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Exercise–It’s About Having Fun!

September 6, 2011
tags: ,

Hey hey! I hope you’re all having a brilliant Tuesday. Mine has been uneventful so far, although it’s crazy-windy here in Leeds. When it’s windy it’s difficult to open the door to leave work … I thought that I was trapped and the security guard had to help me. Thankfully I escaped and I didn’t have to sleep under my desk. The wind could make the 5k time trail that I’m doing later on interesting …

So, yesterday was my first yoga class in well over a month. A while ago I set myself a little challenge to practice yoga twice a week, and during the time that my yoga teacher was in France … I practiced once, maybe twice. Oh well, I’m back to it now! I was really excited to go to a class again, and it didn’t let me down – it was awesome! At the same time as taking a break from yoga I’ve been increasing my running mileage, so it was no surprise that my lower body had completely seized up. Every pose challenged and stretched me, but I took care not to push it too far – I didn’t want to be in pain for days afterwards like I was the first time that I did yoga.

The snack that I had before yoga held me over during the 90 minute class, but when I got home at 9pm I was absolutely starving. So, I made my stand-by fast-food … an omelette.

The fillings in this one were courgette and mushrooms and I served it with a swirl of ketchup and a big pile of steamed spring greens. Fun fact about me – when I was little I used to eat ketchup on my dinner every night, including on my vegetables. I grew out of it and I’m not a huge ketchup fan now, but I do think that with eggs it’s a match made in heaven.

6Sep11

I loved yoga so much last night that it got me thinking about what exercise means to me. Being fit and healthy is a priority in my life, but there’s no point in doing a particular form of exercise if you don’t enjoy it. For example, I haven’t been swimming in ages because I just wasn’t enjoying it very much anymore – running is a lot more exciting. I’m sure I will start swimming again at some point in the future, but right now it doesn’t do it for me.

I also think that it’s important for me to exercise at a level that I enjoy. Before my yoga-break I didn’t enjoy every class I went to. I was getting frustrated that the lower half of my body is so inflexible and that I haven’t got the flexibility, strength or balance to even attempt some of the poses. In addition, the class is Ashtanga, which is a vigorous form of yoga and sometimes I felt tired and lethargic.

Last night I enjoyed the class for what it is – my practice. It doesn’t matter if I can’t do some things, because by doing yoga I’m working on improving all those weak points. I enjoy yoga most if I do it with enthusiasm, but don’t push myself beyond my limits.

Another example is running. I’ve truly fallen in love with running over the past few months, but sometimes I wonder if I’ve forgotten that it’s a hobby that is mostly about enjoyment. As part of the blog community it’s so easy to get drawn into the idea that you always need to be striving to get faster, run for longer and be training for something. OK, I am training for a half marathon, I do want to get faster and I’ve been increasing my mileage, but what I mean is that that shouldn’t be at the expense of enjoyment.

I’ve found myself getting nervous about the 5k time trail at running club tonight – am I going to PB, am I going to be as fast as the other people I run with? During yoga last night I realised that it doesn’t matter and there are enough stressful things in life, so I can do without adding running to the list. I enjoy being competitive and always improving, but it is so liberating to allow myself to lift that pressure off my shoulders.

My blog’s tag-line is “having fun with food and fitness” … I think that’s going to be my mantra as well.

Do you ever feel that you put too much pressure on yourself unnecessarily?

Do you exercise for fun or is there more to it?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 4:56 pm

    I’m yet to find a form of exercise that i really enjoy, and i can’t make myself do anything just because i know it’s good for me….i really hope i find something fun soon!
    It’s great that you enjoy running and yoga, you should really feel good about finding something that does you good while still being fun to do 🙂
    Love the look of that omelette too, i love ketchup with eggs.

  2. September 6, 2011 5:03 pm

    YEs I totally agree! I love running and am getting faster, but I am still slow, and sometimes I feel pressured to be doing more speed workouts and pushing myself on to get faster, as other people are , but then I think hang on, I am never going to do this as a job, it is a passtime which I enjoy, so I should not stress about it. So what if I don’t get much faster? I enjoy it and it is still a great workout and that is what counts.

  3. Charlotte Katherine permalink
    September 6, 2011 7:14 pm

    Hehe, I live in Leeds too and I swear I was nearly knocked over by the wind this morning on the way to work, and it certainly made my evening run a lot more difficult – felt like I was battling a mini tornado when I ran into the field away from the shelter of the trees!

    I think I’m still learning to enjoy running, but I’m finding starting slow and steady is so much better. Before I used to try and beat myself, go a certain distance, now I just want to build stamina and its actually fun. I think reading blogs has helped me get motivated – especially seeing people who started out like me and now can run longer distances, it makes me feel like I should keep persuing the here and now because if they can do it so can I 🙂

    I’m having my first one on one yoga class on Thursday and I’m so excited. I’ve found group classes okay but I’ve struggled to find the ‘right’ one for me, and I think thats quite important in yoga.

  4. September 6, 2011 7:31 pm

    I exercise for the health benefits obviously, but I also really enjoy it. I find it relaxing, fun and a great stress reliever too. I couldn’t imagine not exercising now. 🙂

  5. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    September 6, 2011 8:34 pm

    What a GREAT post Sarah! It’s so easy for the best of us to fall into exercise routines of things that we feel we “should” be doing, rather than things we actually enjoy. I got caught up in the whole “running faster” scheme too– even though I wasn’t necessarily enjoying distance runs anymore.

    Now I try to workout to live a healthy life– not to fit in!

  6. September 6, 2011 8:37 pm

    That’s exactly right! Sometimes when I’m cycling or doing Body Pump, I don’t enjoy all of it (especially the killer BP lunges!) but most of the time, I really do and even when I’m cycling in wind like today, I like the challenge and how I feel afterwards…
    Your dinner looks like my perfect plate too 🙂

  7. September 6, 2011 9:42 pm

    It’s been crazy windy & wet here in Sussex too, school runs have been MOST interesting!

    Love you title, it says it all for me as far as exercise is concerned although I am trying to curb a few nemesis myself, I think thats important too 🙂

  8. Errign permalink
    September 7, 2011 1:46 am

    I’m the queen of putting pressure on myself…allthetime!

    I exercise because I like it & think it’s fun and also because I think I should!

  9. September 7, 2011 7:16 am

    What a wonderful post!! I think that over time, when you really find something you love, exercise turns in to a hobby and a passion, not just something you *have* to do. I agree with not forcing yourself to do stuff either, earlier in the year I was forcing myself in to the pool a few times a week and I began to dread it, and now I can’t even think about going swimming! Which is really silly as I did enjoy it in the beginning. It’s great to read about your running adventures and about how much you’re falling in love with it, you can really see how much you love it. It’s fun to get nervous about races, but you’re right about not putting pressure on yourself. That’s something I’ve really begun to understand since rowing started, not to compare.

  10. September 7, 2011 8:14 pm

    I know what you mean about pressurising yourself but it always sounds to me from reading that you have a really healthy attitude!
    I don’t really find running or the gym ‘fun’, but I do enjoy the feeling I have afterwards (or do when I am not injured!). I’ve given up running with others as I find the comparison to other people takes away from my feeling of achievement for just going out and doing it! 🙂

  11. September 8, 2011 12:16 pm

    I love that you put almond butter on sliced bananas – I do the exact same thing! So good 🙂
    I workout for myself. I want to be healthy and more importantly, feel healthy and strong! I would be so ebarrassed if I got out of breath from just weakling up a flight of stairs!

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