but you have to go all the way home first, it may be too easy to convince yourself to skip. 🙂
2. Make a workout playlist that includes some songs you love that you ONLY listen to at the gym (or wherever you move). It sounds crazy at first, but you really do start to look forward to hearing those songs that pump up your adrenaline and ramp up those happy feels!
3. Don’t be afraid to try new things if and when feel stuck in a rut. Try a recreational sport you’ve never played, trade in barre for boxing for a season, ask for help using the machine that intimidates you… Fall in love with the game of challenging yourself and conquering a variety of things.