Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting Sweaty

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache. But that's okay because I have the cure...

See what I did there?
Exercise is hands down the best remedy for most of the things that make you want to skip your workout in the first place: headache, fatigue, grouchiness, anxiety, PMS, insomnia, hangover, bad day at work, bored snacking. I wish I had learned this years ago. I could have prevented hundreds of skipped workouts. I get a little sad thinking of the times I came home and watched TV instead of going to the gym. I usually felt just as terrible after, slept poorly that night, and started the whole process over again the next day.

I had a rough work weekend. I woke up hurting and exhausted even though I slept really late. I tried water, walking the dog, fruit, and coffee, but I still had the headache until five minutes after I got on the stepmill.

The concept of willpower is that doing something you don't want to right now will lead to greater rewards in the end. I thought about staying home and watching Mad Men in my sweats, but even that guilty pleasure would have been less enjoyable with a bad headache. Instead I put on my sports bra and got myself to the gym. I think my blood sugar got a little low while I was there, because I started fantasizing about Pop Tarts (I don't think I've had one of those in 15 years). Luckily I got to have a healthy sweet treat when I got home: a big glass of carrot-beet juice made in my new Breville juicer. More on that soon!

What I have finally learned is that I feel terrible when I skip workouts- I don't sleep well, I'm irritable and easily upset by little things, and I'm worn out and overwhelmed by life. It becomes a cycle because once I start feeling tired from lack of sleep and moody from lack of exercise endorphins, I have trouble getting the motivation to go to the gym. I had to get on that merry-go-round about a hundred times before I learned to avoid it.

My goal right now is to do some sort of physical activity every day that I'm off, and to ride my bike to work (an easy 15 minutes each way) most work days. I still skip days when I'm really tired, but most days I find something to do that involves breaking a sweat. Really, exercise is the cheapest antidepressant/sleep aid/ diet drug you can get.

One quick disclaimer from your friend the nurse: if you are legitimately sick- fever, vomiting or diarrhea, productive cough- you should stay home, rest and hydrate instead. Getting sweaty and tachycardic when you're sick might result in passing out and falling off the elliptical machine. Rule of thumb- if the problem is above your Adam's apple, you can work out. Take a day off for anything below that.

So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and get out there and get sweaty. Everything will seem better when you're done.

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