Monday, February 13, 2017

A Guilt-Free Post about the Benefits of Exercise from a Sub Par Athlete

Sometimes when you hop on the internet it becomes apparent to you that you don't exercise enough. It's intimidating to admit you're anything less than the best. So! Let me be the first to admit it: I don't workout everyday...

Although I don't workout often enough, I do exercise consistently, every week. I don't go to the gym "often" or "enough," but let me tell you that there's been so much goodness that has flowed into my life from consistently, albeit intermittently going to the gym.

Benefits I've gained from exercise without being hardcore

Exercising is a huge, huge stress relief. I wish we could disconnect the notion that working out is for people on diets or people hoping to have the perfect body. I wish somebody would have told me ten years ago that working out is good for your soul. It makes you a better mother. It makes you more pleasant to be around. It allows you to release your pent up angst, frustration, stuck-in-your-own-head-ness in a way that nothing else can. We are so blessed to have a natural outlet, and something we have with us all the time, our bodies and our ability to move, as a source to release pent up feelings. Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed or fed up... and see if there isn't a correlation to the last time you physically exercised. I noticed a definite decrease in how overwhelmed I felt after I started my small, consistent efforts at the gym. Maybe it's not connected for everyone, but it is DEFINITELY connected for me. If you don't exercise regularly and often feel overwhelmed, try it out.

Lifting weights gives you strength to carry out your daily, demanding physical tasks. I'm no body builder, but I do lift weights. I only lift weights once a week. See? Not hardcore. But because I consistently go once a week, I receive a lot of benefits. I have less aches and pains. The physical work of motherhood-- carrying heavy laundry baskets or hauling babies-- it doesn't leave me exhausted at the end of the day. If you've been dealing with pain or exhaustion, try weight lifting.

Gym classes give you a sense of camaraderie and allow you to be part of a collective-- something that is hard to come by in our isolated society. There's been some interesting research done lately on the "hive switch"-- in other words, there's a part of a person that lights up only when they are a part of something bigger than themselves. It's innate, and it makes us really happy. As a solitary stay-at-home mother it's not daily for me to experience something like that with other adults, and exercise classes are something I enjoy where I can experience that. If you've been missing some camaraderie, some collective effort in your life-- try an exercise class.

You can be broken but also experience joy

So there you have it. I'm imperfect. I don't exercise everyday and there's plenty of stuff I don't like to admit I struggle with. But it's worth it to find the good, even in your weak points, because God is there. It's by His grace that you can simultaneously be broken but also experience joy. You can lead an ordinary, "sub par" (by others' standards) life and still find so much goodness in it.

It's worth it to find the good. Sometimes we don't think to celebrate our small efforts and the benefits we receive from it, because it's not "social media worthy." You know what? We suffer the most from admitting our efforts aren't worth celebrating, or that we don't gain "that much" from doing something. Maybe the goodness I have found in my small efforts will help you realize the good that has come of your small efforts as well, that you're broken but blessed. Or maybe it will convince you to try something new, something small, that could bless your life for good. Try it.

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