Today, I celebrated my two year anniversary of wellness by exhausting my lower body during my workout! Over the last 24 months I have: started, completed, changed, stopped, modified exercises and programs. I have: set intentions, re-set those intention, readjusted my intentions several times. One thing for sure, I do not ever want to go back to the way I felt 2.5 years ago.
What I learned over the last 2 years is that exercise creates a direct connection from my mind to my body. As I move, I pay attention to the response of my muscles. The control of my body has allowed me greater insight into my well-being.
Before I started exercising there were many days that I ignored how my body was feeling. “I just feel tired.”
Tired is general. A non-specific symptom that can be a result of many different processes and possibly disease occurring in your body.
I Assumed my tiredness was caused by the fact I have little kids.
Yes, I was tired because I have little kids. But if that were the only reason I was tired, why did I still feel exhausted on the days after a full night’s sleep without interruption? I would still lack energy to show up for my day.
What else what going on?
My body was pushing through, doing its job, but I wasn’t paying attention to the subtle signs of decline. Brushing off general symptoms as “normal,” “par for the course.”
I didn’t know the full life changes I would experience when I decided to start working out.
I did expect to drop a little bit of weight. I was hopeful that my energy levels would boost. What happened was, I started paying close attention to information my body was sharing with me.
After beginning a challenging exercise program, I was conscious of how I felt as I stretched my muscles; feeling the pulling apart and lengthening inside my skin. I was noticing how I thought of the movement before I actually moved and then how my body responded. As I was squatting, a lower body exercise, my entire body was involved. I pull my shoulders back and tighten my abdominal muscles. Then as my legs move toward 90 degrees, my muscles respond by stopping the movement, the counter movement follows by standing back up. Everything was intentional.
I was paying attention to my body during my workouts but what about during my day to day life? Did I see a change in my general feeling of tiredness?
After a few weeks, I began to noticed my posture after sitting for long periods of time. I would slowly sink down curving my back, resulting in back pain. I realized this was relieved by taking breaks from sitting. As I stood, stretched, walked around, I felt rejuvenated as blood pumped throughout my body. Did you know, the blood in your legs requires the assistance from the movement of your leg muscles to fully circulate blood back to your heart. Without blood fully circulating your body misses out of oxygen and nutrients that your cells need. Makes sense why I would feel a boost in energy as I simply moved.
I felt my body respond positively to movement as I was playing with my kids. I could feel my legs supporting me as I carried them in piggy back rides.
My core established a strong center of gravity as I helped my oldest daughter ride a bike without training wheels.
I noticed my inclination to control my breathing. As my anxiety started to build, my breaths would shallow. The feeling was the same as when my body demanded more oxygen as I was exercising. Taking intentional full breaths deep breaths was the solution in both instances.
I realized I was not only tired from having little kids, I was tired because my body was not properly trained and maintained to support my life.
What can you do to train and maintain your body to support the life you are living?
A step many people miss in this process is asking yourself “What do I have control over?” There are parts of your life that you do not have control over, but there are parts you do. It is your responsibility to ask yourself hard questions.
If you are tired with no energy, what does your current schedule look like?
If you’re body is in constant pain, what changes can you make or do you need to see a physician?
Are you anxious and worried, is there an underlying cause that you need to talk to someone about?
Are you feeling lonely, are there walls you have put up to keep others at a distance?
Most likely, you will not have the answers to the questions right away, but keep asking yourself. The answers will come. But don’t allow the lack of answers to prevent you from making forward progress.
Start making changes.
Add exercise to your daily life. It is scientifically shown that exercise supports well-being.
Moving will create a present connection with your body. You will begin to notice your body’s responses and subtle changes. You will start to recognize these responses showing up in times when you are not exercising.
Imagine walking with another person having a conversation. If the two of you are keeping a moderate pace, your conversation will become more broken due to the increased oxygen needs of your body. You notice your inhale is deeper and longer to support your bodies needs and your conversation. You pay attention to how your chest expands, feeling the stretch along your lower ribs. You and your partner continue to walk. You realize your posture has straighten with every deep breath. You feel energized as you continue your walk.
Now, you are at work sitting at your desk. You have that 2:30pm feeling. You feel tired. You begin yawning. Your body is asking for an increase in oxygen. You stand up walk to the water fountain and take a deep breath. You notice the expansion in your chest and your posture straightens because it has been trained. You continue to focus on deep breathing which helps you remain connected and boosts your afternoon energy.
It is the movement where the answers to the questions from above begin to uncover themselves. The mind and body are connected. What can you do today to support the life you live?
This is not a freedom from responsibility, this is a freedom of responsibility.