Monday, November 16, 2009

Struggles to resist exercise.

I am one of "those people" who really and truly enjoys working out.

It is the one part of the day when I can put all books aside and clear my mind. No matter how crunched for time I feel, even with devoting an hour or so to exercise I am still able to accomplish everything on my to-do list. It is as if I am able to see everything more clearly, simply by breaking a sweat. Thoughts that were once jumbled and complicated come into clear focus. Then, when I sit back down to work on a column or homework assignment, words that once seemed beyond articulation quickly fall into place.

I know that a good workout has the ability to solve many of life's greatest problems... The only problem is that my body doesn't always see it that way. Sometimes, despite how much I yearn to head out for a jog or have a Pilates session, my body just refuses to allow it. Frequently I push through the pain, and while I may feel better in the moment, the aches just reemerge the next day, only exacerbating the original problem! The cycle never seems to end until I am finally, finally able to convince myself to take a day (meaning a minimum of 24-hours/two nights of sleep) off of working out.

I usually end up wringing my hands together, gazing longingly at my yoga mat, or even reaching towards my running shoes... but I make it. The world still turns. The sun still rises.

The next day, feeling a remarkable (and largely unfamiliar) sense of restfulness and renewal, I feel capable of working out. I almost always find that my endurance is increased, my energy is up, and my spirits are high. In that moment I realize the importance of taking a break from exercise every now and then.

Yet, this epiphany always seems to slip my mind just as quickly as it appeared. Soon I am back to the old cycle of refusing to take a day off...

My question: do you ever experience the struggle to rationalize taking a break from working out? Do you have a designated day of rest or just take a break when your body needs it?


  1. Oh yea, i can relate to this. Most of my exercising involves play rec basketball, so i get bumps and bruises all the time. I don't play everyday but usually 3 times a week.

    Sometimes my body doesn't feel capable to go, but i always play with the same guys and its a very similar environment to the guys i used to play sports with growing up at home. Plus, it's a nice break and release from my law school friends, so i hate to miss out on it. So unless i am really hurting i just go and push through, but there are times i have to take a week or so off.

    To keep my sanity, i just play through the minor body aches and annoyances.

  2. I think the best workout tool is having a set routine... especially if you regularly exercise with someone else. I'm much more inclined to "push through" the pain when I know someone else is depending on me!